The CSR Diaries: Holding Me Hostage

It's been my observation that as a CSR, people respond to good and bad news the same way: they just won't get off the phone.

"I just don't understand."

Let's say you're a doctor.  A patient who's morbidly obese after years and years of basically abusing his/her body has just died in your OR.  There was nothing you could do.  You make the painful trip down the hall to explain to the family what happened and why.  At least relatives bursts into tears and proclaims, "I just don't understand."

Now, as the doctor, there's this weary voice inside your head which says, They overate junk food for twenty-plus years and never went for a walk.  1 + 1...2.

But no matter which you way you slice it, grieving, disappointed relatives "just don't understand."


Tsk, Tsk

Fine. I give.
The way Joel Ward responded to the racist tweets that would have staggered a lesser man was beautiful.

A hero for less than an hour, Ward, the Washington Capital who on Wednesday defeated the Boston Bruins with his Game 7 goal in overtime, was shown the tweets by a teammate. The messages revealed just how heroes are thought of when (1) you eliminate a high-profile team and (2) you're black.

Yes, hockey's racial makeup had a little something to do with the "That n----- deserves to hang"-laced tweets sent out following the Capitals' victory, as did the fact that the "crime" Ward committed was against a city with such a racially polarized history as Boston's. As bad as this sounds, that comes with the territory.


Another case in point

(Thanks, New Black Woman!)

PAULDING COUNTY, Ga. - Residents are upset about a sign in Paulding County that uses a racial slur to refer to President Barack Obama.

The sign, in front of the Georgia Peach Oyster Bar on Highway 113, uses the n-word to refer to President Obama.

“This world is supposed to be a peaceful world, not a world with hatred. This shouldn't be here today,” said Carl Norman.

“He needs to wake up and realize it's 2012,” said Dexter Murr.


....and yet they wonder why POC emigrate

(Thanks, Womanist Musings!)

So my last post was about how POC across the Western world are packing their backs and returning to their countries of origin, and the resulting indignation of Americans. Then Womanist Musings posted something which seemed harmonize perfectly with that post.

First, the original article:
"Many people believe that race is no longer a significant issue in the United States," says Sarah Rusche, a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at NC State and co-author of a paper describing the study. "But the fact that a third of servers admit to varying their quality of service based on customers' race, often giving African-Americans inferior service, shows that race continues to be an issue in our society."

Researchers wanted to determine the extent to which customers' race affects the way they are treated at restaurants, so the researchers surveyed 200 servers at 18 full-service chain restaurants in central North Carolina. The majority of the servers surveyed – approximately 86 percent – were white.

Survey results showed that 38.5 percent of servers reported that customers' race informed their level of service at least some of the time, often resulting in providing inferior service to African-American customers. Findings show that many servers perceive African-American customers to be impolite and/or poor tippers, suggesting that black patrons, in particular, are likely targets of servers' self-professed discriminatory actions.


Emigration: Called It!!!

(Thanks, Julie!)

And so it continues - called it!

By the way, keep in mind that while the following article focuses primarily on Asians, Africans are experiencing the same thing.  In fact, the BBC has devoted an entire series to the "African Dream".

And now, it's with great glee that I present this article from the New York Times:
Samir N. Kapadia seemed to be on the rise in Washington, moving from an internship on Capitol Hill to jobs at a major foundation and a consulting firm. Yet his days, he felt, had become routine.

By contrast, friends and relatives in India, his native country, were telling him about their lives in that newly surging nation. One was creating an e-commerce business, another a public relations company, still others a magazine, a business incubator and a gossip and events Web site.

“I’d sit there on Facebook and on the phone and hear about them starting all these companies and doing all these dynamic things,” recalled Mr. Kapadia, 25, who was born in India but grew up in the United States. “And I started feeling that my 9-to-5 wasn’t good enough anymore.”

Last year, he quit his job and moved to Mumbai.

