It scares me how flappable some people get with technology. I have known fairly intellectual professionals get flustered because the mouse had been placed on the left hand side of a keyboard instead of the right.
I’ve seen grown men cry because the simple use of a caps lock button could have saved them hours of reformatting text.
I’ve known air head secretaries who received a fraction of their bosses salary feel all superior because they knew what a dollar symbol was. (It’s $ <— one of them if you didn’t know)
And yet there are always the few that continue to surprise with their inability to cope with modern day appliances.
Today I met a classic example of lunacy.
She came up to my desk and proceeded to rant and rave about how “bloody inconsiderate” it was that we had changed equipment without her knowing. How was she to do her job when she hadn’t received training in the new equipment. Didn’t people know she had an important lecture to deliver? How dare we provide state of the art equipment worth well in excess of £5000 to replace the out dated poor quality equipment that was there before.
How bloody dare we!
How bloody chuffing dare we!
So I left the comfort and idyll of my desk. Locked the till, secured the office door. Affixed the “Back in a jiffy” sign. Made my apologies to other people waiting for attention. Because it was clear that this woman’s issue was far more important than any book return or referencing query. I did all this and climbed to the second floor of the building to a room I could have reached via the other stair well in half the time had it not been for the fact that she insisted on showing me which room she was in and proceeded to rant, rave and spit vitriol at how inefficient we were.
I entered the class room gingerly (I had a root of ginger in my pocket and my hair colour is often wrongly diagnosed as ginger”) to see….no difference what so ever to the last time I was in the room.
Only…no…that’s not quite right. Because sure enough, there affixed to the wall were new video conferencing screens. Everything else was the same. The conferencing unit was the same, the conferencing podium was the same. The only difference was the screens and really, even they were disputably different.
“I can’t get it to work. It’s all totally new to me. It’s completely different to the one that was here last week.” she repeated for the 35th time since leaving the desk.
I smiled my warming smile and began to inspect the equipment.
It was plugged in.
The mains switches were switched on.
The wires all seemed to be affixed via trunking.
The video conferencing unit was working as the little green light glowed happily from its lofty position above the screens.
So in that situation, what do you do? Panic? Scream blue murder? Throw yourself onto the Town hall carpark from the top of the building?
No. You check to see if the on switch is….on….on the display panel.
Sure enough there, on the side of the panel, was a button marked with the universal symbol for on.
I called her over to where I was stood and told her that I would give her the training she needed to do her work in future. Had I been a bolder man I may have suggested a £40 training fee. But I am not bold. I am more italic. Maybe a bit subscript.
“See this symbol here” I told her
“Yes” she said.
“This is the universal symbol for on.” I replied trying my best not to sound condecending.
“Oh is that what it is” she responded as the rotting salmon of realisation slapped her in the face with the force of a well wielded wood axe.
I pressed the button. The conference suite came to life. She…just ushered me out of the room before anyone at the other end of the conference call heard me tell her what a fucking idiot she was.
My job done, I returned to my desk and the next banal query.
“Do I have to bring these books back?”
“Not unless you’re stealing them” I replied.
It was going to be a long night….