If Cars Were Computers

by Paul Jerkatis

The ITS Connection Online Newsletter

General Motors doesn't have a "help line" for people who don't know how to drive, because people don't buy cars like they buy computers. But imagine if they did!

Scene 1
HELPLINE: "General Motors Helpline, how can I help you?"
CUSTOMER: "I got in my car and closed the door, and nothing happened!"
HELPLINE: "Did you put the key in the ignition and turn it?"
CUSTOMER: "What's an ignition?"
HELPLINE: "It's a starter motor that draws current from your battery and turns over the engine."
CUSTOMER: "Ignition? Motor? Battery? Engine? Why do I have to know all of these technical terms just to use my car?"

Scene 2
HELPLINE: "General Motors Helpline, how can I help you?"
CUSTOMER: "My car ran fine for a week, and now it won't go anywhere!"
HELPLINE: "Is the gas tank empty?"
CUSTOMER: "Huh? How do I know?"
HELPLINE: "There's a little gauge on the front panel, with a needle, and markings from 'E' to 'F'. Where is the needle pointing?"
CUSTOMER: "I see an 'E' but no 'F'.
HELPLINE: "You see the 'E' and just to the right is the 'F'.
CUSTOMER: "No, just to the right of the first 'E' is a 'V'.
HELPLINE: "A 'V' ?!?"
CUSTOMER: "Yeah, there's a 'C', an 'H', the first 'E', then a 'V', followed by 'R', '0', 'L'...
HELPLINE: "No, no, no Sir! That's the front of the car! When you sit behind the steering wheel, that's the panel I'm talking about."
CUSTOMER: "That steering wheel thingy - is that the round thing that honks the horn?"
HELPLINE: Yes, among other things."
CUSTOMER: "The needle's pointing to 'E'. What does that mean?"
HELPLINE: "It means that you have to visit a gasoline vendor and purchase some more gasoline. You can install it yourself, or pay the vendor to install it for you."
CUSTOMER: "What? I paid $12,000 for this car! Now you tell me that I have to keep buying more components? I want a car that comes with everything built in!"

Scene 3
HELPLINE: "General Motors Helpline, how can I help you?"
CUSTOMER: "Your cars suck!"
HELPLINE: "What's wrong?"
CUSTOMER: "It crashed, that's what went wrong!"
HELPLINE: "What were you doing?"
CUSTOMER: "I wanted to go faster, so I pushed the accelerator Pedal all the way to the floor. It worked for a while, and then it crashed and now it won't even start up!"
HELPLINE: "I'm sorry, sir, but its your responsibility if you misuse the product."
CUSTOMER: "Misuse it? I was just following this damned manual of yours. It said to make the car go to put the transmission in 'D' and press the accelerator pedal. That's exactly what did -- now the damn thing's crashed."
HELPLINE: "Did you read the entire operators manual before operating the car sir?"
CUSTOMER: "What? Of course I did! I told you I did EVERYTHING the manual said and it didn't work!"
HELPLINE: "Didn't you attempt to slow down so you wouldn't crash?"
CUSTOMER: "How do you do THAT?"
HELPLINE: "You said you read the entire manual, sir. It's on page 14. The pedal next to the accelerator.
CUSTOMER: "Well, I don't have all day to sit around and read this manual you know."
HELPLINE: "Of course not. What do you expect us to do about it?"
CUSTOMER: "I want you to send me one of the latest versions that goes fast and won't crash anymore!"

Scene 4
HELPLINE: "General Motors Helpline, how can I help you?"
CUSTOMER: "Hi! I just bought my first car. I chose your car because it has automatic transmission, cruise control, power steering, power brakes and power door locks."
HELPLINE: 'Thanks for buying our car. How can I help you?"
CUSTOMER: "How do I work it?"
HELPLINE: "Do you know how to drive?"
CUSTOMER: "Do I know how to what?"
HELPLINE: "Do you know how to DRIVE?'
CUSTOMER: "I'm not a technical person I just want to go places in my car!"


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