In which my former employer loses its mind. Again.

Every once in a while, I actually miss working at Dell. Not necessarily because I could see myself still doing that exact same job 7 years later, but for what it was, the job was something useful. Besides, I got a ton of free software out of the deal, which never hurts. But I have a pretty good feeling if something like ended up on my desk, I probably wouldn’t be doing much in the way of, you know, working there for much longer.

There are times when big brands with “social media people” might want to teach those junior level employees to recognize that using one of the standard “scripted” answers might be inappropriate. Take, for example, if you’re Dell and a new report has come out suggesting that the NSA has pretty much compromised your servers at the BIOS level with spy bugs, then, when someone — especially a respected security guy like Martin Wismeijer — tweets at you, you don’t go with the standard scripted “sorry for the inconvenience” response. But, apparently, that’s not how Dell handled things this time (thanks to Mike Mozart for the pointer).

Nope, instead, a complaint that your server’s been bugged by the NSA before Dell handed it off to you nets you this response:

Thank you for reaching out and regret the inconvenience. Our colleagues at @dellcarespro will be able to help you out.

Okay, now, granted the only server I deal with is the one this site’s sitting on, but somehow, I’m pretty sure the guys getting paid to deal with servers for way more important reasons could probably do without the standard punt script to the Twitter version of India’s tech support queue–who very likely won’t actually be able to help anyway, and that’s if they’re even allowed to do anything other than deny the existence of any kind of NSA involvement whatsoever in the first place. But, on the bright side, no innocent customer pictures were publicised in this customer service manglement scheme…

This is decidedly not the job I left 2 years ago.

I worked for Dell until mid-2008. They decided around then my job would be much better done from a call center in India. Flash forward to last week or so. One such Indian technical support agent had apparently been called up to help her find and view pictures a customer had on her hard drive, but couldn’t remember where she’d put them–I used to get calls like that all the time. They used to take maybe an hour, if you happened to have a customer who was particularly clueless when it comes to something as simple as “Now don’t touch anything for a few minutes or I won’t be able to control your computer from here.”. They used to be so simple I could do them in my sleep. And they used to still pay me at least $100 for the assistance–hey, I didn’t make the policies or force them to call me. They used to not end like this.

A woman calls Dell tech support to ask for help in locating pictures of herself on her computer. The pictures end up on a newly created Web site. She accuses the support representative of creating the site.

Would it be too cynical of me to figure the agent in question didn’t actually end up fired from the outsourcing center he works for? It’s articles like this that kind of make me very glad I don’t actually ever really have to pick up the phone for something unless they’ve already screwed it up.

Apparently, according to the article, Dell’s in the midst of a lawsuit over it. I can see this going full circle in the near future–lawsuits in New York among other places were, after all, what lead to them opening up more call centers in North America after all, for all the good it did. What was that they said about hindsight?

Awe fucking some.

Cross-posted to arinoch and techsupport.

This post Puts me in mind of my year and a half working for Dell. I spent most of it working nights, and my manager just so happened to be about as blatantly honest as they come. To agents, to customers, whatever. If you’re a complete fucking moron, he’d call you a complete fucking moron. And if you were a customer, he’d do it in such a way you had absolutely no idea you were just called a complete fucking moron. We had a couple folks on our team with definite middle-eastern accents. One of these guys happened to be Lebonese, I believe. So anyway, enough background.

About 3:30 EST on a Saturday night, when you’d think most people would either be sleeping or getting absolutely smashed rather than trying to fix their computer so they can go back to their porn, we just so happened to be getting completely and totally slammed. There was all of 1 person on average not on a call for probably the better part of 2 hours. At about that time, the Lebonese dood happened to be that guy. He sat like right behind me, so I got pretty much a front row seat to what went on. This New York sounding dood calls up, and for obvious reasons, ends up talking to mister Lebonese. Except he’d really rather not. No sooner does the guy get halfway through “thank you for calling Dell” does the guy hang up. Couple seconds later, he calls back. Gets the same agent. Hangs up again. This time, he at least has the good sense to wait a minute or two. Then again, he calls back. Third time’s a charm. The guy behind me gets the call again, and yet again the caller drops it.