In growing numbers, experts say, highly educated children of immigrants to the United States are uprooting themselves and moving to their ancestral countries. They are embracing homelands that their parents once spurned but that are now economic powers.


The CSR Diaries: Office Evaluations

Neo-Prodigy returns.


The following job evaluation is one I wrote for my old call center job a few years back. Even after getting the memo, things got worse. Suffice it say, I gave those bastards my walking papers and kept it moving.

Dear Office,

As we close in on our one year anniversary, it pains me to say that you have been fucking up something fierce.

Do you see Ben's face? Ben is very disappointed. He's not happy that I'm so upset. And while I could forgive the fact that you're willfully obtuse over the fact that this is arguably one of the most demoralizing soul-sucking jobs ever created, your entitled asses expecting me to drink from your kool-aid is too much to bear.

However, all is not lost. Here are some steps YOU can take to make the work atmosphere almost more tolerable, or at the bare minimum will help me reconsider bringing the 12-gauge to work.


Gays of TVD, a guest post

Neo-Prodigy and I agree Season 3 should be the last for TVD.  This week's ep didn't even include/mention Bonnie, and had no other Negroes to speak of.  In fact, it sucked so much I wondered why they even bothered.

So let’s talk about The Vampire Diaries and another reason why it fails.

Now our beloved bartender took one for the team when she did a most thorough analysis on the RACIST FUCKERY treatment of the characters of color on the show.  Inspired by her example, I offered to do an analysis on the treatment of the gays who have been featured on the show. Yes all two of them.

The verdict: the homophobia just might be able to give the epic racefail a run for its money.

In hindsight, I suppose I shouldn’t be shocked at how poorly handled the LGBTQs are in this show.

After all, in the pilot episode Caroline casually uses a transphobic slur. What’s interesting is that while Misadventures of an Awkward Black Girl got taken to task (and rightfully so) for doing the same thing, white social justice blowhards were conveniently silent when the Vampire Diaries engaged in the very same fail.

Hypocrisy much?


Blog Pimpage

So there are some blogs out there which I feel aren't getting nearly enough love and attention.  I try to promote them on my Facebook and I try to interview some of the writers themselves, but I feel as though I could do some more.

Hence...Blog Pimpage.


Not so funny story.  A few weeks back some white troll came onto the Blasian Narrative telling I shouldn't write stupid posts about Native Americans being invisible on The Vampire Diaries because the Native Americans she knew just loved the show and their glaring invisibility clearly wasn't a problem.  Unbeknownst to her - and most folks who read the post - 'twas a young gentleman of darker tint who requested I write the post in the first place 'cause, you know...the invisibility of Native Americans clearly is a problem.

Which is why I'm such a huge fan of Cecelia LaPointe.


*Crickets* and the Chime

I've noticed that whenever we have a situation resembling the likes of Trayvon Martin, white folks not only play the Racist Card, but the Media Card.

In other words, instead of focusing on the act of an admitted killer, they shift the subject to whether or not he/she is really racist, and then they go to war with the media.  They're not even remotely concerned with the slaying of an innocent person of color, nor the impact of their death on his or her family and community; that's hastily referenced in the hollow "our prayers go out to their family" bullshit.  Meanwhile, the impassioned analyses and criticisms are leveled at the "liberal media"and "Faux News", all the while whining about the imaginary white plight.

Or another example: Hilary Rosen rightfully pointed out Ann Romney's class privilege, which an overwhelming majority of her husband's supporters simply do.not.have, and suddenly Democratic women were branded as uppity, cold-hearted, career-obsessed, child-hating bitches. When President Obama stated he preferred that candidates' spouses be left out of political debates and discussions, Field Negro aptly pointed out that the President ought to check out what certain folks have been saying about his wife.

And anyone who's paid even the slightest bit of attention over the past four years has noted the stark, deafening sound of *crickets* from white folks whenever Michelle OBama is attacked for no damn reason.


