24/8/06 help desk horror

One of the pleasures of modern life is help desk anecdotes. Here’s mine from this morning:

My work laptop was sent a firewall update by IT, which installed itself as usual. I then found I couldn’t send or receive email. The laptop is so nailed-down you can barely configure what font you’re writing in, let alone adjust the firewall, so I was left to the tender mercies of the helpdesk.  They said it would take up to 18 hours to be dealt with. In previous years I’ve been able to phone them and get them to put on an ‘Out of Office’ message so that people who sent me emails would know my non-reply wasn’t just out of spite.

Me: Can you put on an out of office while my email’s down
HD (help desk): I don’t know how I’d do that. I’ll find out.
(A minute later)
HD: There should be an option in Outlook to set a message.
Me: Hello? I can’t connect. That’s why I’m asking you to do  this.
HD: Oh, I see. Hold on a minute.
(Three or four minutes later)
HD: It says here you have to send an email to Emergency Out of Office Request.
Me: … and how do I do that?
HD: What?
Me: Send an email.
HD: How do you send an email?
Me: When I can’t get connected, which is why I’m asking you all this.
HD: Oh, of course. Hold on  (mutters while skim-reading something on his screen)
HD: Seems you have to get a Band 1 manager to request a form, then fill it in with your details authorising the message …
Me: Oh never mind …