How NOT to Follow Instructions: Tales From Tech Support

Companies offer tech support because we all need technical support. However, sometimes you should not follow tech support. Here's Why.

Technical support is available on just about every website and service. It’s crucial for us to ensure our customers and users always have a way of reaching out to us. However, not everyone takes tech support seriously and ends up causing more issues than necessary — the story we’re covering today is one of those incidents.

Tech support team


A post from the popular Reddit website recently resurfaced and made its way around the internet. It’s been crowned as one of the best examples of how not to follow tech support instructions. In the post, a support agent talks about user A, and the stress they had to experience while working with this individual.

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The beginning

The tale starts with the basics of tech support. You have an issue, you submit a ticket through the system, and wait for a response with instructions on how to fix your issue. Easy enough, right? Well, as it turns out, some people still can’t figure out how to follow instructions.

We have a pretty simple system. You ask for something and you get something. With me so far? It really is that simple for the user.

When making purchases, you usually have two options: buying it regularly or buying it as a gift for someone else. For user A, this is where everything went wrong.

Despite the gifting option being clearly different from the regular purchase, user A kept making the same mistake over and over. It’s easy to see how this becomes frustrating when you already have clear indications about the differences and multiple warnings.

There is also a big button that says click here if you want something for someone else. With a giant red warning underneath that says: Hey if you don't use that big button right above the something you ask for will be FOR YOU.

According to the post, user A is responsible for managing many other people within her organization. Without fail, the support team received a ticket for a new purchase once every month, always coming from the same user, always reporting the same issue.


The frustration

Every 2nd Monday of every month, the support team was met with the same ticket submitted by the same exact person, user A. The message roughly said “I asked for something for a new hire but they never got it. Please fix it.” This went on for over a year — some serious dedication to not follow instructions!

Can you guess what user A was doing wrong? Surely there has to be a serious problem if the same issue pops up every time a purchase is made. Or the user was simply ignoring everything about the gifting option, including the big red button and multiple warnings.

Of course, like a good support agent would, the post’s original writer responded to the tickets with diligence. They even included a full list of step by step instructions on how to use the different purchase mechanics in the store!

Please use the button to ask for something for someone else. We'll send ticket over to finance to swap the charges.

Despite the team’s best effort, the messages and tickets never stopped coming from user A. The same thing, every single month. After over a year, the team ended up making a crucial decision: to not help this time, with manager/director backup.

The solution

The solution

After having enough of the repeated tickets from the same user that could be fixed by simply clicking on a different button, the team has had enough. They decided to disable user A’s ability to submit virtual tickets, forcing her to call the help desk for tickets. The hope here was that she’d call, listen to what the desk has to say, and learn how to use the purchase functions properly.

The team also decided to send a warning email to user A in which they informed her about her current standing with the company.

Look, you do this EVERY month. We told you HOW to do this the correct way for a year. If you still can't figure it out you're on your own and all these charges will fall on you.

Of course, this isn’t the end of it all. Before sending the strongly-worded email, the team made sure to CC the user’s boss and attach the 12 months worth of support tickets. Luckily for the team, this went completely unnoticed by user A.

Not much time has passed before the team heard back from user A. In an email written largely in CAPS, they received threats against the support team, as well as many ill-willed comments about the purchase system.


What user A didn’t know is that her boss was already seeing everything, as the letters arrived in her inbox too, thanks to being CC-d previously by the support team. It didn’t take long until the boss took matters into their own hand.

I apologize for the behavior of user A. Please don't let her behavior affect the wonderful support you provide to our department. User B will now be responsible for interfacing with your team to get something for our new hires. Please grant User B the permissions user A previously had.

Rejoice! After terminating user A’s network account, everything was back to normal. According to the boss, the instructions included with every ticket response worked flawlessly after testing, further confirming user A’s inability to follow instructions.

Don’t be like user A.

The original post title makes fun of the problematic user’s flawed thought process, using phrases such as “Your instructions are stupid.” and “I'll keep doing things the way I've always done them.” A fair warning: if you think this way when receiving support, you might end up on the popular r/talesfromtechsupport subreddit too, just like user A did.

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Original post written by pcx226 on Reddit.