The CSR Diaries: The Business of Strangers

Neo-Prodigy drew first blood in this series when he wrote:
You may want to be careful about using a CSR as a punching bag, especially if you're required to give them your physical address and your credit card information to complete a transaction in that same call.

It's basically the same as going out on the street cussing someone out and then handing them your name, home address and your bank information.
I feel this is a more than appropriate opening for a post about something which has always bugged me about being a CSR. Most folks who call customer service always conveniently forget they are talking to complete strangers.


Liar, Liar

Field Negro finds all the best stuff:
Among the attributes I most envy in a public man (or woman) is the ability to lie. If that ability is coupled with no sense of humor, you have the sort of man who can be a successful football coach, a CEO or, when you come right down to it, a presidential candidate. Such a man is Mitt Romney.

Time and time again, Romney has been called a liar during this campaign. (The various fact-checking organizations have had to work overtime on him alone.) A significant moment, sure to surface in the general election campaign, came during a debate held in New Hampshire in January. David Gregory, the host of “Meet the Press,” turned to Newt Gingrich and said, “You have agreed with the characterization that Governor Romney is a liar. Look at him now. Do you stand by that claim?”

Gingrich did not flinch. “Sure, governor,” he started off, and then accused Romney of running ads that were not true and, moreover, pretending he knew nothing about them. “It is your millionaire friends giving to the PAC. And you know some of the ads aren’t true. Just say that straightforward.”

Me, I would have confessed and begged for forgiveness. Not Romney, though — and herein is the reason he will be such a formidable general-election candidate. He concedes nothing. He had seen none of the ads, he said. They were done by others, he added. Of course, they are his supporters, but he had no control over them.All this time he was saying this rubbish, he seemed calm, sincere — matter of fact.


Hey, Nikita....Niiiiiiiice

Apparently I missed the latest ep of Nikita, so I got caught up last night on Hulu. Nice job, writers!!!

I'm still a huge fan of Amanda.  Even though she took over Division, I felt as though we weren't seeing nearly enough of her.  She's always been a bit of a mystery to me.  We know who she is and what she does, but we're not entirely sure how and why.  For all the Nikita fans here at the bar...have any of you ever really wondered about how Amanda got this way and if anyone's ever truly mattered to her?

For example, I don't think she was as close to Percy as the writers would have us believe.  For heavens' sake, she was all for killing the man, and without hesitation.  And I think as soon as Ari Tasarov ceases being useful to her, his body is going to turn up in a river or dumpster somewhere.  So  whatever she affectionately said to or about these men, I wasn't inclined to believe it.

But when she huskily confessed to Nikita, "You broke my heart", I bought it hook, line, and sinker.


The Other Hilary

Fuck it; Hilary Rosen, the bar has your back.
When Democratic activist Hilary Rosen dissed Ann Romney Wednesday, saying she has “never worked a day in her life,” the president, first lady, and countless other Democrats swooped in and condemned the slam on the wife of presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney. Ms. Rosen apologized for her “poorly chosen” words.

...With one off-hand comment –suggesting that Mrs. Romney can’t understand women’s struggles because she hasn’t worked outside the home – Rosen handed a gift to Mr. Romney right when he needed it.

The Romney campaign has followed with a fundraising e-mail titled “War on Moms.” It says: "If you're a stay-at-home mom, the Democrats have a message for you: You've never worked a day in your life."

According to the latest census data, about 1 in 4 women with children under 15 is not working outside the home. That is a significant voting bloc – and most aren’t wealthy like Ann Romney. Mrs. Romney herself noted on Thursday that she has had struggles of her own, particularly with her health.

In addition, Mrs. Romney has carved out an image as an appealing surrogate for her husband, complete with stories about how exhausting it was to raise five boys. Polls show her favorability rating far exceeds her negatives.

So for Obama, the Rosen comment created a PR emergency on multiple levels: She had disrespected a big voting bloc and had gone after a candidate’s wife. Team Obama pushed the panic button.

