Thought of the Day #3: Wal-Mart

To revive my ‘Thought of the Day’ series, I decided today’s thought will revolve around Wal-Mart. I always hear bitching about welfare, and people being on it just because their lazy. While this may the case for a couple people here and there, it would be an incredibly minuscule percentage of people who use welfare (nowhere near even 1%). This is where Wal-Mart comes in. It’s companies such as them, that make people have to go on welfare in the first place. We’re talking about a company where their top 6 share holders (the Walton family themselves) have more money combined in their bank accounts, then what nearly 50% of Americans have in their’s at any given time.

They pay their employees a piss poor wage, with little to no benefits,…when they can easily increase their wages. In all honesty, what would a $3 increase in pay really do to their profits. It’d hardly make a dent and can make a huge difference to employees. My other questions are: why does the greedy Walton family really need with all those billions? Are they just hoarding it to gain a title of richest family in the world? How will they even spend all of that money? Seriously, they can spend a couple million a day for years at time and still be incredibly filthy rich.

Stuff like this makes America fall behind other developed countries. You can work 40 hours a weeks,plus overtime in this country, and still not even make enough to cover your monthly expenses. I think it’s sickening that our country is more focused on  silly things that don’t help people much in the long run such as guns for example. (Yes, I’m alright with people owning guns for the most part, but they’re not an absolute necessity. Just using them as an example.) We’re more concerned about laws for the uses of in-animate objects we don’t need all that much, than actually helping our own people.

Corporations like Wal-Mart are disgusting because they use cheap labor to make their products outside of the US, and give low wages to their workers in the store so they can make maximum profits, and exploit their employees. They’ll also cut hours, but because their already making so little, the workers suffer more. So I’m calling out Wal-Mart, the Walton’s, and any other similar company. When will you abysmal individuals step up to the plate and pay your employees a living wage? Instead of hiding behind your mountains of money while you watch them struggle.

*It’s normally a goal of mine to stray away from politics on my posts, however my ‘Thought of the Day’ will occasionally do the opposite. If you have an opinion, post and keep it civil, or it will be deleted.

As always, thanks for your reading and continued support!

~J. A. Ross

Infamous Blackout Days

So here I am, another day at work. Taking chats, pulling up items; the whole deal. I was recently on what’s called an LOA (leave of absence) for my wisdom teeth removal, and came back a few days ago to find I’m scheduled 9 days in a row, with split days off at the end (off, work, off); instead of my normal 5 days in a row.

Normally I could care less, I mean 9 days in a row…big deal. But when you come back with your mouth all jacked up, and have to focus on a couple of customers at once; it can suck pretty bad. How were they able to do this drastic change out of nowhere you ask?  The answer is blackout days. Well what the hell are those?

Blackout days are a contact center rep’s worst nightmare. Pretty much, everything is what’d I’d like to refer to as a ‘no go’. Trying to use sick hours to go home if you’re feeling under the weather…no go! Need a day off for something important? No go! They’ll be happy to give you an occurrence though. They’ll give those out like candy! Occurrences and blackout days go with each other hand in hand.

They’re like a big helping of ‘screw up your day’ in one sitting. If you’re a bit late, and normally use a few minutes of sick time to cover it, well kiss that goodbye. You get that occurrence! So what this means, is that if you’re late or miss half the day… you get .5 points added. If you miss the whole day, you get a full point. On non-blackout days on point can cover 3 missed days if you’re sick.  If you build up 8 total points, you’re out of there!

The schedulers pretty much hold full power over your schedule, and you can do nothing as they laugh, “Muhahahaha!”, at your agony.You watch as the schedule you originally chose crumbles. They can literally make you come in hours earlier or later, and give you several days to work in row while spreading out the mandatory days off they have to give us (thanks unions for limiting this tyranny some!).

Thanks for reading!

~J. A. Ross



My Year At A Call Center

Call centers are known for being the type of job that’s surely going to make your blood pressure rise. From angry customers who would like to do nothing more than rip your face off; to customers that tell you your’e the best customer service agent they’ve ever had because you just gave them 10% off their order. It certainly can be an interesting job!

