January 18th, 2016

#5043: It's f-ing cold outside tonight

Like, -5° cold. Holy crap. Tomorrow is supposed to be "much warmer" but the projected high is 9.

January. Thrillsville.

* * *

Tonight Mrs. Fungus and I watched the first ep of the new season of Hell's Kitchen and--as is typical--it was fertile ground for wisecracks.

There is an asian guy on the show named Alan, and there's another guy who I thought was mexican and Mrs. Fungus thought was also asian.

Result: she thought the two guys nominated to be kicked off the show should be "Alan and the questionable mexican". Then she said, "That'd be a good band name!"

It really would!

ALAN AND THE QUESTIONABLE MEXICANS!

One night only!!

* * *

The "good band name" thing came from here:



Go to about 1:02 for the joke.

* * *

Now it's 2 AM and I'd promised myself I'd go to bed earlier than this. *sigh*

#5044: Guess what? NO!

Today I got to go home early.

Over the past few days people have been sent home early because their efficiency scores--basically the ratio of time spent on the phone to total time on the clock--were too low. The target is 80%; higher than that and you're safe. When call volume drops too far, people who are inefficient cost the company too much money; but until recently, no one got sent home. That changed now that we have a GM who's insistent on turning the center into a paragon of efficiency. (I think he goes a bit too far. More on that another time.)

Anyway, with regards to efficiency, I'm sitting at 90% right now, so I'm fairly immune from being sent home involuntarily. Even so, I volunteered to go home early today, because my wife had an earlier schedule today (because of the bank holiday) and I'm exhausted.

And boy did I get a call from an idiot tonight. Right before I was told I could leave.

The basics: woman goes to store to buy a prepaid phone, but ends up buying a postpaid phone when she already has a phone through her father's account. Woman waits 16 days to call customer service wanting to return the phone and cancel the service, is told that it's outside the return period. Woman waits another two days, then calls again, and I'm the lucky sot that gets to handle her call.

During the course of this call she told me all sorts of sob stories, and a bunch of other stuff which had the distinct stench of pure horseshit. She's worked for Starbucks for 15 years and is a corporate manager so she knows that something can be done about her case. The guys at the store coerced her into buying the phone. There was some situation that kept her from returning the phone two days ago. Blah blah blah.

You're a corporate manager but your daddy pays for your cell phone?

Holy shit--if I try to explain any more of this I think I'll end up stupid. My evaluation of the whole case is that this was a silly girl with daddy issues (she mentioned her father some five or six times) who did something for a stupid reason and now wishes to avoid the negative consequences of her idiocy. Furthermore I don't think she's actually any corporate-level manager with Starbucks; I think she might be a barista or something.

The rules I have to follow are pretty simple: inside the 14 days, you can return the phone, pay the restocking fee, and maybe have to pay some of the charges for use. After 14 days, you own it. I have never--not once--seen any example of an exception for this kind of thing.

Okay, if you're a day after, maybe some kind of exception can be made at the retail level. But not four days later.

And by the way, telling me that you always get what you want? I don't care. Maybe someone higher up the food chain can do it, but there's no one at the call center who can. Maybe if your daddy calls in for you.

Anyway, after that call I'd had just about enough, and was happy to be told I could go home if I wanted.

As for the "paragon" thing: for a few days last week, instant messages ("e-pops") from the new GM kept popping up: "Check on your customers every 30 seconds!" "The expectation is that we check on our customers every 30 seconds! Why isn't this being done?" ("Because it's insane!" I commented, privately.)

Me, upon seeing the first of these: "30 seconds"? Are you kidding me?

The standard, by the way, is to check every 60-90 seconds.

...so it was kind of amusing, this past weekend, to see "dueling e-pops":

10:30 AM #Major_Telecom Onsite Rep: "60-90 seconds!"

10:35 AM GM: "30 seconds!"

11:00 AM #Major_Telecom Onsite Rep: "60-90 seconds!"

11:20 AM GM: "30 seconds! Why isn't this being done?"

12:40 PM #Major_Telecom Onsite Rep: "60-90 seconds!"

12:45 PM GM: "60 seconds!"

...because #Major_Telecom doesn't want its customers being irritated by constant check-ins from reps. This thing with sending people home for inefficiency started soon after that, though.

Anyway, I don't mind reasonable improvements to productivity, and I haven't got a problem with things that make sense. Look, we work for a business which is trying to make money; if you're not making money for the business, you're dead weight. They pay you to help them turn a profit, not to cost them money. That's just how it is.

I have no idea how my efficiency score is as high as it is. Except that I'm pretty anal about being on the damned phone on-time and when I'm supposed to be, rather than talking or wandering around or trying to avoid working. That probably helps.

* * *

In that vein, then, This actually sounds perfect reasonable to me. It really does. Look:
In short: a bunch of the employees on an assembly line walk away from their jobs twice a day, apart from the scheduled break times. The business has a problem with this...not really surprising, as having people step away from an assembly line can mean the whole process grinds to a halt. The article does not say how many employees the company has as a whole, but if the prayer-walkoffs do cause the whole company to lock up, then I can see why this would be a major problem.
He goes on to propose that the employees who walk off the line to pray simply be made to pay restitution to the company for the costs it incurs because of their religious practices.

I think that's perfectly reasonable.

One commentor at that link says that muslims must pray five times a day, but not at set times: "do it at home, or GTFO," he suggests.

I think that is perfectly reasonable, too.

In the story he links to, there is this link, about a pagan using a "multicultural" prayer room for his worship of the Norse gods, and being fired because of his "religiously aggravated harassment directed against the Muslim faith".

And yeah: just imagine if it were Christians walking off the job to pray--imagine how little sympathy it would garner from the very same people who are apoplectic that an employer actually expects its workers to do their fucking jobs.

Sick and tired of special treatment for muslims. It's gotta stop.

* * *

NASA needs to get out of the business of developing spacecraft. Just let NASA buy flights from commercial carriers.

* * *

Here are some excellent ideas for amendments to the Constitution. I love them all. They are also politically impossible. *sigh*

* * *

One of my early calls today was from someone who was insane. She wouldn't let me get a word in edgewise and kept yelling at me about how four criminals had broken into her phone and kept changing her voice mail password, and how it was #Major_Telecom's fault, and she always used the same password for everything--gee, you think that's maybe how the "criminals" might be getting into your stuff?--and that she wasn't going to call the police, and blah blah blah etcetera. When I asked for her password I didn't understand it when she said it because she yelled it in a single staccato syllable. She could have said any of about five different words, so I asked her to spell it; and then she yelled at me because I couldn't spell a simple word. I tried to explain to her that because she'd screamed it at me I couldn't understand what she'd said, but I still couldn't get a word in edgewise, and finally she hung up on me.

I just laughed. There really wasn't anything else to be done, there.