~ Linda Feldman, Christian Science Monitor
Where the Democrats are concerned, Rosen's timing may have sucked, but I still see where she's coming from.


Like I was saying about "Countable Negroes".....


Playing the Friendship Card: White Lies, White Denial and the Reality of Racism

Tim Wise

I swear, if I hear one more transparently racist person insist they aren’t racist because they have black friends, I am going to shoot them. But not because I’m violent. I’m not violent. And this I know because I have friends who are pacifists.

Yes, this is a joke, but seriously, it’s getting just about that stupid, and not simply because George Zimmerman’s “black friend” swears he’s not racist (and that that whole “coon” thing he said about Trayvon Martin before he shot him was really “goon,” and that it was meant as a term of endearment, natch). Much more, it seems that everyone who ever says or does something blatantly racist to a black person is quick to wrap themselves in the cloak of their multicolored affinity networks, as if this provided the perfect inoculation against the charge that they were anything less than purely enlightened.
I’d like to think it’s because we’ve made progress — that this feigned ecumenism was the result of a real and abiding shame at the recognition of one’s biases, and the concomitant desire to front so as to maintain one’s own sense of decency. But sadly, I think it has nothing to do with any such societal evolution. Rather, it’s just a bunch of phony twaddle spread by those who are too stupid to know what racism is, or, alternately, so cunning as to hope that the rest of us are.
I mean really now, when even Daryl Dedmon (who ran over James Anderson in Mississippi a few months ago, after saying he wanted to “fuck with some niggers”), has friends who insist with straight faces that he’s not racist, and point to a couple of black associates as proof, you know that the black buddy defense is about as solid as goose shit and smells nearly as bad.


The CSR Diaries: Cause and Effect

My turn.

In the introduction to this little series, I mentioned that customer service centers - no matter how posh and high end they are (like mine) - are not set up so that consumers can call all the time just 'cause.

Let me put it like this: if you are not an agent, independent contracter, or business professional of any kind, and consulting customer service on a daily basis is not part of your job, then you - as a customer - are expected to call maybe once or twice a year to resolve an extraordinary issue, and then go on with your life...assuming you have one.

Now, just to clarify:
  1. A bill being due is not an extraordinary issue.
  2. A late fee is not an extraordinary issue.
  3. A service charge is not an extraordinary issue.
Times are hard for everyone, companies included.  Believe it or not, just as anything that's $1.00 or over is a big deal to you, it's a big deal to companies.  Because when millions of people call in to have fees and charges taken off, it all adds up.  When I worked for a cell phone company earlier this year, they released a horrifying statistic to all the employees, reporting that in 2011, over $35 million were refunded to customers who didn't want to pay for their downloads and ringtone subscriptions.


At the Bar with Cecelia LaPointe

Readers may recognize Cecelia LaPointe as blogger Anishinaabekwe and fellow bar patron, know for her soulful, haunting writing style and up-to-date posts on Native American news. It was a great honor to complete this interview with her.

You’ve commented at the bar a few times, and some of the readers know who you are and visit your blog.  But we get new patrons all the time, so tell us a few things about yourself.

I am a proud Anishinaabekwe of mixed heritage and I strongly identify with my Ojibway/Anishinaabe roots.  As an Anishinaabekwe I have a huge responsibility to the Great Lakes, water and land as a “keeper of the water.”  I am a jingle dress dancer which is a healing dance.  I identify as gender non-conforming and Two Spirit.

I am an author, poet, writer, and healer.  I am a lifelong activist.  Prior generations paved the path of activism in my family and this includes a union organizer, civil rights activist, and being raised in a union blue collar home.  My activism started at age twelve when I spoke out against gentrification in my hometown at city commission meetings.  Currently my activism spans Native American rights, preserving Anishinaabemowin (the Ojibway language), women’s rights (specifically Native American women’s rights), and GLBTQ rights.  I have participated in peace walks, take back the night walks and mobilized others in get out the vote in the 2008 Presidential election on reservations in rural South Dakota.  Personally I believe that there is always a way to “take action” whether it is advocating for yourself, attending a rally, signing petitions or calling your representatives.

