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If Cars Were Like Computers

What if cars really were like computers? You'd have a helpline to assist in
solving problems as they came up... Now just imagine if the same people that
answer the phones at Microsoft had to answer the General Motors helpline...

HelpLine: "General Motors HelpLine, how can I help you?"
Customer: "I can get in through the driver's side door just fine, but I
can't open the passenger's side."
HelpLine: "How did you try to open the passenger's side?"
Customer: "I pulled up on the handle, just like on the other side."
HelpLine: "People are always making that mistake. You have to push on the
passenger's side. Remember, you're always moving the handle toward the left
of the car. It's more consistent that way."

HelpLine: "General Motors HelpLine, how can I help you?"
Customer: "How do I turn my windshield wipers on?"
HelpLine: "There's a little button on the radio console . . ."
Customer: "Radio console??"
HelpLine: "Yes, it's more efficient to have all the controls in one central
position. Look for the one with a shape like a piece of pie on it."
Customer: "And that's the windshield wiper button? I was always wondering
what that did."
HelpLine: "People are always asking that. You'd think they'd be more
familiar with the principles of graphic design."

HelpLine: "General Motors HelpLine, how can I help you?"
Customer: "My car will go forward, but when I put it in reverse, nothing
HelpLine: "What model do you have?"
Customer: "It's a brand new 1994 Mongoose."
HelpLine: "Yes, but it is a 1994R with a big R or 1994r with a small r?"
Customer: "I don't know. Let me find out and I'll call you back."
HelpLine: "Alright, but let me tell you you've probably got the small r
model. You'll need to upgrade to the big R version to go in reverse."

HelpLine: "General Motors HelpLine, how can I help you?"
Customer: "I just called about the car that wouldn't go in reverse."
HelpLine: "Well, yes, we get a lot of calls about that."
Customer: "It turns out I have the small r model. But I bought the one with
the 'Reverse gear option'."
HelpLine: "Yes, that's the option to upgrade to a reverse gear."
Customer: "Why don't they all just come with a reverse gear in the first
HelpLine: "Well, that's very difficult to do, even for our world-class
engineers, and not everyone may want it. Also, it makes the car more
complicated to drive. So we offer it as an option to our 'power drivers'."
Customer: "How come all the Jupiters have had it standard since 1974?"
HelpLine" "Ahem. Well, yes, they're not a market leader, they're just for
people who really like working on cars. If you really want to get involved
in those kind complicated details, go right ahead . . ."

But really, we're leaving out an important part:

HelpLine: "General Motors HelpLine, how can I help you?"
Customer: "My car just caught fire."
HelpLine: "I see. And what model was it?"
Customer: "1994r Mongoose."
HelpLine: "Big or small . . ."
Customer: " . . . small r."
HelpLine: "And your registration number?"
Customer: "426917-woof-271828-arf-314159-spam."
HelpLine: "And where did you buy your car?"
Customer: "Fast Eddie's Sports-o-rama in Glendale."
HelpLine: "And what was the name of the salesman?"
Customer: "I don't remember."
HelpLine: "I see. Are you sure you didn't steal this car?"
Customer: "Of course I didn't steal it!"
HelpLine: "And would you be interested in purchasing our extended service

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Feedback:Doug.Aberdeen AT anu.edu.au