The Dumbest Dell CSR Who Ever Lived

Jessica L. thinks she possibly made contact with the stupidest person to ever man the Dell phone lines.

Only reachable by calling Dell and hitting the 0 key 8 times in a row, this Milton-esque mumbler lives in a dank, lightless basement, surrounded by rotting cardboard boxes. He knows nothing about the outside world, unable to parse the difference between the United States government and a business. He also knows nothing about Dell’s product line, outside of notebooks. Luckily, he’s got an easy solution if he can’t directly help you… just hang up.

Jess describes him as the dumbest person in all America. Being a Government employee, she might not be aware that that person, in fact, is her ultimate employer. But second dumbest seems apt. Jessica’s email after the jump:

I work for a government agency. We need to buy about 50-70 TB of
storage, which is at least a $300,000 purchase. We’ve been having
vendors come out and woo us. Dell is an industry leader, right?

So, one of my team members emails me: “I have spent some time trying
to ascertain the services available from Dell Professional Services
and to actually contact them. On their web site they have a category
called “Assess, Design, and Implement”, it sounds like what we are
looking for and yet it is divided into categories of “System
Consolidation Services”, “Software Migration Services”, and “IT
Architecture Services”. Okay, we are neither consolidating or
migrating so IT Architecture! Under IT Architecture the only thing
that sounds remotely like it might fit is Backup and Recover. After
reading the introduction it still seems like it has potential.

So, now I need to find out how to talk to someone and discuss this a
little further. So I hunt for more information and the only thing
that I am able to come up with is a phone number 800-WWW-DELL. So, I
call and …
No, I don’t want to dial an extension
No, I don’t want to place an order
Technical Question? not really but lets follow this to see where it
Well that was a waste of time. They are anticipating a question
related to some piece of hardware that I already have.
Okay let’s call back and see if there is anything else. This time I
get one more option “All issues related to a purchase already made”.
Well, that’s not what I want but this is not my first automated
answering system so I will just dial 0 and wait for an operator.

“You have entered an invalid selection!””

This is were I pull out my big guns. So, my tactic was, where I was told to call
800‑999‑3355 and press 0 repeatedly to get a human.

After 8 (or more) 0’s. I got the dumbest person in all of America.
“What system do you want to purchase?”
“I am with the federal government. I want to purchase a Dell/EMC
product. Can I have the federal services division or the professional
services division?”
“Is this business or personal?”
“This a Dell/EMC partnership for hardware and services. It’s on your
web page.”
“Is this business or personal?”
“It’s the government.”
“Is this business or personal?”
“Okay, so it would be a business.”
“Are you using personal or business funds?”
“Okay, let me take your name, number, and address.”
“Why do you need my address to connect me to someone?”
“I need your address to get anything in my database.”
“So, what computer do you want to purchase?”
“Okay, is that a notebook?’
“This is a huge storage system for the federal government!!!”
“Okay, let me transfer you.”

At this point I was disconnected back to the main menu of pointless options.


Edit Your Comment

  1. Special K says:

    I’m sorry, but whats the big deal? This shouldnt even be a story.

    Dumb sales rep….nothing new, carry on.

  2. Sean O says:

    Sounds more ignorant than dumb to me.

  3. John Stracke says:

    It’s not really the sales rep’s fault; he’s not supposed to be dealing with government customers, or with customers that need professional services. Companies like Dell have a completely separate set of reps for government accounts.

  4. Kornkob says:

    I have to agree here. She went down a phone tree through a series of choices she knew were wrong and got a phone rep that didn’t have the knowledge she needed. I’m not surprised.

    Oh– and she got disconnected during a transfer. That’s hardly surprising– I’ve yet to meet a phone system (even in a call center) that didn’t periodically drop transfers.

    I’ve talke dto some dumb CSR reps but the transcript of that conversation doesn’t indicate to me that the rep is dumb. Maybe the customer but not the rep.

  5. Pelagius says:

    I suppose a point might be made about Dell putting up unnecesary barriers between the customer and their product, but about 10 seconds of noodling around the Dell website took me to a search page targeted at Federal Government customers, with a specific number to call: 1-866-234-2411.

  6. Hooray4Zoidberg says:

    This seems like your classic asshole customer to me. She can’t figure out which number to call and then is appalled that the person who answered has no idea how to handle her problem.

    Usually the most arrogant people are the ones who believe they are smarter than everyone else. Ironically they are usually the biggest morons. That seems to be the case here.

  7. DeeJayQueue says:

    More proof for my theory that people actually are literate, but they think signs don’t apply to them.

    “no parking-fire lane? I’ll just be a minute…”

    “I know it says please use tongs but i just want one piece of bread”

    “Take one every 6 hours? Nah, I want to feel better now. I’ll take 3.”

    “The double yellow lines in the road are just a suggestion. If they really didn’t want you to drive there, they’d put a wall up.”

    “I know that none of these selections quite match what I want but I’ll just keep mashing my hand on the keypad till someone picks up and then get mad when they act perturbed because I want something that they’re not responsible for”

  8. billhelm says:

    ugh. Jessica sounds pretty stupid too.

  9. Jessica, I think you made a spelling error while browsing the Dell webpage…it actually reads:

    “Asses, Design, and Implement”

  10. Lemurs says:

    I love the predictability of the Consumerist comments nowadays. There are always one or more of the following:

    1) Boring, not even a story!
    2) The customer is dumb! They spelled wrongly! (sic)
    3) Wow, that’s horrible! Let’s burn the company down.

    …with various variations on the theme.

  11. cudthecrud says:

    I don’t think its unreasonable to assume that the CSR should have known she was in the wrong place, and then directed her to the correct place. Don’t they normally have a crib sheet of phone numbers and divisions?

  12. something_amazing says:


    Far too harsh! That’s like complaining that Kotaku has too much video game coverage.

    Jessica– That’s what you get for not following the proper phone tree. I would be surprised if that person was a CSR at all, and not just some receptionist who is being used as a catch-all.

    For future reference, a play by play isn’t necessary.

  13. AcilletaM says:

    It probably defaulted to a receptionist or some such person who is in no way/shape/form a CSR.

    Now, the more important question. Which unnamed ‘government agency’ is looking to add more storage space and for what clandestine reasons?

  14. John Stracke says:

    AcilletaM writes:

    Which unnamed ‘government agency’ is looking to add more storage space and for what clandestine reasons?

    All of them.

  15. missdona says:

    There’s a general level of incompetence at Dell and there seems to be a corporate philosophy of “lather rinse repeat.”

    The last time I called, It was “You’ve reached the small business dept, you need the home dept. You’ve reached the home dept, you need the Inspiron dept. You’ve reached the XPS dept, you need the Inspiron dept.” Gah!

    I’d rather chat with them, and that’s saying something, because they suck at that too.

  16. kostia says:

    If she’s buying for an agency, she has to buy off a GSA schedule in the first place. She should have a list of contacts at pre-selected vendors. Judging from the way the advertising is done here in DC (I’m blanketed in ads for CDW-G and others on the radio and on the subway), no one who’s a purchaser for the government is supposed to be making this kind of cold call.

  17. factotum says:

    She’s lucky she doesn’t have to regularly call Medi-Cal, staffed by the sub-sub-contractors of EDS.