Tales of Idiocy and Woe...But Now I'm CRAZY in California!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Duh Duh Duh...

...Another one rings the gong! Awe Yeah! Every now and then in the computer business, you get a customer who rises above the foaming masses of proletariat with a comment or conversation that is so asinine, you find yourself searching the perimeter for hidden cameras. Today, I encountered the turd in the waterpipe.

Now, if one searches on the web for around 45 seconds, or if one keeps tabs on technology at all, it’s not exactly news to know that certain companies are farming out call center work to India. Several large companies have their ‘1-800’ numbers wired straight to Calcutta, so to speak. The reason for this international relocation, of course, is that wages and working conditions in India, among other nations, borderline on being reminiscent of the dark ages. One doesn’t have to search far to hear stories of people getting paid a dollar a day, or companies hiring children, or having hundreds of people stuffed in a warehouse to answer phones in a building with inadequate ventilation (among other, significantly more important problems).

Today, a customer actually told me that “I don’t believe that for a second” when I made a passing comment on international call center support. He then proceeded to question me snarkily, saying “Do you really think that those companies would waste the money of doing that? That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard! Why would a North American Company hire people in another nation, on the other side of the world, to do the work that they could equally do here?”

I wanted to say “Well, paying 1 person $14 and hour is good, but paying 14 people $1 a day is better and saves the company $13.875 per hour on hourly wages, which is $111 per day per person. For the sake of numbers, let’s pretend that there are 200 people in a call center. That’s $22,200 per day that the company saves by farming out work internationally. Then, assuming that people in India don’t have the same Christian Holidays that we have (and consequently the call center can operate 365 a year), the company will save $8,103,000 per year on wages alone, never mind building costs, property taxes, health care, union costs, etc. So, they’re most likely doing it for the money, which seems to be the driving force behind all decisions in business. But I’m just guessing here.”

Instead of answering him though, I just changed topics. Amazingly, he didn’t buy anything at my store. Not because he didn’t find something worth buying, but because I walked him. I have a personal policy in my shop. I sell to n00bs, fools and whiners but I don’t sell to know-it-all-idiots…because know-it-all-idiots come back with problems that only know-it-all-idiots seem to have. They screw around with their system and start fooling with their registry keys or core system files (because they think they have a clue what they’re doing) and it always costs money to fix, which they are never excited to pay because they always could’ve fixed it themselves if only we’d told them what was wrong. Well, I hope he enjoys his bliss. Until Next Time,

The Armchair Tele-technician


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