Call Center Purgatory <$BlogRSDURL$>
Call Center Purgatory
Saturday, May 06, 2006
  Gas Prices, The Bottom Line, and Right and Wrong

There's nothing going on at the call center I really want to talk about today. Same old, same old. But I saw something on TV last week that I have been thinking about for some time.

I saw a reporter on TV interviewing an executive from one of the oil companies. The reporter asked him about their record profits, to which he admitted that his company was were doing better than it ever had before. The reporter then asked him the question we all wanted him to ask:

"Would you lower prices temporarily since you are doing so well?"

Without missing a beat, or taking a millisecond to think about it, he said:

"Oh no, we couldn't do that. We're in the business to make money. My stockholders wouldn't stand for that."

I turned it off after that and thought about his answer. I'm not an idiot, I know he needs to make money, be profitable. Needs to stay competitive in a global marketplace. All those hackneyed phrases that I hear on MSNBC, or on Marketplace. All those phrases that business people always utter when they are making the "hard decisions". But I really don't buy the whole package any more.

How does he know his stockholders wouldn't stand for it? Maybe that's because he's a stockholder, and the board is a stock holder, and everyone he knows is a stockholder. There are some of us who would hold onto stocks if we could know that they weren't evil. There are even mutual funds set up for that purpose.

The main thing that struck me was that there is an automatic disconnect between doing things for the good of the world at large and doing things that are good for the corporation. Behind the disconnect is this feeling that being a corporation means that profit always guides decisions, and always determines what is right and wrong. Profit is always right, even if its wrong.

I know there are some of you reading that may be thinking that I'm too simplistic and don't know about the day to day pressures of surviving in the business world. That I don't realize what it took for that oil company to get to this point. You could point out how the production of oil is an incredibly complicated process, spanning so many political, international, scientific and environmental issues that I was just being foolish to break things down to such platitudes.

The world is a complicated place, but some people enjoy making things complicated so that we won't look at things clearly. The oil companies are making bigger profits than they ever have before. They are not suffering. There is more to this world than profit. Our economy may be doing well, but there are still not real increases in wages, if nothing else many people are under-employed. There has never been such a pro-business administration. Hell, it's run by two Texas oil men!

They could lower the prices.

They could take in less than obscene profits for a while.

They could do good, but they won't...

Let's look at it from a different perspective. I heard someone say that the leaders we get are a representation of the people that we are. When Bill Clinton was in office, people said that he represented the slide in moral values of America as a country. I wonder if George Bush represents the slide in our economic values.

We lament the loss of call center jobs and the loss of manufacturing jobs, but we shop at Wal-Mart and Dell computers to get the cheapest goods from China and the cheapest tech support. We, the consumers, trade local jobs, local profits for cheapest prices.

The oil companies may be obsessed with profits to the detriment of the public good, but they aren't alone.

Thanks for reading,


Anonymous Cog

It is difficult for individuals to do the right thing when the government and big business don't lead the way.

That's what unions were about - the voice of the people. I don't know what's happened to the unions in America, but in Australia, John Howard has just brought in legislation which has dealt them a death blow.

Even if a company wants to do the "right thing", it is difficult because if they do anything at all which allows profits to slide, they might go under.

The whole of Western civilisation is suffering from runaway capitalism and nowhere more so than in the US, a so-called Christian country.

We need a revolution, and we won't have one. Hang on tight, because things are not going to get any better, in fact they look like getting a whole lot worse.
Could not have said it better myself.

Thought you might find this amusing...


1. BLAMESTORMING: Sitting around in a group, discussing why a deadline was missed or a project failed, and who was responsible.

2. SEAGULL MANAGER: A manager, who flies in, makes a lot of noise, craps on everything, and then leaves.

3. ASSMOSIS: The process by which some people seem to absorb success and advancement by kissing up to the boss rather than working hard.

4. SALMON DAY: The experience of spending entire day swimming upstream only to get screwed and die in the end.

5. CUBE FARM: An office filled with cubicles

6. PRAIRIE DOGGING: When someone yells or drops something loudly in a cube farm, and people's heads pop up over the walls to see what's going on.

7. MOUSE POTATO: The on-line, wired generation's answer to the couch potato.

8. SITCOMs: Single Income, Two Children, Oppressive Mortgage. What Yuppies were when they have children and one of them stops working to stay home with the kids.

9. STRESS PUPPY: A person who seems to thrive on being stressed out and whiny.

10. SWIPEOUT: An ATM or credit card that has been rendered useless because the magnetic strip is worn away from extensive use.

11. XEROX SUBSIDY: Euphemism for swiping free photocopies from one's workplace.

12. IRRITAINMENT: Entertainment and media spectacles that are annoying but you find yourself unable to stop watching them. The J-Lo and Ben wedding (or not) was a prime example - Michael Jackson, another.

13. PERCUSSIVE MAINTENANCE: The fine art of whacking the crap out of an electronic device to get it to work again.

14. ADMINISPHERE: The rarefied organizational layers beginning just above the rank and file. Decisions that fall from the adminisphere are often profoundly inappropriate or irrelevant to the problems they were designed to solve.

15. 404: Someone who's clueless. From the World Wide Web error message "404 Not Found," meaning that the requested document could not be located.
Thanks Nickee!

Funny stuff.

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Exploring the mind numbing insanity and childish corporate culture of an unknown call center employee.

Purgatory: A place of suffering and torment with an unknown duration. In Roman Catholic Theology-the place where the dead are purified from their sins.

Email:anonymous.cog at

"One must know oneself, if this does not serve to discover truth, it at least serves as a rule of life, and there is nothing better." -Blaise Pascal

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"Wake Up"
By Rage Against The Machine

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