Friday, 18 July 2014

“On-line Help” Ha-bleedin’-ha

You all know what happens: something goes wrong, the computer doesn’t do what you want it to do, you can’t work out if it’s you or the bloody machine, and in desperation you click on ‘Get web help’ or some such. A little window opens and one is asked to describe the problem in detail , and then click on ‘submit’. Whereupon an automatic reply comes saying ‘Thank you for your feedback. Microsoft (or whoever, but they’re the worst) cannot reply to individual queries, but we do appreciate…’ Which being translated meaneth ‘We do not give a nun’s wimple, get lost.’ So why the hell did they ask what the problem was in the first place? And then to add insult to injury one is often asked to tick a box saying the answer was ‘helpful’. Like hell it was: from a state of mild annoyance one has now been reduced to one of frustrated impotent rage and like as not the computer is now a smoking heap at the bottom of the stairs.

So I have something pleasing to report: quite by chance I came across an organization called Garner. If you send a message — that came out in a silly typeface) describing your problem, sure enough an automated reply appears in your inbox saying that your question has been given number so-and-so, and will in due course be assigned to the relevant expert. Before you’ve had time to read this and think, with the cynicism of experience, ‘Yeah, yeah,’ (Who said a double positive doesn’t make a negative?) another message pops up in your inbox: this, miraculously, is a clear, polite, friendly, individual, personal (that’s enough adjectives – ed. (who is this chap ed?)) and above all helpful reply, written in proper English and directed specifically at the question you asked. No charge, no pressure to join an idiotic ‘chat forum’, no secret links to spam generators. Just what you asked for. I don’t know how they make money, but they certainly deserve to. Try them, and Thank you Garner.

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