A as in Alpha

I consider myself somewhat of a “thinking person”. I have my stances, my convictions, but I am always willing to listen to a dissenting voice. LIke when Androxx told me that recycling was a sham, or when Katsumi explained to me why he “didn’t believe in the equator”. I didnt’ tell Androxx that it was people like him who were ruining the planet for the rest of us, and I didn’t tell Katsumi that he gives the term “idiot savant” a whole new meaning.

But seriously, i have had enough. I’m gonna just stand up on my soapbox and beat down anyone who says I’m wrong.

Outsourcing phone-based customer service is a big, steaming, hairy bag of shit.

So I’m buying tickets on Delta. For work. I’m spending over a thousand dollars. And when I am spending a lot of my boss’ money, I like to purchase my tickets over the phone. (actually, HE likes to purchase them over the phone and has put the fear of God in me about it because OH MY GOD if I bought tickets online and anything ever went wrong, I WOULD NEVER HEAR THE END OF IT.) So I call once to reserve seats and am greeted by a very pleasant woman with a faint accent of some sort. I go through the whole rigmarole of spelling out the names, using key words to illustrate the letter I intend to use, etc, etc, which is quite frankly a HUGE pain in the ass when booking tickets for three people, two of whom have long-ish surnames. I finally finish the last passenger, and the girl is like,

“what is the fourth letter of the first passenger’s name, please?”

(Erinire counts on fingers)

“u as in uncle”

“d as in delta?”

“u as in unicorn”

“l as in lima?”

“U as in YOU.”

“U as in uniform, thank you ma’am”

after a few more such volleys with the remaining passenger names, I gave her my work email, and hung up, exhausted.

The next day, the confirmation email had not arrived. I called again, gave the confirmation number (c as in coma, b as in bored, o as in ohmygodihatethiscrap, the number three, etc) and asked that the itinerary be faxed.

Sure enough, ALL OF OUR NAMES were misspelled. So this morning I call back to change our names, and I am connected to an even more polite gentleman with an even stronger accent. and it’s the same deal.

“u as in uniform”

“a as in alpha?”


“g as in goat?”

And I have written this entire entry while on hold. At regular intervals, the polite little man will pop back on the phone; “thank you very much for your patience, ma’am, I really appreciate your patience. I’m sorry to keep you on hold for so long, I am trying to contact my supervisor. Please stay on the line.” It’s like they have this weird script they have to follow wherein any variation will result in their eternal damnation or expulsion from their “well paying job” where they have to “work all night long” so they’ll be able to “breach the gaping time-change between their country and the US.” I can’t imagine that this is very pleasant for them either.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no issue with helping developing countries, and this has nothing to do with economic politics. I just think that when you are employing customer service professionals to service the english-speaking populous, the customer service professionals should be equipped with a first-language command of english and a solid phone connection.

And i love you, Androxx, even if you don’t believe in recycling. I still want to read that book, whenever you’re finished with it. 🙂

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