If you don’t know how, don’t try to improvise…

My first phone call this morning was from a woman who obviously had no idea whatsoever about computers. I doubt she is even able to tell the front from the back on a standard desktop tower. Now, I’d like to make it very clear that I have absolutely nothing against that. Ignorance is not a crime, nor is it morally wrong in any way. She knows nothing about computers, and that’s fine. Without people like her I wouldn’t have a job. So this far into the story, we are all good and fine and dandy.

However, as the story goes on, it is revealed that she purchased my company’s product, a memory upgrade (two modules, in fact), and attempted to install them, without quite realizing the full scope of her ignorance.

She installed them backwards.

I have yet to figure out how on Earth anyone can manage to install memory backwards, given that it is intentionally designed to prevent that, but somehow, this woman managed. So she installed her memory upgrade, and she plugged her system back in, and she pressed the power button, and she smelled something burning.

The simple experiment of installing the computer’s original memory and attempting to boot confirmed my suspicions: Her motherboard was fried, toast, dead, and finito. That’s what happens when you install memory backwards, it shortens out the slot it is installed in and kills the motherboard while it’s at it. That’s why it is designed so it can only be installed facing the right way, as I mentioned earlier.

I had to spend the rest of the phone call explaining to my customer that it was her own fault that she had killed her computer, and that none of this was covered under the warranty of either motherboard or memory.

We took her memory back for a full refund anyway, because we are a nice company, but the moral of this story still stands: If you know absolutely nothing about how the hardware in your computer works, don’t try to improvise or play around with it. Seriously, don’t. Because while we are refunding what she paid for the memory, we sure aren’t paying for the new motherboard.

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