What 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
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 happens."
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
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
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 place?"
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
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 contract?"