BL: My All Time #1 Pet Peeve… Plus…

Mumbai Call Center
January22/ 2018

My All Time #1 Pet Peeve is… Plus…N&O cullings

“They say” that you can gauge a person by the level of stuff that upsets him/her.  Rational mature adults don’t get sidetracked by stoopid little stuff. If one allows Life’s mundane frustrations to “get to you” how can you possibly deal with Real Problems. That said…

Am I the ONLY ONE who is perplexed by customer service / tech support on-the-phone whose accents are too thick to be decipherable?

This usually involves individuals from a “dreaded Mumbai call center”.   Whatever collective noun covers India / Pakistan or various Middle Asian countries. My primary (sole) communicating language is English / American… with a touch of “Mayberry”.

I am not Indian/Pakistan-ophobic. I do NOT blame “Hello, my name is Robert” on the other end of the phone connection.  “Robert” has the solution to my problem and is sincerely trying to convey that solution… but cannot do so.

Our only communicating medium is the spoken word and it ain’t happening. There is nothing either of us can do to resolve THAT problem in order to resolve the original problem.

WHY would any company concerned with effective customer service assign individuals to a customer service phone center that “might” have too thick of an accent to communicate with their customer?  WHY?

WHY are calls from Raleigh NC directed to employees unable to communicate with individuals unaccustomed to their thick accents? WHY?

If I was calling to arrange a cruise down The Ganges, I would expect some “issues”.  But I just want to change my Apple ID…

If a Bollywood zillionaire calls for tech-support does he get “Hello, my name is Gomer” in a call center in Muleshoe Arkansas”?  I sure hope so.

I understand that there are huge “call centers” in Mumbai, India that receive 100,000s customer service calls from everywhere in the world 24/7. I’m sure their 10,000s of employees have “all the answers” to customer concerns at their keyboard fingertips.

Would those phone centers hire ME to answers calls from customers in Helsinki or Uzbekistan? I sure hope not.

For the record… every Mumbai-based call center employee is named “Robert”… as in “Hello, my name is Robert. How may I help you?”   No Charlie or Zeke gets hired at a Mumbai call center.

Whenever I get “Robert” I know this is NOT going to end well. We are both playing solitaire with decks of 51.

Mumbai Call Center

One way around this universal issue is using “e-chat” which is texting back/forth without dealing with accents on either end. I’ve gotten where I can guess nationalities by sentence structure. That makes for stilted communication but I do get an answer to my problem. Which is all I ever wanted.

…. “Thank you for calling Mr. BobLee. Please hit Control – Alt- Delete Mr BobLee. …. I am so sorry Mr BobLee that that did not work … Mr BobLee have you tried rebooting your computer Mr BobLee? …. Very good Mr BobLee. I am so glad we could help you today Mr BobLee. Is there anything else, Mr BobLee, that we can do to help you today? Have a nice day, Mr BobLee…”

Resolving ANY issue requires using the customer’s name a minimum of twelve times. “Robert” get bonus points every time after twelve?

I’m not angry with “Robert”. Some middle manager in Silicon Valley with an MBA from Cal Tech calculated that 10,000 “Roberts” with accents so thick Ghandi could not understand them will save his/her company $.03/call.

The next time I call one of these things I’m going to say “my name is Robert” and see what their “Robert” says.


Duke just signed another “Greatest Since LeBron” semi-literate 17 y/o.  Roy really wanted this guy too until Duke got him at which point UNC board monkeys all declared “Roy really did NOT want him after all…”. How many Duke “one/dones” is that that “Roy really didn’t want”. I stopped counting at 28.

Don’t even bother to learn this one’s name. ANOTHER “one semester and adios” who “chose Duke because of The Brotherhood”… whatever the Hell that means. Somewhere Hack Tyson and Steve Vacendak are weeping.


More “culling the herd” down at The N&O. My longtime buddy John Drescher, Executive EditorDrescher for the past 10-12 years, has been reassigned as some “gobblygook something or other”… I BETCHA they couldn’t “cull” John because of his contract so they “reassigned” him, hoping he will just go away.  Just a guess….

John Drescher and Bubba Cunningham are both “a lot better” than the scummy, no-count organizations that employ them.  A WHOLE LOT better…

McClatchy hired “some woman” to replace John at, guessing again, a LOT less than they were paying John. With “shes” as both Publisher and Executive Editor, McClatchy is saving about $500,000 in executive payroll. So much for “gender equity” hypocrisy at The N&O.

Has anyone checked how many AfAms are employed at The N&O these days since they “culled” Sportin’ Life Barry a few months ago? You can count’em on one hand… or less. So much for “racial equity” at The N&O.


Further “culling” has Jim Jenkins finally retiring (wink, wink) from the N&O after 35 years of writing the same snarky editorial each week for ever how many weeks there are in 35 years. Jenkins always reminded me of “Milton” in Office Space. That schlub with “the stapler” who they couldn’t fire because he kept hiding from the firing guy.

Will Rob “RielleWho” Christensen survive another six months?

The N&O will eventually cull down to two “cheap white women” and thirteen interns.

My only other N&O friend, besides John Drescher – Dan Kane – just did an OMG expose of Wendell Murphy’s “upscale golf community” near Wallace NC. Per Dan, there are political shenanigans involving $800,000 in state taxpayer funds helping Wendell fix a sewage issue.

I reminded Dan that he might score a few points with TruBlues since Wendell is NC State’s #1 Fat Cat. … but probably not.


It occurred to me that my BobLee Buddies list includes, among others…

Dan Kane… Bubba “The RealAD” Cunningham… Leo Hart… The Fabulous Comparato Twins… Don McCauley… John Drescher… THEBobKennel… “JudgeBob” Orr… “PrinceAlbert” Long… Jon “The Butcher’s Lawyer” Sasser… Art Chansky… Mary “The Whistleblower” Willingham… Holden Thorp and Wade Hargrove.

That is one VERY eclectic gaggle of fine, albeit infamous, folks. I proudly stand beside one and all.


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