Hilarious Service Requests?

Like so many of you, I'm the 'security system guy' among my circle of friends.

Last night, a friend asked me to tell him what was wrong with his cameras from a system that is about three years old. In an attempt to speed things up, I asked him what the problem was, but he insisted I come to his business to get the 'full problem'.

When I got there, it was night. He pointed to a 4X4 display of cameras on a monitor and asked me 'Why do half of these cameras randomly turn black & white while half are color?"

I looked for a second, and I explained the ones that are black and white are outside where it is dark, and the night mode is monochromatic. The color ones stay color because they're inside where it is brightly lit. I told him it was not random, and that it happens every day.

He looked at me in disbelief and told me I was incorrect. To prove my point, we looked at recordings for the past four or five days. After that, he just kind of shrugged his shoulders, thanked me, and asked me not to tell our friends the story.

Do any of you have a painful or funny service anecdote?

Do any of you have a painful or funny service anecdote?

How about painfully awkward?

Back when a decent broadband speed was 9600 baud, I had installed a computer requisitioning system for a small distributor on Long Island.

The head of purchasing was having a problem running some reports and so I shuffled down to his office to find out why. I knew him well, all too well, as we were both dating the same woman, a new account rep from an unrelated firm.

I knew this fact from her only, and knew he knew the same about me, but at work we just acted casually like we acted before she came into the picture.


So when I got to his office, I sat down beside him and asked him to log in to the system, which he quickly attempted. But not realizing what the state of the login prompt was, he ended up typing his user name into the password field! Then without looking up, he proceeded to type what I assume was his password into the user field, which meant it showed as clear text. On the scrolling vt100 terminal it looked something like this:


login: ilovedori

Oops! Realizing his mistake, he hit enter on the password and properly entered his hurtful "credentials". Unfortunately, that meant the old text stayed on the screen for about a year before the main menu came up.

Easily the most awkward 30 seconds of my life, (and probably his)!

In the end though, true love won out... and he got the girl. But I think it was the proper ending, truth be told my password was the less than noble ihatefrank...

every now and then we can get requests that seem normal but soon are anything but... my most recent wasn't anything major but just a confirmation that the low voltage tech gets blamed for everything...

we had a simple request for service by a customer that said a door on their access control system was allowing access without credentials and sometimes with credentials... upon arriving I looked at the software to see a list of events, sure enough some card holders would badge the reader and then several times the door was opened without a card being used allowing for access... I walked to the door and presented my card to the reader, I heard the strike click and slightly pulled the door open and then closed it... no sooner than I had closed it the maintenance man walked by casually opened the door and said "you don't need the card anymore" and pointed to the strike showing me that he had put a lock down magnet on it... the lock down magnet doesn't allow for the latch to engage the strike, essentially rendering the access control system useless to those who know they don't need to use a card...

happy that it was an easy service call I went to my point of contact and explained what the situation was and thought that they would be happy about the easy fix, I was wrong... somehow the discussion turned and they stated that the access control system shouldn't be that easy to get around, the building isn't secure if that can be done, they don't want to pay for the service because they could have removed magnet and so on... I politely explained that we can't control how their employees try circumvent their security policies and that they should talk with those employees, I offered to do some programming changes and some minor training to make the trip worth it and they were happy...

all in all it was a interesting service call that ended well...

Shouldn't the access control system been giving "Forced Door" alerts then?

Shouldn't the access control system been giving "Forced Door" alerts then?

I assumed that was the "door opened without a card" event". Is there a difference?

I looked at the software to see a list of events, sure enough some card holders would badge the reader and then several times the door was opened without a card being used allowing for access.

that is correct, the "forced opening" event was explained as what UD1 pointed out... my understanding is the ones who would badge did not know that a the door had that lockdown magnet on it and would enter with credentials...

A guy calls us that needs help configuring his DVR. I tell him to click on an Icon on the menu on the screen, he seem confused, so I was more specific "with the mouse, left click on that icon".

His response "How do you left click?"

Bad thing is this guy was an installer.

Back when I worked for a company that also had a locksmithing division, I got a call from a guy who woke up to find that his friend had pranked him the night before by installing a padlock on a sensitive area. He was in pain and wanted us to come remove the padlock. I had a difficult time convincing him that he should seek medical help, that we didn't take on that kind of work, and that he didn't really want one of our locksmiths working on that problem. I have to admit, it was fun imagining giving that assignment to the locksmiths as a group and letting them figure out who should take it. Discussing the call in the shop later, I learned that this is not that uncommon a situation.

ah yes the classic "pad-lock-on-your-buddies-manhood-trick"! wait serioiusly who does that?!

ah yes the classic "pad-lock-on-your-buddies-manhood-trick"! wait serioiusly who does that?!

it was the girlfriend


...his friend had pranked him the night before by installing a padlock on a sensitive area.

If you can't block it, lock it!