Now, by this time I’ve got the customer I’m working with restarting his computer, so I mute the thing, and call over my manager. I give him the 30-second run down on what’s going on, manager dood tells the agent to hand over his headset for a sec. We’re laying bets at this point he’s moronic enough to try it again. And sure enough, no sooner does the manager get the headset on then this guy calls in again. This time, manager dood goes through our thanks for calling opening. Customer then goes into about a 2 or 3 minute “thank God I finally got someone who speaks English” shpeel here. Manager mutes the phone, looks over at me and just sort of giggles a little. If anyone’s worked with this guy for any period of time, you just know he’s mentally taking notes, and as soon as customer dood comes up for air, he’s gonna be nailed to the wall. The manager just so happened to be black, and Louisiana born. So in other words, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone more American sounding in that call center. Customer finally stops yapping long enough for my manager to get a word in, and he ever so politely advises him that he is, in fact, not a tech support person (he’s technical, but they didn’t pay him to fix customers’ shit… that’s what we’re for), he’s a supervisor. Customer’s all “I don’t care, I’m just glad you speak my language.”

Caller then tries to get my manager to fix his problem anyway. Finally, after about another 15 minutes or so of back and forth, this happens. “Okay, sir, I’m gonna stop you, right there. No, just stop talking for a second. Now, here’s what’s happening. We’re incredibly busy tonight. The agent you just hung up on 4 times is the only one we’ve got not on a call right now. So, your choices are this. You can let him fix your problem so you can enjoy the rest of your night, or you can hang up right now and call back in the morning. If you call back tonight, you’re gonna be talking to me again. And if we have to have this conversation a second time, I’ll note in your account that you’ve repeatedly called in to and hung up on our agents, and you won’t be getting support from anyone. The choice is yours, and I’ll even give you a couple seconds to make it.”

The manager didn’t say a thing after that. He just handed it back to my coworker, and his problem was solved like 10 minutes later. And for like the next week, we all took turns immitating this idiot out of extreme boredom (Saturday was apparently fix your computer day that month, it was dead for the rest of the week). Sometimes, the stuff that goes on even manages to surprise me. And that doesn’t happen often.

The old job, 4 months later.

They shut down the Ottawa office at the end of June, and now in its latest attempt at saving money, Dell’s asking the employees that are still there if they maybe kinda sorta wouldn’t mind helping themselves to some unpaid time off. Now, uh, I’m just as shakey about this slow economy business and the effect it has on creating new jobs as the next guy. But good jesus criminy, this “oh, just take a week off and let us not pay you, it’s good for you” crap has to go. Like wo. I’m tellin’ ya, if yall didn’t make some pretty rock solid machines (I’ve been sitting in front of this one for coming on 2 years now), I’d be a whole lot more pissed off than I already am. Of course, if I don’t soon get hired somewhere I’m probably gonna be anyway. But in that case it would be Dell’s own fault.

An almost semi-productive morning.

Welp, that’s it. I went in at 10:30 for my last day of work. I walked outa there at noon. Of course,the actual shift was supposed to start at 8:30, but that’s what having 2 free hours of vacation gets you. So I hoofed it there and back and officially spent more time getting to and from than actually working. And now it’s all over but the getting paid and signing paperwork that says I officially don’t work there anymore and am therefore not allowed to go telling HP all Dell’s secrets. Breaks my heart, too. But only in the sense that I’ll never know if they actually believe me or not. Got home at about 10 minutes past 2, and have been pretty much being lazy ever since. I was, though, reminded exactly how long it takes getting home when it’s not rush hour. And good lord I’m glad I didn’t have to do *that* very often.

And as if my usual work week wasn’t eventful enough in its own right, on the way home the interesting happened. One very polite, but very irritating gentleman decided, for reasons still unknown to me, that in order to show me where the bus stop is for my soon to be missed ride (I was catching it at a stop I don’t usually catch it at; goes back to that whole not being rush hour thing), he’d take the end of my cane I *wasn’t* holding on to. So after eventually getting that sorted out and trying very hard to resist the urge to break it over his head (I succeeded, by the way), we actually managed to find my stop. And then it was home sweet home, where I promptly ran screaming (not really) inside and out of the heat, cracked open a coke, and um, am here. Where I don’t have to leave again until tomorrow. Shweet.

