Monday, July 28, 2008

A Taste of India

An online Pasadena Newspaper posted a craigslist ad looking for reporters to cover most of their local city government and political reporting for the city of Pasadena, CA. Nice enough ad, yes? Apparently, the owners of believe it's going to sound nicer coming from Bangledesh, India, which is where the ad was placed.

Who are they kidding? How the hell is someone that is continents, timezones, and anything else in between supposed to cover politically charged events as well as other miscellaneous street beats from the country of India? And forget anyone international. I can't cover anything from Dallas, Texas when I live out here in California? How much of a trusted source would I be? How detached will everything feel for the local consumer?

And as for the international reporters, exactly what time are they going to make their calls to the local gub-ment and when do they expect return phone calls? I can't count how many times I've been deflated when I've had to make a service call and I know that it's being routed to another international location. I guess we shouldn't be surprised, considering that most of our computer troubleshooting (including parts and supplies), cable TV technical support, and other miscellaneous functions are, too, part of the India outsourcing phenomenon. Now, I'm not some North American Flag Waving Made In the USA type of chick, I just don't understand how customer service can excel when call center operations are not based on or near a headquarters where an escalation, if necessary, can, and should occur, under certain circumstances.

I know it's not just me, who feels totally disconnected when speaking to a representative whose voice (not the dialect, the sound quality) has got that Roger/Zapp (R.I.P.) thing going on. There have been a few times where I have called in for my high speed internet support and they have subsequently told me that my service was disconnected, (when actually, it only needed a reset). It's oddly disquieting to feel like the person on the other end of the line doesn't know what they are talking about, and feel like they don't care, yet, they speak almost impeccable English (even with the accent), and generally do answer your questions. However, there is always a lingering feeling that they didn't quite get the question that you were asking them, and that you might be in for a long term conversation to boot. I also, on a very regular basis, get the distinct feeling that I am in a two to three second time delay in getting my questions answers, no doubt due to the speed of sound traveling literally across the country, which also perpetuates my deep fear that I am giving my personal information to someone who is going to take the money (little that is) and run.

Am I the only one?
Does outsourcing creep you out?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Living in the Matrix

I am a broke philanthropist.

I am a firm believer of giving. Always have been. Of recent, I have been inspired by Shaq and his desire to bail homeowners out of their mortgage crisis. Though I have my own theories about the adjustable rates and interest only loans, I do believe that his heart is in the right place. He is always thinking of others. Even in his adopted town of Los Angeles, he does his Shaq-A-Claus events, where he gives away hundreds of thousands of clothes and food for those that need it.

Most people, rich or poor, do not feel or believe in that.

When I was a child, before my parents separated, my father was good on that. He is an extremely observant and intuitive man who has a knack for identifying a need. There was MANY a day where my brother's friends would come over, and he would all of a sudden take off for hours with the boys, and then everyone would come back with a new pair of kicks (friends included). I believe, this is where I get my generosity from.

Generosity doesn't mean being a sucka. This is not about this conversation. But it does mean, that most people are in a position to alter the course of some one's life, by a simple gift in kind. Money is relative. Fifty dollars is a fortune to someone struggling.

But, alas again, most people are concerned about 'me and mine'. But that's not how life is. And for people that may say that my unmarried, childless self will feel different when my circumstances change, I say.

That's a dayum lie. Do you know how many miserable, unhappy married folks I know (as well as single). So that isn't a predictor for joy, so save that for the folks that take the blue pill.

Granted, you shouldn't be concerned about others if you're barely getting by yourself, but generally speaking most people at some point, have a surplus in their lives where they can help. And, it's not always about MONEY. If you don't have the tools financially to support someone, use other skills: Be a companion, a confidant. Use your skills (creative or otherwise), to give someone that shot in the arm that they desperately need. Use your love, or time, or support, or communicating. You may have a resource for someone, if in fact, you are not in a position to help in any way. That's call connecting. That's creating a support system.

There is a difference between a handout and a helping hand. And everyone needs that. In our Western Civilization and culture, we are not trained to develop our minds like such; being in the mode of giving, and creating your own communities to become interdependent upon each other. In doing so, we create a strong hand where all of us can utilize each others resources. The Mormons do it all the time. As Don Cornelius says, you can bet your bottom dollar that you will NEVER see a broke Mormon.

What about us? We have the ability and opportunity to do it ourselves. This is what creates your true family and community. What good is our lives and what we have lived to obtain (i.e., the AmeriKKKan dream), if we don't pay it forward, and use our resources to build others lives, as well as OURS.

Otherwise, we take the blue pill and are living in the Matrix. Going back and forth in our routines, making sure that we are set, that WE are okay, and that WE have what we need. And everybody else, well, just get in where you fit in.

Take the red pill.

Question for the day: If you had an abundance of resources (Time, Money, etc.), where/who would you give to?