Mandy Andress was working in IT at a university library when she told a user that to help correct a computer problem, she’d have to see her cookies.

“They brought me homemade cookies the next day,” says Andress, a member of the Network World Lab Alliance and president of security consulting firm ArcSec Technologies.

“I was initially a bit confused but then just had to laugh,” Andress says, adding that the user had been quite serious.

That kind of misunderstanding isn’t unusual for IT professionals dealing with users who aren’t necessarily the most tech-savvy.

Discussions with more than a dozen IT people turned up stories that ranged from the naive to the bizarre.

“You have to have a good sense of humour to work at this,” says Jeff Whitmore, director of IT at guitar strings and accessories maker Ernie Ball of San Luis Obispo, Calif.

“My favourite request is from people wanting me to ‘Restart the Internet [because] it seems frozen.’ I’m going to quit the day I stop laughing at some of the things people think we should and can do,” he says. Ross McKenzie, IS director at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, says he got a call at his home one Friday night from a well-respected