The next couple days are gonna be easy-ish. Spend 3 hours or so getting to and from the office, spend 15 minutes handing over my badge and headset (why they want my headset, too, is beyond me but they can have it), and then do nothing until saturday. At which point the mother thing’s threatening to drop by, so god only knows where that day’s gonna go. Hmm, maybe I can borrow her vehicle and smack some Canadian Tire lacky upside the head with the little air conditioner that couldn’t. Or maybe I’ll just take full advantage of day 1 of the very long weekend. Yeah, that sounds better.

Lazily dead tuesday.

It’s official. Somebody’s been smiling on us up and over here. I’m on lunch for another 10 minutes or so, and thanks largely to the call that just wouldn’t end, I also have a break coming to me about half an hour after I get off said lunch. I ended up ordering a couple subs last night; that whole being too lazy to microwave anything, and all that. One became lunch today, and damn. Even refridgerated it’s awesome. I’ll say this for local eats. Georgie’s Pizza may kinda suck at the whole pizza making thing, someone over there can put together a good sub. They officially rival Subway. Yay for rivaling subway!

… I had a point when I started this entry. It ran away from me. I think it had something or another to do with it being quieter than usual again today, and tomorrow being my last full day here. Yeah, that’s gotta be it. Or something.

Uh, huh?

I just got an education from this guy who’s computer I’m suspecting isn’t broken but he wants it looked at anyway. Apparently there’s a highway being built from Mexico city, up through Texas, and all the way to Canada. And apparently it’s all gonna be one country. It’s coming, don’t ya know. Because, you know, the US requires passports and blacklists on principle anyone they wanna get all chummy chummy with and make up the world’s second continental country. What happened to some of these people? Can somebody please just sort of do that thing where they give me a clue?

Zzzzz.

So I ended up crawling out of bed at about 7:30. No big thing. Threw lunch together and got here in plenty of time to be half an hour late. I will, undoubtedly, make it up at some point this week. I did learn what time I have to be here though for the returning of things that belong not to me and the picking up of a severence package that does belong to me. Fortunately it’s not ’til 11:00 on friday. Unfortunately, it means I’m not doing a whole lot of sleeping in if the plan is to bus there and back. Sigh. Well, on the positive-ish side, I can do a little tiny bit of sleeping in. I may be inclined, though, to just cab it there and back. Or something. And then promptly go back to bed. For now, though, I pay me some attention to this here call. Anyone want a computer illiterate person who has no clue how to tell me if he’s in Windows or not?

You can tell it’s closing time.

Very rarely lately are there above 10 people waiting for calls over the lunch hour. There are now 30. Not complaining in the slightest, just… it’s kind of odd. It’s kinda like even the people calling in are backing off a little for our last week here while we get things ready to close the doors on this department for good technically on thursday, and officially on friday. I don’t think I’ve had a day this quiet in a while. Certainly not a monday. Mind you, next monday’s gonna be quieter… yay for the sleeping in ’til noonish. Or something.

Which way’s up, again?

On the bright side, I didn’t end up oversleeping this morning. On the not so bright side, I was damn near late anyway. On more than one occasion I think the lights were stuck in you don’t go anywhere mode. We ended up sitting at a few of them for upwards of 5 minutes or so. Which, okay, once or twice wouldn’t be too much hell on my schedule. But it was enough of a problem that if the bus I had to transfer to wasn’t also late, I’d of been waiting for the next one. And subsequently significantly on the late side. It decided it was gonna piss out there this morning on top of that, so by the time I got to work I was a little dripping. I think somebody out there’s try’na tell me I should have just called in sick today, but, y’know. They’re looking for excuses not to pay out severence packages, and I’m 3 days shy of getting mine. I can manage. Or something. Besides, it was easily made up for last night. Very good, and very long conversation will tend to do that. I actually think, for a monday, this isn’t gonna turn out all that badly. So long as it doesn’t get insane over here in the next couple hours.