Meanwhile, the ER people throw their hands up and yell "WHAT, DO WE LOOK LIKE LOCKSMITHS!?!"

Meanwhile, the ER people throw their hands up and yell "WHAT, DO WE LOOK LIKE LOCKSMITHS!?!

"Nurse, administer 20mg of morphine and bring me the J.O.L., stat!"

We had a very expensive after-hours, out of area service call for a door that was staying unlocked at a normally unoccupied facility. It turned out that a beetle had somehow climbed inside an electric strike and its shell was keeping the plunger of the solenoid in the unlocked position.

I had an international airport account with a particularly surly Director of Security who was prone to calling me at the first sign of confusing reports in the middle of the night.

He calls one night (we didnt have any contracted time SLAs, and I wasnt on call) around 10PM while I am enjoying adult beverages at a local pub. "All of the cameras are offline! The server must have crashed", he proclaimed. We had inherited the server hardware when the previous security contractor couldn't complete the bid they won and we were paid to come in to finish the job. I logged into the remote client (through an RDP app - the good old days before smartphone VMS clients) and saw that all of the cameras were online, streaming, recording, the server had plenty of storage space. Everything looked great. So I call him back and report the status of everything. He swears a few times and tells me I might have to drive to the airport (an hour or 2 drive) because he is too inebriated to make the trip (about 15 minutes from where he was). I informed him that I was also in no position to make the drive out there and that to call the officers on site, make sure their sitting at the main security desk and to call me direct so I can help them.

I received a call 3 minutes later from the Security Director, the system issues were resolved. I laughed and hung up.

I called him the next morning to see what happened. He sheepishly noted that when he told the officer to sit down at the security desk, they bumped the mouse and "all of the cameras started working again. The screens had gone black approximately around 9pm". He informed the officer that there was a 12 hour system inactivity screen timeout set on the Windows machine, and if they failed to touch the mouse for over 12 hours, the display outputs shut off and the monitors go into sleep mode. I asked him if he wanted us to change or remove that timeout and he actually had us change it to 8 hours so he would know sooner if one of the officers had gone an entire shift without using the system.

I had a customer call me and say that her whole system was down. So I drove 1 hour to the site and only to find out that their workstation MONITOR WAS OFF. Future service requests started off with, " IS YOUR MONITOR ON?"...

I could write a book....

How about the one where a celebrities manager pulled a gun on my brother?

Maybe the one where another celebrities girlfriend was skinny dipping and locked herself out?

Urgent...Oh, that was a possum on the roof......

The FBI and NSA are listening...can't you hear that?

I know I have owed you $75.00 for awhile but I had to pay cash for my Rolls Royce.

Get here now....."What the He!! are you doing in my kitchen?"

Yeah, the old company took the server, does that matter? Oh, we threw that little thingy away.. (ACS License Dongle....$25,000 replacement cost)

.....and so many more after 30+ years.

Service call to a retail site: maglock on front door is not engaging.

Arrive on site, talk to the manager. She informs me that both the door company and the alarm company have already been called on this and spent a combined four hours trying unsuccessfully to diagnose the problem.

My first step is to check that the system has power. Next is to open the maglock and check that power is getting to it. Good on the first count, nothing on the second. So, start tracing the wiring back.

First item in line: the mushroom EXIT button on the door mullion. With a newspaper rack pushed up against it.


Move the rack out two inches, button pops out... door is locked.

My workorder read: "Faulty exit button/magazine rack interface."

This type of situation has come to be known among our techs as a "chiprack interface". It happens all too often.

My security career began as a technician at an integrator in Detroit. We had a big customer, a good customer, that had multiple funeral homes in the area. My boss, the owner of the company, and I were the only ones who would work there as everyone else had the creeps.

Several times a year, he would call for service on one of his systems. We never found anything wrong, but he cheerfully paid his bill each time on the spot. And whenever we were there, usually at night, the customer would get pizza and beer and we would play cards. We assumed he was lonely or bored. I learned a lot about the funeral business from him, and sometimes he would even enlist our aid to move a body into their casket, something that had to be done by hand instead of the sling lift used for the rest of the preparation process. But that is another story.

Except it isn't another story. Eventually, it dawned on us these service requests always coincided with him having a truly massive body to move. You can't appreciate the term "dead weight" until you've had someone's enormous cold dead gramma flopping all over you. It turns out our service call was cheaper than hiring real mortuary assistants.

We never found anything wrong, but he cheerfully paid his bill each time on the spot.

You were "stiffed" just the same.;)

A call came in to our Service Department about a server that was running too loudly. After a few emails back and forth with screen shots of the system utilization...we finally asked for a pic from the outside of that actual server.

The problem turned out to be the fact that they only plugged in ONE of the two power cords for the redundant PSU so the one side was doing all the work like it should...and keeping itself cool with a very fast fan speed.