As they say in Paris, Je’nais comprende pas, which to the uninitiated means simply, I DO NOT UNDERSTAND. I not only do not understand I find it hard to accept that when I phoned my loal cable company today to find out why I suddenly lost the NBC affiliate I found myself speaking to a young woman in of all places Buenos Aires? The offices of Time Warner Cable are located a few miles away. If I need a new DVR box or remote and do not wish to await an appointment for replacement, I can get in the car and drive there in about 15 minutes and exchange them for new ones. I know the world is a much smaller place, what with the internet and communication devices the size of a pin head, but Buenos Aires? We all know its called outsourcing.
This happened during of all things the BONNIE HUNT show, which I attended the taping of and which I was “TIVO” or “DVRing.” The screen suddenly went blank. No novice, I did my homework before placing the call. Being as I had all the other channels we pay for, including premiums on both of my televisions and it was only the NBC affiliate it was fair to assume the problem was out of my house and thus out of my hands.
So I called. I called a seven digit local number and fully expected to eventually hear an American voice, obviously an employee of Time Warner located in nearby Chatsworth, who would be able to tell me it was an area problem, or a network problem and would soon be corrected. I knew when I heard the accent, the fact that though I could hear her clearly she just sounded ”far” away and I KNEW her name was not Jane as she told me. She also seemed uninformed and I felt that I may as well be talking to someone in Siberia. I am not new to this type of service. While my computer was still under warranty with Dell, many was the time I would be speaking with a Tom or a Dick or a Harry also with a thick accent who when prodded would admit to being located in India. It is likely that the name given me was simply the Dell solution to the fact that if they gave their real name I would instantly have known I was no longer in U.S. territory. They do not willingly advise their locations. However I got wise and now I am someone who will ask.
The young woman from Time Warner in Buenos Aires put me on hold. When she returned and told me, “We know of a problem, it may be just the network but it is not officially listed in our system yet. Let me arrange for a technician to visit your home” I made the inquiry as to her location. That was when I found out I had been virtually shipped off to South America. Trying to be reasonable I asked her why, when the issue was likely to be resolved sometime during the day, she would want to arrange a technician to come here, knowing full well they would not be here for at least a day or two because home appointment availability is scarcer then a hen tooth as they say. By then there would be no issue whatsoever. She responded that this was procedure. At that point I told her that although it was not personal I now wanted to speak to a supervisor, preferably one located in the United States. After about ten to fifteen minutes of being on hold I got a supervisor. She too sounded far away and seemed uniformed. She too was in Buenos Aires!
However, just at the closing credits of BONNIE HUNT, the local NBC affliliate came back on. Suffice to say I never got a straight answer from either woman as to what had happened and I ended up hanging up. I checked the DVR and found that I had exactly the same blank screen as I had been watching while conversing with the Time Warner staff in Buenos Aires. Once again: Je’nais comprende pas “outsourcing”! Do you?