Beki Grinter

IT Support Hotlines: Like Grills or Not?

In computer science, women on June 10, 2011 at 1:42 pm

The New York Times ran a piece on the Weber Grill hotline. The majority of callers are male, but the majority of people who work at the hotline are women. Apparently, sometimes men just want to talk to men about grilling.

Man. Meat. Fire.

It is supposed to be a foolproof formula. But the guy at the grill is frantic. He has a yard full of hungry guests, and he is fumbling to get the gas flaming properly. It is a Memorial Day weekend nightmare that calls into question the very essence of his suburban manhood. Furtively, he dials the Weber Grill hot line for help, and Janet Olsen is on the line.

“Quick, I need to talk to a man,” he says curtly.

For Ms. Olsen, 67, it was yet another caller insisting that no woman could possibly grasp a grilling issue.

With 14 years on the job, she calmly but firmly explains that she will be able to handle the problem. If the man is especially upset, she suggests, “You might want to grab a beer — and just listen for a while.”

Female Science Professor directed me to this story, and I just wonder what Computer/Technology support hotlines are like. Who calls in? From whom do they expect help?

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  1. I don’t know but xkcd has an idea. http://xkcd.com/806/

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