If You Build It, They Will Come.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


So what's new...

I just applied for a new job in Grand Rapids at GRCC. It's a job where I need to know how to edit and do videography and lighting and all the things I actually went to school for, and it pays significantly more than the job I currently have.

Needless to say the job I currently have is not one I like at all. I've read in the news a lot that people are getting in a lot of trouble for blogging about their jobs, so I'm not going to say who I work for, suffice to say that I work for a company that is contracted by a major cell phone company. I am a "technician" at said cell phone company. A "technician" is someone who is supposed to fix phones by looking at them and saying that they're broken, then giving the customer a new one. We also check software settings and everything. Nothing that we're more qualified to do than anyone else. When a customer comes in happy because they want a new phone, the sales guys get to talk to them. When they come in pissed off because they dropped their phone in a toilet and they are absolutely convinced that that should be covered by their warranty and they should get a new one for free, they get sent back to us.

A "technician" is also expected to sell frilly accessories that people don't want, and frilly little data stuff that people don't need. See I don't know about you, but if I go to a store and someone tries to sell me something I didn't come in for, I try to avoid going back to that store. If you ever went to Meijer for a gallon of milk, and the guys in the red shirts followed you around telling you how much you absolutely NEEDED to have a corkscrew and a bag of Alpo, wouldn't you try shopping at D&W next time? I'm not saying that the practice pushes our already low customer base away, I'm just saying it seems pretty annoying. And when their boss Marion tries it, you can tell that those customers aren't coming back.

"Oh you barely have enough money to pay your bill? Well, how about buying this car charger, this earpiece and a case for your phone? It's only $59! You'd be saving money! Well, yeah, I guess you'd be saving money if you were going to buy all three seperately... not if you were not planning on buying any of them... How about ringback tones! It only adds a little bit to your bill every month, the bill you were just saying you could barely pay. Do you do a lot of text messaging? No? Well you should sign up for our text messaging bundle. It gives you unlimited mobile to mobile texting and 1000 messages to other carriers all for $15 a month! I realize you said you don't do text messaging, but maybe you should start..."

By the end of it the customer hasn't bought anything else and is clawing to get out the door.

I've never really liked sales. Something about it always seems shady. Something about making the customer believe that they need what I'm selling. It's lying. I'm getting paid to lie, and the more people believe me, the more commision I make. Nobody needs ringback tones. Nobody needs unlimited text messaging. Nobody really needs cell phones. They're a conveinience. A lot of these people need the money that I'd be trying to dupe them out of.

Granted, I'm not as bad as all that. None of us are. When people come in to buy cell phones we sell them cell phones. If people want a car charger, we sell them a car charger. We show them what other options are available, and if they don't want them, we let it drop. But we're not supposed to.

I can't do it though. I can't push something unneccessary on a person who can't afford their bill. I've been there before. Who am I kidding, I'm there now.

But that's not the stuff I even deal with the most. I deal with the customers who break their phones, then blame me, then throw a fit as if they'll shrivel up and die if they go an hour without a cell phone. It's always the same thing.

"What if I'm driving and my car breaks down?!? What will I do?!? It's so unsafe!"

I often wonder if these people remember the eighties. Or even the early nineties. A time not so long ago, where there were cars, and no cell phones. These cars would break down from time to time, there would be car accidents, and yet, no cell phones. And most of these people I deal with were there. Granted, some of them are 16 and missed the eighties all together. And usually, they're the ones who are okay with going without it for a little while. But way back all those years ago, you used to have to get out of you car and *gasp* WALK to a *double gasp* PAYPHONE! So in the unlikely event that your brand new gas gussling Hummer 2 somehow breaks down on the side of the road in the next two to three business days, I give you full permission to find a pay phone and call me directly. I'll call everyone you need. I'll call a tow truck, I'll call your insurance company, I'll alert your next of kin of this atrocious tragedy.

Otherwise, if I'm not dealing with them, I'm supposed to call our customers and ask them if they want any data packages. That's right "technician" also means "telemarketer." It's not that bad when the stuff I'm signing them up for actually lowers their bill. Then they're happy about it. When the ones come up that I'm supposed to call, and it would make their bill more expensive, I don't call. That's where I draw the line.

Okay, so that was my really long rant about work. Sorry to subject you all to that.



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