Speaking of cultural exchanges, I think it’s very, very bad for global relations that the only interactions that most Americans and Indians have with each other is via tech support call centers.
I say this after having spent far too much of my time (though Jamie and our downstairs computer guru Calvin spent even more of theirs) on the phone with Verizon’s minions trying to set up our new DSL at work. I’ll spare you the details, partly because I don’t even understand them—basically there is an evil spirit trapped in our modem. Said details required us to call Verizon many times. Each time we had to jump through five or six of the same please-provide-a-phone-number-in-case-we-get-disconnected hoops, a tactic that could ultimately lead to insanity. After stepping politely through the hoops each time, we would be given roundabout instructions that inevitably didn’t help, and we would be forced to call again.
And after a while, one wants to grab one of the hoops and strangle someone with it.
But I don’t want the nice Indian men I spoke with to think that Americans are all about strangling people, and I don’t want Americans to think that Indians are morons. Because the truth is, Verizon sucks. Verizon has a monopoly on the DSL biz in our area, meaning there’s no pressure to provide superior service, and Verizon refuses to pay for tech savvy employees or to pay for training of the non-savvy.
My new goal (besides avoiding Verizon altogether) will be to get one of the call center dudes to admit—during those long, awkward silences as he wades through my account info—that he hates Verizon. They monitor the calls, but maybe we could speak in some sort of code.
I’ll say, “Hey, you know that ‘other’ tech/communications company, ‘Horizon’? They sure don’t treat their employees or customers very well, do they?”
And he’ll say, “Yes, ‘Horizon’ blows. It certainly would be unfortunate if a disgruntled employee played a variety of predictable yet highly annoying pranks on them, wouldn’t it?”
I’ll agree that that would be unfortunate indeed, and we’ll have a moment of international bonding.