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Today in My History

2000:  Cult Status
2001:  The Seventh Veil
2002:  Bread and Butter
2003:  Happiness is...
2004:  A Bit of This, A Bit of That
2005:  She Came from a Dysfunctional Family
2006:   Doin' the Shipoopi


Books Read in 2007

Updated 8/9:
"Maximum Ride--School's Out Forever"


Tony Fields
click here to download

You Tube version

Mefeedia Video Archive

My Favorite Video Blogs

Desert Nut

(for others, see Links page)

Look at these videos!
Sideshow Bob sings HMS Pinafore
Pug Bowling
George Carlin
Hero Pit Bulls
Opening Night, "The Big Voice"

Family Stories Vlog
(updated 8/5/07)

New on My flickr_logo.gif (801 bytes)

4th of July Barbeque




15 August 2007

No,'s OK.  Let me just sit here hitting myself over the head with a hammer.  It feels so good.

I made a purchase today.  I'm not going to say what it was because it's a surprise for someone who reads my journal, so let's just say that I ordered a new widget.

The ordering procedure was very easy.  All ordering procedures are very easy.  When the order was finished, came the usual notification that I would receive a confirming e-mail, with further instructions attached.  The next part was operator stupidity on my part.

I am having a big problem with Mail Washer right now.  I'm using the newest version and this version assumes that if you don't specifically designate mail as something you want to read, it should be deleted.  Well, my widget receipt and "further instructions" arrived, I didn't notice that it was marked for deletion, and it got deleted.  Arrrgggghhhhh!

Well, no problem.  I'll just call the company, right?


I do hate outsourcing.  I love all people and I don't really cast aspersions on any nationality.  Good grief, half of the countries in the world have lived in our house and become part of our family.  But if you are going to work for a United States Company and have to deal with Americans on a regular basis, at least learn the goddamn terminology!!!!!

I explained my problem to the first guy, who sounded like he was from a country that is somewhere between here and Central America, but I won't get specific because I don't want to sound prejudiced against any group of people.  He was totally flummoxed.  He didn't have a clue what I was talking about and put me on hold for 5 minutes.  He finally came back and said that he couldn't help me but he would give me a number where I could get help.

I called the number and it was the exact same number I had just called!!!!!   But I did get another operator, who also sounded like she probably was in the same country as the first guy.  She also didn't understand what "confirmation e-mail" meant and put me on hold for even longer.  She finally told me that all she could do was to route me to the sales department and gave me that number.

It was a bad number.

I called several other numbers I found on the site and all of them put me back in Mexico that certain country between here and Central America.  I finally found a number that gave me (a) a person and not voice mail hell, and (b) someone for whom English was obviously her first language.

She not only knew what a confirmation e-mail was, but she could explain to me exactly what was in the e-mail and tell me what to do when my item came. 

I was going to ask her to marry me, but then I remembered that I was already married and the best I could offer her was a civil union anyway.

I did ask her if the company outsourced calls to Mexico and she admitted that they outsourced them "all over the country and in several foreign countries."

The debate about outsourcing will go on forever.  I personally think it's a terrible idea, not only because it takes jobs from Americans, but also because so often when you are talking to Jennifer from India (pulleeeze...who are they trying to kid?  We know you're in India and that your name is not Jennifer...couldn't they at least use a generic Indian name? How many Jennifers are we going to find among native Indians?) they can't understand you and you can't understand them.  The goal of customer service has to start with communication.  If you can't understand each other, there is no way you are going to communicate, and the end result is an angry customer.

I remember calling Kaiser once and getting someone of Asian descent -- this was someone living in this country, but with a very strong accent.  She could not understand me and I was asking her about medical issues and couldn't understand a word she said -- and believe me, I've dealt with a lot of foreigners and am pretty good with foreign accents.  I can speak broken Portuguese and broken French and have been able to communicate with all sorts of people from all sorts of countries.  I was even able to translate an Iranian physician's dictated notes when nobody else in the office could understand him even when they were speaking to him face-to-face.  But this Kaiser person was totally unable to be understood -- and this was the first contact and the barrier between patients and their doctors!

This whole thing with my widget purchase was solved very quickly and efficiently by a woman who understood what "confirmation e-mail" meant, where the two "customer service" people from the country south of the border did not.  What should have taken 5 minutes took me 30 and left me very angry and frustrated.

I just seems like really bad business practice to me. But then, businesses as a general rule don't give a shit about customers any more anyway, so why am I surprised?


I made a lemon meringue pie


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