In my leisure I enjoy running, hiking in the Michigan forests, writing poetry, reading, and drinking tea. 


Sound familiar?

From Reuters:
"Shaken Baby Syndrome" was cited on Friday in the defense of George Zimmerman, the Sanford, Florida, man who shot and killed unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, in a case that has sparked a widespread public outcry.

Hal Uhrig, a lawyer and former Gainesville, Florida, police officer who recently joined Zimmerman's defense team, cited in a TV interview the brain damage that can seriously injure or kill an infant.

His point, which has been made before, was that Zimmerman contends he shot Martin in self defense and feared for his life after the 17-year-old attacked him and began pounding his head into the concrete pavement of a gated community on a rainy evening in Sanford on February 26.

But Uhrig's choice of words, and use of a recognized sign of child abuse to defend a 28-year-old man who killed a kid, seemed likely to raise more than just a few eyebrows.

"We're familiar with the Shaken Baby Syndrome," said Uhrig on the CBS This Morning program. "You shake a baby, the brain shakes around inside the skull. You can die when someone's pounding your head into the ground."

Apart from saying his client suffered a broken nose, Uhrig did not elaborate on the extent of any injuries Zimmerman actually suffered. But characteristic injuries associated with SBS, as Shaken Baby Syndrome is known, include bleeding in the brain. There are often no visible external signs such injuries have occurred.


Count the Fail

(Courtesy of Bcbgrl33...in case you want someone to thank for unleashing this upon us.)


The CSR Diaries: It'll Cost You

Neo-Prodigy draws first blood.


Before you call in to abuse customer service reps who have been nothing but respectful to you— and to be clear, I'm not talking about calling in and being pissed off over a legitimate situation—I'm talking about customers who go out of their way to be an ass to the reps, cussing them out and abusing them because they think they can get away with it; here's something you may want to consider.

You may want to be careful about using a CSR as a punching bag, especially if you're required to give them your physical address and your credit card information to complete a transaction in that same call.

It's basically the same as going out on the street cussing someone out and then handing them your name, home address and your bank information.

Not the smartest move you could make. And this is EXACTLY how fools get got!!!!!


Intro to the Customer Service Diaries: The Cubicle Plantation

So Neo-Prodigy and I spoke over the weekend and I invited him to do the CSR Diaries with me.  We're both reps for insurance companies and we wanted to do occasional rants (some humorous, some not) about life in the biz.  If I recall correctly, some patrons here at the bar are also CSRs, so feel to free to contact me if you ever want to do a rant about a particular call or other experience you've had.

Now, before we get started on the Diaries, I need to lay down a few ground issues about being a CSR, because apparently the American public ain't got a clue.  For the record, whenever you call in to talk to a CSR, always remember that you are speaking with an underling.  If you ask to speak with a supervisor or manager or whoever, understand that they too are yet another underling.

In case there's any confusion so far, the keyword in the preceeding paragraph is underling.


Say it with me, kids, "Formalized. White. Supremacy."

"There are dreadful punishments enacted against thieves, but it were much better to make such good provisions by which every man might be put in a method how to live, and so be preserved from the fatal necessity of stealing and of dying for it.

"...If you do not find a remedy to these evils, it is a vain thing to boast of your severity in punishing theft, which though it may have the appearance of justice, yet in itself is neither just nor convenient."

~ Sir Thomas More, Utopia (1516)
Say it with me, kids:  Formalized.  White.  Supremacy.

White folks in particular are really trying to claw away from this concept and all the evil it has wrought upon the world.  In their minds, Black men dying in the ghetto at the hands of other Black men has nothing to with anything related to white people...at all.