Happiness in Incompetency

After having the good fortune to interact with a lot of people both on/off work ,  I have arrived at the startling conclusion, that worry lines can be erased and true happiness can be achieved through incompetency. Yes ! You heard it right.

Everybody is running around like headless chickens for an answer which is sitting right under their noses.

Contentment and peace are waiting at the threshold, but wait ! there’s one essential requirement – You should NOT take responsibility !
This cannot be compromised if  you hope to be an aspirant to everlasting bliss and even if something, by a strange twist of fate and in-spite of your best efforts to slink out of all responsibilities, manages to land on your overburdened shoulders , it should come naturally for you to say and mind it, with the correct intonation ‘I am soorry saar’.

God forbid, if you are one of  those blighted chaps who are besotted about taking responsibility and feel conscience stricken about being incompetent ; sorry old boy, the key to happiness alas is not within you. You offer to take more responsibility in work, you are straddled with bigger and bigger responsibilities. The chump in the next cubicle, waves you a cheery goodbye and heads out to the cinema while you are burning the midnight oil and losing the few strands of hair which are precariously hanging on.

I had the strangest notion that Customer Service Representatives are employed to make life easier and less stressful for the customer. Something, which a machine with a standard script cannot hope to accomplish but certain kindred specimens put me straight on that account.

Courtsey : Free Cartoons from CallCenterComics.com
Courtsey : Free Cartoons from CallCenterComics.com

Allow me to illustrate my point with a few chosen examples..

Episode #1: I had moved to my new abode and needed to change the address in the bank records. I call my bank’s call center number. Trrng Trrng. A westernized voice comes on the line..”Thank you for calling ….bank !
Kannada Bhasayilu ondu annu dial madi… Hindi men jankari ke liye do dabayie…To continue in English , please dial three”…Blah blah……Hah..finally reach the customer service rep.. Could she assist in changing my address I inquired.
“Definitely madam, please dial your T-pin.”.Yours truly had not got a T-Pin, so I asked her to kindly generate it.
“We will do that and send it to your address.”
Which address was that ? The old one of course, I was informed. I told her that I, with all my measly belongings was stationed at my new address and if she could confirm all my identification details including my great grandpa’s name and generate it over the phone.
There I had said it. Expected the system to change to suit the customer. Expected a miracle and a problem solver to appear.
“Sorry madam. That’s not possible.” she told me tersely.
I needed a T-Pin to record my new address but the T-Pin would only be sent to my old address. Was I, in my befuddled state, missing something here ?
Loop continues for some time and I keep the phone muttering to myself.

Episode #2: Broad band on the blink for the 3rd straight day !  @&#^.. For netizens, its a catastrophe too disastrous to contemplate. I call my phone’s call center number. Trrng Trrng..”Kannada Bhashayilu…..”.
Zzzzzz….I am on auto pilot now after having got dropped out of the IVR for the 50th time.

Yes ! Made it ! Hooray !

A bored sing song voice came on the line.. “Hella madam, how can I help you ?”
As the modem’s Ethernet light was not coming on and the laptop showed the LAN as disconnected, I had deduced that the modem was the culprit having discounted any problem with the cable.So I was pretty pleased when I informed her of my findings and asked her where I could get a replacement of the modem.

“Please go to start, run and type cmd. Type ping X.X.X.X”  the bored voice continued
So I pinged and let her know that the request was timed out and it wasn’t responding.”The laptop is showing the lan as disconnected.” I added helpfully.
“Please open IE and type http://X.X.X.X
I didn’t know how that would show up anything different as I couldn’t even ping, but I just did what I was told
“Yeah. Okay it says.. server not available.. The lan is not..”
“Madam, you have not connected the cable.”  the sing song voice interrupted.
“Well ! I have connected it, I can see both sides connected.” I spluttered trying with all my might to make her see over the phone.
“Please remove and reconnect” the voice continued
Removed. Reconnected. “Still no connection.” Yes, now she would finally see the light and give me the information I had asked for.
“Please hold the line..”  ‘Music’
2 mins.. 5 mins.. 10 mins..’Music’..!&#%&#
“Thank you madam for holding the line..” Click !
Disconnected ! I couldn’t believe it.

Take some deep breaths.Hmmm.. Whoossh..Hmmm.. Whoosssh…

Not one to give up so easily, I punched in the numbers with a vengeance.
After getting dropped some 20 odd times, got hold of another person..
“Hi..I was just talking to somebody when my line got disconnected. I think I have a problem with the modem..How can I get a replacement ?”
“Please go to start…..”
“I have already done all this..it isn’t working” I wailed
My voice falls on dead ears..”Please go to start.,run….”


Well, if you are slightly soft in the head and still not getting the spiritual insight, here’s the the final one which takes the cake.

