I wrote here a bit about having a lot of computer issues over the past week or so. I needed some time to think about one element of it though. To solve the problems, I had to call Earthlink multiple times to get the dial-up established. It's a temporary measure - for more reasons than one.
My call was forwarded, of course, to a call center in Chennai, India. The people were certainly nice and tried to be helpful but that' s not the point of this post.
The point can be summarized in this short sentence: Shame on Earthlink!
The call center is not just a call center. It is Office Tigers which is an American corporation that hires hundreds of young Indian men and women to provide telephone support to American customers.
The first thing that happens to these young people is that they are stripped of their names. Raj and Praya become Spencer and Jessica. It is a condition of employment.
They are not allowed to wear their native clothing. Instead, they have to adopt western business dress. The men wear slacks, white shirts and ties. The women have a bit more latitude but they are still discouraged from wearing saris.
They have "pump 'em up" meetings, pushing American corporate values of efficiency and profit uber alles. Again, attending the meetings is a job requirement.
Being who I am, I can't keep my mouth shut. While talking with one technical support person, I told her that I was aware that she couldn't respond to my comments but to please listen.
I said, "Don't let them take what's yours". I told her that I know India is a beautiful country with a wonderful, deep and rich culture. I asked her to not lose herself in that job. Enough said.
She was silent for perhaps 15 seconds or so. She said, "You are the first American who has ever said that."
I told her about having seen the documentary and that I was very aware of the practices of Office Tigers. I also told her that cultural respect is something important to me.
She helped me solve the problem I was having and we hung up. But I know I made an impression.
I think it's extremely socially irresponsible of Earthlink and other companies that are using a service that strips human beings of their names, their customs and their culture.
Shame on you, Earthlink!
I'm not happy about being an Earthlink customer right now. As soon as I can get something else, I'll dump it like yesterday's garbage.
Maybe it's time to start speaking up about this kind of thing. Most of us are annoyed when we reach a foreign country for customer support and technical services but it goes a bit deeper than that. The people are being treated like chattel. They are being treated like property, as though their sole purpose in existence is to be pleasing to their American overlords.
That's not acceptable in this day and age.
And another thought: Don't Americans need those jobs?
While I don't usually support the idea of boycotts, I do in this case. Earthlink and all the rest of them need to lose their customers until they bring the jobs back to the US ~ and at the very minimum, boycott Office Tiger!