Sunday, November 6, 2011

We are not the same, I am a Martian

This post has been brought to you by the three mugs of Bud Light I had while writing it at Thunder Jackson’s on Bleecker Street and Sullivan Street near Washington Square Park. Thunder Jackson’s is currently a Halloween-themed bar playing a trance remix of “Missing” by Everything But The Girl. Fake spider webs are strewn across NYC train signs, chalkboards advertise cheap beer specials, pillars holding the building up have a million stickers advertising local bands and artists, and the scrawny bar hostess is promoting her own cleavage. I think, as I write this, I will tell you what song the hostess is blasting each time a new one comes on, just to try to bring the atmosphere to you and also because I fu%#ing feel like it [now Guns’ N’ Roses -- “Sweet Child O’ Mine” is playing].

 Ah………the disappearance of The Clandestine Samurai. Let’s see…..when I was last here to push my values on you, I was discussing the mockery and satire of the Mathema-Christian, what kind of video games people should really be blaming real-life violence for, and the Near Government Shutdown by selfish Republicans. Then, like Keyser Söze, poof……..I was gone. I’ll tell ye where I bloody went: after 10 months of unemployment (starting in August) from being laid off by this old, cheap and idiotic Jazz Museum owner who ended up not being able to afford the salary he offered me, I was finally hired by an appliance warehouse located at a 30-mins. train ride South from my home [“Creep” by Radiohead]. I was hired as a Customer Service Representative (a position I’ve been doing for years) in May, and on the day I found out I was ecstatic. I celebrated over some beers with a pastor at my church at a pub in Chelsea and then headed home to watch SpongeBob before rejoining the labor force. The next week I showed up at my scheduled time, ready to learn, administrate, problem-solve and conquer. Two weeks after I started, I ran head first into the cold, disillusioning truth that the search for a new job had not ended at all [Heart-Shaped Box” by Nirvana, which features one of my all-time favorite lyrics: “I wish I could eat your cancer*”]. If anything, it became more desperate.

I was placed in a seat and told to stay there at all times, answer the phones (there’s literally an incoming call at least every 6 seconds) and help customers. This demand came with no training on how this company wants its employees to conduct themselves with clients, no stable source of information about the products I’m supposed to help these customers with, and no education on company policy [“Roxanne” by Sting]. Just a seat amidst the most immature and insipid group of people I have ever had the chance to encounter. A customer will call me with any number of questions, ranging from “Do you have the compressor for this model?” to “Where’s the part I ordered 4 months ago that your company told me I’d have in 2 weeks?” to “I need that part that connects to the thermostat but powers the defrost heater and shuts down the Condenser Fan Motor. You got it?” I’m just as equipped to answer these questions as you are [“Seventeen” by Winger, which I find an oddly……inappropriate song]. Everyday, the other employees here are constantly screaming and arguing with customers trying to force them to accept half-baked answers to these questions just to get them off the phone. Where are the managers, you ask?

There are 2. One is an inept, narrow-minded hypocrite who tries to get the company more money by forcing people to accept the items we send them although they are either wrong or defective. The other is a senile, extremely old-fashioned maverick-wannabe who only helps when he wants to (which is never) and is the walking incarnation of a character most religious folk are familiar with [“La Grange” by ZZ Top].

There are other aspects of this hellhole, such as the overly-aggressive, simple-minded Tea Party member; the violent psychopath veteran (by veteran I mean both that he’s been at that company for 8 years, and he was also enlisted in The Army and stationed in South Korea earlier in his life) who does customer service mind you; the dopey, inept secretary whose life has not an iota of recognizable meaning; and 2 technicians, one of which is just as simple-minded and neglectful as the rest of them, and the other one, a selfish, alienating court-jester type who laughs everything off and does not recognize any importance other than his own.

Although it is constantly repeated on the news that there aren’t that many people that can afford to buy food and clothing, much less appliances, right now, this company is flourishing. They’ve started with a handful of employees years ago, and now have a marketing department, a customer service department, a sales department and a bunch of other people that do other crap. It’s obvious this company has zero interest in helping the unwitting clients who make it stay afloat. They have nothing but terrible ratings on and the Better Business Bureau is probably just waiting for permission to send F.B.I. agents busting through the windows at this point. But they’ve been in business for decades and had one of their best sales years in 2010. So now, if for every business relationship made with one client, the customer service team drives 2 other clients away (who then spread the word to other prospective buyers), how is the company generating this success? Obviously something corrupt is afloat. But I digress. All of this is way too much to unpack now [Ready To Go” by Republica].

I’m sure you come across a bunch of people telling you “be grateful you have a job, others are struggling right now”, or “at least you’re not unemployed” just like I do. Or perhaps you are one of these people. If you are, you should look in the mirror and give yourself the middle finger for me. Just because jobs are low in supply right now doesn’t mean it’s ok for me to throw my humanity away just to keep one. If people woke the f@$% up and realized being rational about things would carry us better and much quicker through a recession than being a land of scavengers would, there wouldn’t be things like 99 Percenters protests or elevated rates of crime like there is now. I don’t ask for a lot, but my point is that there are jobs that you can do until something better comes along, and then lower than that are jobs that have to be vacated and replaced with a new one immediately because they are torturous to be at. This job is about 5 levels beneath both of those.

Nah, not really, but it definitely is the 2nd one [Another dance remix of “Missing” by Everything But The Girl].

The title of this post is a reference to a line used extensively in this song.

*Been trying to use this as a pickup line for a new girlfriend. Will let you know when it produces a phone number instead of a look of disgust.

1 comment:

  1. i feel your pain my friend - although i am not of the call centre i work near enough the call centre to know that it can be the epitome of hell, that workers are often treated purely as numbers and that some of those numbers just don't add up - you really should hear some of the nonsense i hear at work. The kind of talk that is so dumb you just can't stop yourself from listening to

    As to "being greatful in this climate to having a job" i think a lot of people, like myself, tend to stay in bad jobs not because they are greatful for those jobs, but more because in the current climate there is so much risk to finding a new one. A lot of my sort of work is being offshored right now, so there are a lot of people clinging desperately to positions they hate because the alternative is they could lose their homes

    BTW - kicking isn't allowed in boxing you know - oh, but it is in kick boxing

    that's the kinda shit i overhear at work. Depressing, huh?


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