Tuesday, August 7, 2007

1-Oh-1 your order is done

"Order 1-oh-1 your order's done," the matronly woman said with pep.

"104...wait no more," she declared in her standard-issue Portillo's uniform.

Sean answered the phone after I waited on hold listening to the soothing sounds of mechanical pre-recorded voices. He didn't sound like a Sean to me. His accent was heavy but he spoke English well. "Sean" was providing tech support for Internet service. If I were a betting man I would bet he was far away from the states.

Apparently we have outsourced more than just tech support. We have outsourced the demoralizing of our dignity to work. This man shouldn't have to Americanize his name to somehow please the American customers calling. I am not really sure if I want tech support from a Jimmy or Billy-Joe to help me "get 'er done."

When I worked retail I was often urged to "push" the extended warranty. The carrot they dangled in front of my nose was often a Snickers bar. They knew my weakness. I'd do near anything for that heavenly treat even sell needless protection plans. I also had to urge customers to put down a deposit on the latest Disney movie or video game release. I recall one of the summer's I challenged one of the female workers to a contest to see who could sell more. She worked later than I did but I felt I had a sizable lead. On my way out to my car I left a little note on her windshield (if that doesn't creep someone out I don't know what does). "You'll never beat me" or something similar was scribbled on a small piece of paper tucked under her windshield wiper. I later found out I had out-sold her.

During Christmas time we would have to ask customers about donating to charity. No one ever likes being asked questions at checkout. If they do they are probably the type of person that will leave a note tucked under your windshield wiper just to creep you out. Even the requisite "paper or plastic?" is annoying. "Yes, I found everything okay and no I don't need help out." A professor of mine cited a study that when we don't get asked these questions we feel like something is missing from our shopping experience.

Most of us have had to do something we didn't necessarily want to because it was part of our job whether it be convincing someone to buy an extended protection plan, urging callers to sign-up for a one-race challenge or denying our given name to attempt to convince the person on the other end that we weren't in a land far away.

My hope in my job hunt is that I'll find something where the list of current and future job responsibilities outweighs the required tasks that require me to "suck it up" and do what is asked of me.