*wakes up, sorta*

It’s sunday. I’ve been up for a grand total of half an hour. I should be awake. I’m not. I blame weekend mode. I was surprisingly active, though, for weekend mode the last couple days. Friday not a whole hell of a lot went on, except I got confirmation that the next week at work’s gonna be hella short. And I do mean hella short. I go in to take calls for monday, tuesday, wednesday, and… an hour and a half on thursday. Yay for extra vacation time I’ve not used up yet. They pay me for the whole day on thursday, and I’m done with the actual work part of the day at noon. Then I stick around for some “thankd for coming out” lunch or something, and call it a day. I go in for all of like 15 minutes on friday (anyone local wanna drive me, so I’m not spending 3 hours with OC Transpo for the sake of 15 minutes?) to turn in my badge and headset, and then that’s it for me and work. Then I start beating on some of the doors I’ve already knocked on for applications. I’ve thought about tossing in an application for Algonquin College and their IT department. Mostly because I could probably walk it in like 5-10 minutes. Still considering, and may end up actually doing at some not to distant point. So that’s my mind in a nutshell this weekend. I thought I could make it look a bit more interesting, but I got nothin’. So I go wake up.

PS: Sheyrena, want a $300 laptop that should be well over $1000? They’re selling shit off on thursday.

Not the ideal start to a morning.

So since shortly after I finally got home and settled, it started to rain here. And it didn’t really let up a whole hell of a lot between then and this morning. So I got to walk to work (yes, I actually got up in time to take the bus; I’m proud of me!) in what amounted to the constant drip. I’d leave at 6:30, bus shows up at 6:42, and between former and latter, I wind up not really needing to have taken a shower. Loverly. But I managed to make it here in one piece and on time, even. And now I sort of drip dry while waiting for somebody to call me with a busted up computer. Or something. On the bright side, at least I’m not running late for a goddamn change.

PS: samari76, you called it again. The closer I got to work, the closer it got to stopping. Just thought you’d be interested to know.

My mad multitasking skillz is teh awesome.

Of course, if ever I have to repeat such a feat of multitasking amazingness again, someone’s gonna have to visit the responsible idiot in the ICU. Once again, our beloved documentation database has decided to take a rather fantastic crap. This one for like 2-3 hours. Not bad if I’ve only taken one call, but in that time I took like 8 or 9. And now, on top of taking my *current* calls, I had to go back in and manually input all that crapola into our oh so wonderful database. Said it before, say it again. I love my job. I love the company I work for. I don’t, however, love its relationship with any and all things Microsoft. Or, as a customer referred to them earlier today, Microslush.

Urg. Again.

I even tried going to bed relatively early last night. And I still ended up waking up at quarter to 8 this morning. Granted I still got here on time, but y’know, it’d be nice to go back to being able to do that and still have more than 30 seconds to get to work. Bright side: I wasn’t late. Not so bright side: I probably should have been. Ah well, I’m here, it’s um, trying hard to be dead as a fucking doornail, and it’s wednesday. Can’t complain over here. Two more days to teh weekendz! And, and, and, 9 more days ’til teh vacationz! Okay, this oversleeping nonsense isn’t such a problem now. I get to be lazy in 2 weeks. Back to waiting for a call or 2… dammit, why can’t I IM from work?

So we were both right.

So it turns out I now know better than to question the wisdom of Samari76. They did, in fact, get around to telling me today instead of Friday whether or not I ended up making the list of those on the extended employment term. However… all it did was confirm what I already figured by 5:00 on Friday. That of course being I now have 13 actual days left before I take that lovely little vacation in the wicked hot sun. Or something. So, I shall accept a simple compromize. I am always right. Except when samari76 is.

PS: It has officially taken me way too damn long to write this entry (I started at half past 10).

Not quite how I invisioned starting the morning.

We got in at about, oh, dark o’clock or somewhere thereabouts. I never really bothered to check the time. Puttered around with setting up the AC for about half an hour or so, realized it wasn’t going to get done last night, so we just kinda left it where we sat it until we get around to picking it back up eventually. I stayed up for a bit, thought about going to bed, and decided at some point to just go there. And promptly overslept. Didn’t end up getting up until about quarter to 9 this morning. Oops. A taxi cab later, I get to start my day at about 9:35 this morning. Fun stuff. Hello abreviated daytime schedule! Paying attention to this here phone call, now.

PS: Dear headache: die in a fire.

Mobile, but definitely not awake.

And not all that great with subject lines this morning either. Sue me. This is what happens when I plan to not sleep in ’til 6:30 or 7. I end up getting up at about 4. Ah well, on the bright side the only thing I have left to do around these parts before I get the hell out of Ottawa for the weekend is survive the work day. As long as it behaves itself more like yesterday than Wednesday, I can, um, probably do that.

