I don’t want to start anything!!
We work with a number of senior citizens and we train our staff to be a little slower and very understanding. There are many times when just the terminology can get in the way. Case in point, got a call from a new client that was older, and his problem was that he wanted to turn off his computer. Now to better understand, this client was a nice older man with one arm. So to be able to talk to me on the phone was a little bit of work. He would have to grab the phone with his good hand a balance it on his shoulder and up to his ear, so he could free up his hand to use the computer. I asked him what OS he had and of coarse he did not know. I asked if on the bottom left corner of the screen did he see a START button. He said yes. So that means it was Windows XP or higher. So I said the task he wanted to do would be easy and can be done in a few steps and only take a few seconds. First he needed to press the START button…at that point he interrupted me and said “Listen sonny, I don’t mean to be telling you how to do your job, but I don’t want to start anything, I just want to stop. I want to turn off the computer not start anything.” I explained that I understand his desire to turn off the computer but to do so we would have to press the START button… At this point he interrupted me again. “I don’t want to be rude, but I want what I want, and I just told you, I DON”T WANT TO START ANYTHING!!” Again I said I fully understood, but with a computer to stop something you have be able to give the computer the instruction to shut down and you do so by pressing the start button and then shut down. He asked to be be sure, because he really did not want to start anything, he really just wanted to STOP, not START, and he did not see a STOP button. I said he could trust me and the best way to shut down the computer and STOP was to press the START button and then select shut down from the menu. After about ten minutes of going back and forth He expressed that he did not really want to do it and that with one hand, what I was asking of him was not going to be easy, but he would try. A few seconds later he declares that it did not work. I asked, well what did you see. Did you see the menu? He said he pushed the START button and nothing happened. At this point, in my head, I was debating if it would be faster for me to just drive there and do it myself. But I really wanted to be patient and try to help him complete this task himself. I asked to be sure that it is the START button that he is pushing and that he is aware of the location. Did you see the word START? When you push it does anything happen? I ask if anything, anywhere on the screen changes when he presses the START button. After another fifteen minutes we have determined that computer must be frozen because he has pushed this button over and over again and nothing on the screen changes at all. I was going to have him pull the plug but I decided I would just drive there. I told him to wait the 15 minutes for me to get there. I drove pretty fast and called first so that by the time I got to the front door he was be almost half way to it. I stood outside for another six minutes while he worked hard to unlock the door with his one hand. Each lock one at a time could be heard. Finally he opens the door and says he is very unhappy with this computer that he cannot turn off. I said “I fully understand”, and I grab the mouse and press the START button. Amazingly enough the START menu appears. So I do it again and again and the menu shows up each time. He is now visibly upset and said that it would not do that for him at all. So I ask him to sit down and recreate exactly what he did. So he picked up the phone with his good hand and put it up to his ear. He goes into explaining that he was on the phone with me telling me that he wanted to STOP but I was insistent that he had to START first. He expressed how hard it was to move his hand back and forth from holding the phone against his ear and balancing it on his shoulder and attempt to press the START button. At this point the phone dropped and he reached over and picked it up again so I could get the full feeling of how hard this task was. He reached over to the computer screen and with his index finger pushed the START button on the screen. When nothing happened he jumped up and yells “SEE, nothing is happening this computer HATES me!” The phone went flying and I could see the anger on his face. I now knew exactly what was wrong. I asked his to bring up MS word and he grabbed the mouse and clicked on the icon for WORD. So I asked why he did not use the mouse to click on the START button? At this point he yelled, “YOU said to PUSH the START button, not to CLICK it, why do you young people make this stuff so HARD?” I then urged him to Click the START button and he then saw the menu and properly shut down his computer. After rebooting and shutting it down three times, I was satisfied that this client could turn off his computer any time he wanted. He explained how hard it was to use a mouse with one hand since holding the phone really was closer to the computer screen than the mouse. A few years later I got him a touch screen monitor. He was very happy to be able to push the start button rather than use the mouse. And yes I kept a straight face the entire time.
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