Currently I’ve been working at a call center for exactly a year today. The first 8 months I was a phone agent; that was pretty ridiculous. We have fairly slow systems so just imagine sitting there for 5 minutes trying to pull up an order, while a pissed off customer tells you their life’s story and mountains of complaints. All the while, you hit the mute button every now and again and express you anger to the customer with plenty of colorful obscenities (good thing that mute button worked). You eventually find their order and see that they’re mad about something that was actually caused by them.

Later, they try to say it was really us that really that put in that wrong delivery address when they placed the order themselves. Not all calls were bad of course; I did talk to a lot of nice, genuine people who would end up making my day because of how pleasant they were. I used to only be trained in appliances so that meant that some of those nice customers could be rare on occasion. Due to the large costs of appliances, they can certainly get people fired up (this can be described in both good and bad ways).

I was starting to get a lot better at this job. I was going from highly angry customers saying, “where the fuck is my order?!” to, ” thanks so much for helping out with this order,” in the same call, instead of them being irate the entire time. After a few months of this, I was able to escape appliance only hell by getting trained on the rest of what we sell. Fast forward even more months and my time with the phones came to an end.

I transferred departments and became a chat representative. Those last few months on the phones hadn’t been too bad as I was getting a lot less appliance calls,( I still got appliance calls as I was still trained in it). Entirely, I was beginning to get a much higher range of happier and more pleasant customers. But alas, chat welcomed me with open arms.

The only thing that does suck about being a chat agent, is we chat with two customers at the same time. It’s easily possible to get two assholes chatting in at once, instead of just one like on the phones. As a whole, it’s a fantastic trade off because I can yell at them without worrying about the mute button being on; and not have to hear them yelling at me. No more having to decipher model numbers, order numbers, you name it! The major perk is that I can listen to my own music instead of the awful pop music played in their department.

But boy, let me tell you! Now that they’re hiding behind a computer screen, instead of a phone, they can be fairly more aggressive, insulting, and…stupid. They will ask the most idiotic questions you’ll ever hear. I had one genius ask me if he’s supposed to put the oil with gas for a snowblower. Can you imagine what it might be like living with someone like that? They probably break stuff all the time! Another question I got a couple months back, was seeing if a basic oven would work without counters being around it.

My immediate reaction was a face-palm while thinking, “you’re shitting me. Why…why are you this this dumb?! Do you need a counter to make your fridge work? Your washer or dryer? Because you know, the counter itself powers the appliance. The only exception would be a dishwasher, and that would be to hide it; due to their design. (it wouldn’t be its source of power, so they would revise the question for that at least).

Overall as pestilent and aggravating that many chat customers can be, I do strangely enjoy my job for the most part…due to the entertainment value. There will always be those days though where you wish for a skip button. I also would just like to add in my gratitude again that I was able to get off of those damnable phones!

The last thing that I’m thankful for, is that we’re not far enough in the future where they may try to innovate face to face technology more in-depth, to not have to use phones or a chat system. I do feel like this could easily be a thing in the future. Can you just imagine how horrendous that would be? The customer just staring at you the whole time; watching your every move. Give me shudders thinking about that!

We’ll see how this job treats me in upcoming months. Cheers to another year! Well…maybe.

Customer Service

This will probably be the first of many posts about customer service.I work in a chat department for a call center. Let me tell you, you’ll never talk to more intelligent people than my customers!……Ha! Just kidding. I swear I lose millions of brain cells everyday while chatting with these damned morons. I had a customer just the other night keep me over my shift 30 minutes, wanting 10% off an item. It was $17. I told the them I can’t apply the discount. There isn’t a way for me to apply it, because the store itself only has access to those programs; they have to apply upon pick up the there.

Then after explaining this to him at least 3 times, he proceeds to say he’s ‘taking a risk’ buying the damn item. It is not a risk to buy a $17 item when you already need the thing in the first place. Like really, risking an extra $1.75 (the 10%). Are you fucking serious?? This fellow was in NJ and I assure that saving the $1.75 would do jack shit when it comes to buying anything, especially in NJ. Great, you can buy a candy bar or something. Big deal. I was half tempted to send the stupid $1.75 through the mail to him personally just to get him off the chat.