Yesterday I tried to make a reservation for a hotel room. Companies make it extremely difficult to call the hotel itself. Chains have "800" numbers. I understand the corporations want to keep down overhead, but the "800" operator usually does not know the specifics of a hotel. For example, earlier I booked a "river view" room in Evansville and, upon arrival, the desk person told me the king-size smoking "river view" room only technically had a "river view." I had the room assignment changed.
Yesterday sojourn began with a call to an internet security company because there appeared to be a bug in my computer. (Later I scrubbed it and all was well.) "Robert" told me I needed to buy an upgrade because it appeared (without his having any information other than my complaint about the relatively slow speed of my 2007 computer) that his company’s program had been corrupted.
"How much is the upgrade?" I asked.
"One hundred ninety-nine dollars," he replied.
"But I bought your company’s product to prevent things getting into my computer and corrupting it. Your own program became corrupted and you say I need to pay more money to have the defect fixed?"
"Yes, sir. The upgrade will resolve all of the problems you have experienced."
I asked him the locale of his call center. He was in India.
There was a brief, and (on my side surprisingly) polite exchange. I hung up, ran a full scan, and all was fine. I did not buy the upgrade. (Although I did get an excellent deal on investment in a Nigerian oil company.)
Later, I sought to make that hotel reservation. I began with Travelocity. The accent of "Eric" was very similar to that of "Robert." He asked me how the weather was in Indianapolis. I said fine, we would be in the seventies. He informed me that was impossible. "It only will be 30 degrees here today." I asked him the place from which he now spoke. "New Delhi," he replied. "It will only be 30 to 35 degrees today."
I hung up.
In India, people express temperature in terms of Celsius, not Fahrenheit. That was not what made me hang up.
The United States has outsourced a lot of jobs. We should not outsource. We need jobs here. Therefore I will boycott companies that ship their customer service jobs overseas. In India there is a "35+10" rule. That means that when an Indian deals with an American who is 35 years of age, she or he should treat the American as a ten-year-old, as that is the mental age of most Americans who are 35.
Having one talk down to a customer is wrong at the outset. I am a "customer." If someone is going to be disrespectful to me, at least the person should be from the United States. That way, if I get really impatient, the person will know what I mean if I say "GFY." Or maybe the person would know. They are, after all, mentally advanced over us.
So, on a serious note, I will start a list and post it on this website. Please boycott companies who have outsourced their customer service jobs. I have chosen that category because it is the one with which I have the most contact. If you have a list of other companies, or a link to such a list, please let me know.
In the meantime: boycott these companies.