Episode #3: I had submitted Mediclaim documents some time back and when I got no response, I decided to call Customer Service.
Day 1:
I informed the guy that I had submitted my docs 2 months back and could I know the status please.
“Waass the MIN number ?”
I give my MIN number..  The guy is talking to everybody else over the phone.. Hey Ramanna.. did u see the movie….. idlis are tasty…. Loud laughter..
10 mins..
“Madam, what was the MIN number ?”
Deep breath. Give my MIN number again.. 5 mins pass..
“Cant find it ”
What do you mean ..cant find it ? ” A Hindi movie dialogue flashed in my brain..Control Paji
“let me see….” 5 more mins pass
He finally came on the line and asked me when I had submitted the documents.
Now why was that important ? I thought the reason for a unique MIN number was to be able to search based on MIN number.”Oh okay..wait… let me think.. it was the 9th of August.”
“Madam, can you call back after 20 mins. I will search & keep.”

Called back.. Fellow was doing something else.. didn’t find time.. can I call back tomorrow..

Day 2:  So whats the status ?
“Madam, whats your MIN number ? So what exactly do you want ?”
I wasn’t hearing correctly. “Sir, I called you yesterday only.. can you please….”
Gave it again…. again on hold for 10 mins..

This continued for 4 days at a stretch and each day I started from square one.

At the end of 4th day, I was a nervous wreck.. while the guy at the other end was living it up, watching movies and enjoying good food. Did he spare a thought to the caller who called him everyday ? Not a chance !!
Whereas a good part of my day went in raving & ranting to whoever was kind enough or unfortunate enough to lend me an ear. So this is a no brainer for you..who is the loser ?

God invented Call centers and Customer Service Reps to impart the message of patience to humankind and in the process gave them the gift of true happiness. Amen.

7 thoughts on “Happiness in Incompetency

  1. The Nomad

    Oh don’t even get me started, this entity called “customer care” is my bête noire. That reminds me of the long fights I have had (or failed to have even after holding the line and pressing the correct buttons for 2 hours!!!) with Reliance customer care, Airtel people and some others. And after unsuccessful time and money spent on my endeavors with Tata Indicom, I gave up trying to get my refund of almost Rs 1000 in total.

    I just now remembered something, do you still get a lot of stupid and commercial text messages on mobiles and unsolicited text messages from the service provider? Selling something or the other? Does the DNC directory work?

    And yes, I believe I too have found incompetent colleagues to be happier and more cheerful.

  2. The Nomad

    Besides, I am sure if we were to bank our happiness on things like safety in society, vegetables not colored with carcinogenic dyes, milk not mixed with annihilative concoctions, fair wages, law & order, smooth bureaucratic processes, honesty, trillions of Rupees not getting vaporized in scams, good govt. schools, good health care, good roads and transport, special facilities for the differently abled and senior citizens, and such fanciful things, then we would be a very despondent nation. It is exactly this chalta hai attitude of incompetence and total lack of integrity that allows the 1 billion people to find some semblance/ surrogate means of happiness in life.

  3. Ajit

    Hilarious indeed!

    Oh, tell me all about it…the exasperation experienced when faced with abysmal incompetency is an ethereal experience which has to be felt and soaked from deep within…something way beyond the scope of words at least for mere mortals like me 🙂 The very thought of giving ONE TIGHT SLAP to the perpetrator along with voicing out the sound of the tight slap in the loudest possible way is one way i unwind myself from it. Tsssshhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
    Aha! how delightful it is to slap the living daylights out of the B$%^&@d!

  4. PhillyGuy

    You know what perpetuates this cycle of “happiness” on the part of those “incompetents”? Lack of consequences. If there was genuine competition amongst those “broadband” providers (wait…I don’t want to ping that goddamned server, I am gonna call the sales guy from the other company), or if the judiciary there was in turn competent enough to respond in time and with enough monetary compensation(72 hours of no connectivity means Rs xyz that you owe me in lost productivity over and above refunds), you would find that more competent reps would materialize overnight. India is rather unique because its a democratic republic with not enough democratic participation (how many educated folks vote, let alone run for office), and a so called free market with nothing free about the manipulated market (what’s all this crap about circles and zones, let them compete for my money!). People argue that the Chinese system is better than India’s because “educated”/”informed” people can overrule ordinary folks. Not true. The Chinese system appears to be better because genuine information is suppressed there. In India information about the actual state of affairs is not suppressed but the educated/informed just don’t care. At least you do. It takes two to tango. Corruption and incompetence have to be tolerated. They stop where they are not. So please don’t join the ranks of the not caring. Kudos to you, Nomad and Ajit for ranting. Rant away. BTW this post reminds me of another thought that has been playing in my mind for a while. The concept of “brain drain”. I have always wondered as to why many of the best and the brightest of societies like India , Ireland, China et all have chosen to emigrate to the West. Surely the lifestyle is one factor. Wealth and greener pastures, sure. But there was always something missing. I think you just completed the jigsaw puzzle for me senora. Incompetence and corruption. Fight or flight. Many chose flight. Some choose to fight. Take your pick. But please dont stop caring.

    PS the happiness these incompetents feel?……is the same as that of the goat chewing fodder before the slaughter! Contentment is a double edged sword ma’am. The cow is content and so is the buddha, which one would you like to be 🙂

  5. chsuresh63

    Hahaha! Ash! When you put your humor hat on, you relegate all us ordinary mortals to the shade 🙂

    By the way, I am one of those benighted souls who takes on responsibility when he takes on a job. So, in order to arrive at this Nirvana, I decided not to take on jobs at all 🙂

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