The Customer is Always Idiotic

“Hey Bob, can you talk to a customer about upgrading his backup client?”

We run Tivoli Storage Manager for a backup system, and we resell the service to customers. We are in the midst of upgrading to TSM 5.3, and we just informed all the customers that they need to be running a recent client. Recent, to us, means versions 5.2 or 5.3, which represent the last five years of TSM development. IBM doesn’t support older versions of the clients, so to ensure that we can resolve any problems that crop up we ask that people upgrade from time to time. Most of our customers just have us upgrade their clients for them as part of our contracts with them.

“Sure, I’ll call him.”

I call this guy back. He’s irate. I love inheriting angry customers.

“Why in hell do I have to upgrade my backup client?!?”

“Sir, what client version are you running?”

“I’m running version 5.1.”

“Oh, the upgrade is simple, just uninstall the old client and install the new version.”

“That isn’t the point. You people are making me upgrade constantly! I’m sick of it!”

“Upgrade constantly? When was the last time you needed to upgrade?”

“Six months ago you made me upgrade because you wouldn’t support my client version then.”

“What version was it?”


“Um, dude, that was really old, like from 1997. And you upgraded to 5.1? Why didn’t you go to 5.2 or 5.3 and spare yourself the trouble?”

“Your upgrade instructions only covered version 5.1.”

“Sir, I wrote those instructions, and six months ago I know they covered 5.2.”

“I’m taking my business elsewhere! I don’t have to use your service! My time isn’t free, you know.”

(like mine is, you ass)

“How many machines do you have to upgrade?”


“One? Oh, sorry, I thought we were talking about a couple hundred or something. It takes me less than an hour to upgrade the client on the 150 machines I support. Why don’t we do it right now and I’ll talk you through it? It’ll take about five minutes. Much less time than even patching your OS, and you’ve got the guy who wrote the documentation on the line.”

(I doubt this guy patches his OS, either. How dare they ship him buggy software!)

“I don’t think so! I am cancelling my service and just going to back up using tar to a friend’s workstation.”

Okay, pal. All that for 20 GB of data (I looked it up). YAWN. Besides, if you figure he didn’t upgrade his client for six years he’s averaging three years between upgrades. I’m glad he’s not anywhere near my data or systems.

1 thought on “The Customer is Always Idiotic”

  1. I totally agree with that. What is even more worrisome is that fortune 500 companies have apps running on hardware and software that is no longer supported and they wont upgrade because it makes them A LOAD OF CASH. I worked for IBM on an account and the customer (fortune 500) had numerous applications that made them millions per day running on HP 10.20 with oracle 7. The sad thing is they wont spend the money to have someone come upgrade it since it was made in house they have no good documentation on it…blah blah blah! So many companies are just a hardware failure away from losing millions if not their company it’s sickening. Only banks take IT seriously, and even then they are not all perfect.

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