TFTS: I Thought It Needed Lubrication

We’ve all had our facepalm moments at people who aren’t up to date with technology, but this story takes it to the next level.

We’ve all had our “facepalm” moments at people who aren’t up to date with technology, however, this story takes it to the next level. Today’s Tale From Tech Support comes from a sys admin of a medium-sized manufacturing company, dealing with a helpdesk call from a user.

I Thought It Needed Lubrication


Here is the story

The company in question uses heavy-duty zebra thermal label printers, mainly deployed for QR code labeling and scanning. These printers are designed to withstand heavy use with minimal errors unless a user harms the device in some way.

A common issue is mis-feeding label info, which causes the adhesive and rubber rollers to become sticky and pick labels up. Afterward, as users try to remove the stuck labels, the rollers might become damaged leading to more and more issues.

However, the case we’re looking at today is a bit different than a razor blade cutting up the rubber on a printer roller. This was evident from the start for our helpdesk support worker as well, as the user insisted on having the printer checked out in person.

As requested, the helpdesk agent arrives at the printer’s location and is ready to take a look at what’s happening that caused such a distressed call. It didn’t take long for him to find the issue after starting to disassemble the printer.

User starts talking, but as I open the side of the label printer to take a peek under the proverbial hood, all sound fades and my vision tunnels into the catastrophe before my eyes. Something is very, very wrong with this label printer.

A quick glance was enough to tell that something had become stuck in just about every corner of the printer. Some thick, white gunk was Quite literally everywhere — covering gears, rollers, the sensors, the thermal ribbon, the heat element, wires, hinges, and more. You could even compare it to the green, sticky slime used during old Nickelodeon events and commercials.

I Thought It Needed Lubrication

Of course, this was a nightmare for the helpdesk agent, who was left speechless for a few seconds before interrogating the user about what’s inside her printer.

Turns out, the user was coming across an issue with the printer labels getting stuck to the roller. Her one explanation was: “I thought it needed some lubricant.”

Shaking his head in disbelief, the helpdesk worker was attempting to keep his temper in check as he further dug to the root of the issue. According to the user, she pumped Jergens hand lotion into the machine, completely wrecking it.

Needless to say, you should never, under any circumstance use hand lotion to lubricate computer parts. Always do research before putting any sort of lubricant on electronics — and if you’re unsure, ask for support before having to pay huge maintenance fees and replace your electronics.

After countless hours of scrubbing with Goo-Gone and alcohol wipes, the helpdesk agent was able to remove the gunk from the printer and reassemble it in a working manner. However, this all could’ve been avoided if the user followed safety guidelines and didn’t try to lubricate her computer with hand lotion. Don’t be like this user.

If you found this story entertaining or interesting, be sure to check out our other Tales From Tech Support (TFTS) blogs by heading to the Softwarekeep blog section. You can find more technology stories, news, and other things to read!

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The Original post written by thumbtaks on Reddit.

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