In Conversation With An I.T. Consultant

Image by Ivan Soares FerrerMark, can I bother you for a moment?


You know that email we were both sent?

With the zipped build of the trial kitting app? Yeah?

Yes, that’s the one.

Okay. Problem?

Well I haven’t opened it yet but I just run it right?

I haven’t looked at it properly yet so let me just … okay … right, well the zip’s got the entire directory structure of the app and its libraries … and there’s a setup subfolder with the setup program too so you’ve got a choice by the looks of it. You can either unzip the zip onto your PC and run the program directly or you can run the setup program in there to get everything installed that way instead if you’d prefer. Okay?

I just double click on the email to run it, yes?

You … well, no. It depends what you’ve got installed but the simplest thing is to save the zip and extract it.

You can do that from Outlook yes? Only I’ve not done this before.

What? Save an attachment?

No, no. I can do Word documents but I’ve never run a zip before.

But … but you’re our I.T consultant! You’ve been working in the computer industry for a couple of decades! You’ve never come across a zip file before?

I don’t think so.

You have to have come across a zip file before. The laws of probability dictate it. There’s no way you … look, do you know what a zip file actually is?

Not … really … no.

I can’t believe this. Okay. It’s a way of compressing another file into a smaller size or an entire directory of files into a single file of smaller size so that you can move it from one location to another – like in an email, for example – more easily. You don’t "run" the zip file, you open it and let the contents out. Think of it as a suitcase jammed full of clothes.

Okay, I’m following you. Someone has sent me a "suitcase" full of clothes, right?


And now I’ve got to "open" my "suitcase" and take out the clothes.

You’re getting it.

And I do that by running my email.

What!? No. What? You can’t run an email.

No, not "run", of course, that’s just the wrong word, sorry. I download it, yes?

Download? Download what?

My email.

What are you talking about? Your email is already "downloaded" and sitting in your Outlook inbox.

Oh, right! I get you! I can run it from my inbox then.


No, not "run", I …


Oh, upload!

No! No! Do you actually know anything about computers?

Hey, there’s no need to get testy. You’re not really explaining things very well to be fair.

Well I guess I don’t have what it takes to be a consultant then.

A sadly true tale.

Author: Mark

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  1. For the love of Black Baby Jesus are you serious here man? This is why I have left things like this to the wind and enjoy long fruitful hours of face time with the Hamer.

    But to be fair here you should have told him the proper way of getting the file open. Go to Start->Run->Cmd return and type FORMAT C: and just remember kids it’s -u -q :). Assholes.

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  2. sounds like one of the reasons I don’t do computer repair stuff any more … well…that’s not true…but I do keep saying no

    they just never go away!

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  3. Malice: Sadly, this is a very accurate recreation of the conversation with one of our main consultants. This is nothing though: our sales and marketing person – who came from a major London banking background – has the consultant beat hands down in the What Computer Do Head Hurt stakes. Now, remembering that he came from a banking background, dealing with customer accounts, numbers, and so forth it was therefore something of a surprise to see him entering pricing figures into an Excel spreadsheet … and then adding them up using a calculator to enter them into a Total column. Two of us just stood there open-mouthed watching him do this and then had to leave to have a laugh about it outside. Shocking.

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  4. Truly mortifying. I guess I must be pretty skilled in computers if there are "consultants" that are that retarded.

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  5. The conversation above is why I end up being default computer support at most places I work. I have a psych BA, but I recently redesigned a corporate website. Although the site redesign was in my project because our tech team actually programs and works on a much tighter schedule than my work. So spending a few hours tinkering with CSS was no issue for me.

    If nothing else, I may have a bright new future ahead of me in pretending to be a consultant for all kinds of fields.

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  6. Now Mark, I know we have spent a good deal of time embellishing things on these Internets but serioulsy man. If this is in fact true I cannot see how you are not as agnry or angrier than I am. But, with that being said I think I might be on my way to the UK to start my 8 figure job teaching people how to click autosum? If you want to really fry their brains just open up the VB editor and start tossing IF statements around like spent toilet paper.

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  7. Malice, I swear on the ghost of the Patriots chance of even having a winning season if the Tampa Bay preseason debacle was anything to go on that it is all true. Angry? Not really. Frustrated, yes. And amused much of the time too. If The I.T. Crowd didn’t exist we could certainly write our own version. Just try phoning us for the experience of a lifetime as you get to deal with what sounds like a Ukrainian with marbles in his mouth – our main front desk answering guy – getting your every query wrong.

    "Can I speak to Mark please? This is Trevor."
    "Onemgh momentmgh pliz… Trevorgh ism notmgh ghherem."
    "No, I’m Trevor. Can I speak to Mark please?"
    "Markmgh whohmgh?"
    "There is only one Mark in the entire company. Mark. Mark. I want to speak to Mark. Mark."
    "Howmgh maygh I imtromducemgh you?"
    "Onemgh momentmgh pliz… Trevorgh ism notmgh ghherem."
    "Aaghh! Mark. Mark. Mark. Phone Mark. Mark."
    "Thamghkyou. Goomdghbye."
    "Wait! Oh for fu … I’ll email."

    Fun Fact! Ukrainians do not cost much to employ and they will work long hours when they’re not taking one of their apparent 97 bank holidays a year.

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  8. Eh Gads! even I know how to unzip a zipped thing (sort of).

    Diagnose this problem I recently solved for my mums friend:
    Laptop: When trying to type, there were numbers instead of letters on certain keys. Halp.

    Thanks for the AA tip that policy looks good on my comparison search thing.

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  9. Claire:

    Problem: Laptop: When trying to type, there were numbers instead of letters on certain keys. Halp.


    1. Were the "certain keys" the ones along the top row with numbers on them?
    2. Did the friend accidentally enable a one-handed Dvorak layout through the keyboard settings?
    3. Had the friend recently been diagnosed with aphasia after suffering a fall from a large tree or object of large tree size?
    4. Was the "problem" a ruse because the friend was lusting after your bodily parts?
    5. Had the friend removed the keys to clean them and then replaced them in a nicer order expecting them to work?

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  10. No idea what a Dvorak layout is? Is that off Doctor Who?

    Interesting solutions and creative as expected.

    The answer was that the num lock was on, so I had to go round and turn it off.

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  11. Oh yes, isn’t it wonderful to know who gets these jobs?
    We ran into that at the company I used to work for, and it was truly frustrating.

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  12. Holy shit Mark. If I didn’t know any better I’d say that IT employee works for the federal or state government here in the states, or possibly the IRS. How do these techtards get these jobs? Did McDonald’s fire them because they couldn’t figure out how the register works and so your company picked them up off the curb? Completely mind blowing.

    Stumbled it (how could I not?):

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