The Mysteries of the Remote Control

“Where’s the call button on this damn cell phone?”

I’m sure you’ve gathered by now that elderly folks and technology don’t mix very well. A large portion of my tech calls are simply telling them to press the TV button on the remote. These should be easy calls, but getting to that button pushing moment usually takes about ten minutes. To the clueless and elderly ESP’s, the remote is some sort of mysterious device that should be feared. And you know when ESP’s get confused (all the fucking time), they get pissed…at me.

One of my biggest problems with angry old assholes and the remote is the lack of pressing the select button. Yeah, actually selecting an option instead of staring at the screen waiting for something to happen. This is especially frustrating when you’re troubleshooting, because you assume they’re following along with you, but they’re miles behind. If you say go to the TV menu, you would think that means pressing the menu button or selecting the menu option, right? No, apparently it’s a real fucking toughie. I’ve had a lot of confusion over this one over the years, but one was pretty bad. Old Dumbass could not unravel the mysteries of the remote for the life of him.

Winston: “Go ahead and push the menu button.”

Customer: “What?”

Winston: “The menu button.”

Customer: “Where?”

Winston: “It’s in the upper right corner of the remote.”

Customer: “Where?”

Winston: “It’s a little blue button in the upper right corner.”

Customer: “I don’t see it.”

Winston: “It’s there, look for a…”

Customer: “Oh there it is.”

Winston: “Okay, now select preferences.”

Customer: “Where?”

Winston: “You should see an option for preferences.”

Customer: “I don’t see preferences on this thing.”

Winston: “It’s in the middle of the screen, two rows down from the top.”

Customer: “Oh, I’m looking at the screen now?”

Winston: “Yes, so now you’ll select preferences.”

Customer: “Yeah, got it. Now what?”

Winston: “Now select system info.”

Customer: “Where’s that?”

Winston: “It’s right on top, um, under system preferences.”

Customer: “I only see preferences. Nothing about system.”

Winston: “Well this menu is under preferences.”

Customer: “No, it says channels under preferences.”

Winston: “You need to select preferences.”

Customer: “Where?”

Winston: “You want to hit the big select button in the middle of your remote to enter the preferences menu.”

Customer: “I’m looking at the remote now, not the screen?”

Winston: “Well you can keep your thumb on the select button while you look at the screen since it’s right between the arrow keys.”

Customer: “What?”

Winston: “Um, what color is the preferences button on the screen?”

Customer: “So I’m looking at the screen again?”

Winston: “Yes.”

Customer: “Where?”

Winston: “In the middle of the screen. The preferences button that we were talking about earlier. What color is it?”

Customer: “It’s orange. Wait, hold on. Or is it red? Amber? No, I guess it’s orange.”

Winston: “Okay, so you have it highlighted, but we need to go into the menu, so now that the button is orange, you’ll want to press the select button on the remote. The big circular button right in the middle of the remote.”

Customer: “What now?”

The conversation went exactly like this for about an hour, even after being extremely detailed about the simplest fucking thing on Earth. All we had to do was change a little setting in the menu, but the select concept was beyond Old Dumbass. You’d think he’d catch on after finally making it into each sub-menu, but no, he never did. And if you think getting him to select a menu item was hard, imaging him backing up and going to a previous menu item. I can only hope for the safety of tech support representatives across the globe that the only piece of technology he had in his house was a TV. Can you imagine that guy with a computer?

2 thoughts on “The Mysteries of the Remote Control

  1. As far as I an concerned the ESP here are the manufacturers who don’t see the marketing potential here. Getting old is not easy, and having a remote that has buttons too small to be usable to the elderly combined with a font size on the labels that is too small for older eyes and a remote with more functionality than older people want/need is just going to lead to problems. I am not old but I can appreciate the problems that older people have and to blame them for the poor quality tools they are given is extremely unfair.

  2. Here in Brazil we have “elder people´s cell phones”, which I think are older-generation, simpler phones with big buttons. I don´t know if it is a world trend or just a local thing…

Comments are closed.