I find out today whether or not I have 2 weeks or 3 months left of employment with Dell. Depending on what it is they tell me, there may be emails sent out to potential other employers just to see if my mad skillz are in fact still so mad that they want me, like, yesterday. ‘Til then, though, I drag my ass until I have to take off. At… hmm. 6:30. Damn.

PS: No, I don’t not like living in Ottawa. I just like occasionally leaving it.

PPS: The double negative was intentional. The grammar police need not be called.

Now that’s what I’m used to.

I’ll come off lunch in about half an hour, and actually have time to breathe before taking another call. As opposed to the non-stop sweat shop that’s been this place since at least 8:30 this morning. I’m so looking forward to walking out that door tonight…

So about that entry with substance.

Seeing as, you know, I’ve got time now that I’m installing windows for someone. Woot and such. So for the first time in all of… hmm, maybe a week, I actually didn’t drag my ass out of bed before 7:00 this morning. By choice, even. I likes me my sleep… sue me. Ended up throwing things together for lunch, finding something to call clothing and still got here in plenty of time to not be late to work. And it’s been pretty well non-stop since then. With the exception of this morning’s break, which I caught up on paperwork and threw together something resembling a post on this here thing, I haven’t really been off the phone since I got here. Not complaining, it’s just… unusual. Yesterday and monday were pretty well, um, written off. So I was kinda hoping today’d be more of that. Not so much.

The weather forecast does look like we’re gonna catch another pouring at some point today, so at least I won’t stick to myself when I get my lazy ass the hell home tonight. I love that apartment, but 3-4 days of 30+ degree temperatures plus top floor apartment? Yeah, not pretty. Note to Wall Mart: I am *so* not paying $300+ for a $80 AC unit, thankyamuch and die in a goddamn fire. Okay I’m over it now. And going back to actually doing my job. Hmm, I thought I said there’d be substance.

Update in list format, because… because.

  • Oh, oh god. Busy. Ug.
  • Got up at like 7:00 or 7:15, threw myself together and called it a work morning. Shouldn’t of done that. Bed is good.
  • I have less than a minute of break left. more substance later.
  • Oh, yeah. Greyhound sucks sometimes.

Urg.

I got up at about 6:10, was promptly stuck to my bed (not due to lazyness for a change!), and then came into work to find out somebody I had call a customer back lastnight pretty much reversed everything I’d already done and did it his way. Needless to say today is not looking all too off to such a wonderfully glorious start. On the bright side, at 11:30 ISH or so I get free food! They’re throwing a thanks for coming out bbq today, so I officially didn’t necessarily have to pack anything. I did, though, ‘cuz well, I’m an idiot. Or maybe just because everyone needs an afternoon snack. Or… something.

Oh, and random PS: Environment Canada, if Ottawa gets one more thunderstorm watch this week and no thunderstorm, I’m gonna raise some serious hell. Or, hey, can we settle for rain at least? I’m not entirely demanding…

Ug.

On the bright side, I can’t say it’s exactly been busy today. On the other hand… see subject line. Since I still can’t put the call I just got off of into words, I’m just gonna say this. It would take a hell of a lot less time to fix your computer if you’d stop interupting me every 5 minutes to vent about how you’ve been waiting 5 days already and don’t have time to wait anymore to have your computer fixed. Oh, my american friends, why do you mingle with such moronity?

Because they don’t give me enough to think about at work. Or something.

So I was walking out of the office yesterday, and the guy who used to be my manager before we did the mass departmental shuffle that saw me working where I am now catches up to me and the guy I was getting a lift with. We shoot the shit for a few minutes, then he gets around to telling us they’re thinking about basicly starting some form of premium support thing going on here, and are looking for folks who want to be a part of it. It won’t be a permanent thing by any means; it goes to like mid-September, but it’s a couple months more work. And considering I got this little bit of news, I’m giving semi-serious thought to taking it. I’m still futzing around with other applications anyway, but now there’s this little drop of good fortune to play with. They wanna know by 5:00 on monday, so I’ll… probably know by about 4:55 on monday. I love it when random shit catches my attention before the official email gets sent out.