When I was a kid, I collected comic books. In the storage room of my house, carefully inserted in plastic sleeves and in numerical and alphabetical order, I have boxes and boxes of comics. If it was published between 1975 and 1995, I probably have it or had it at one time in those boxes, carefully preserved and accrueing value. At times, I have sold some of these comics, mainly to make room but more for the need of money at one time or another. The summer before I went to school in England, I spent almost every sunday at my own table at a flea market, selling off duplicate copies of some of my more treasured pieces in my collection. I made $1000 just from those! I was a a happy guy! So, along with this collection, I have an encyclopedic knowledge of the history and characters of the Marvel and DC universes.
So today, one of the first things I had to do at work was call GM for an in-service date for a 2007 Grand Prix that I was stocking into our system. I call these companies every day to get in-service dates so we can know if we do any work to the vehicles, we can claim it under the factory warranty. During the week, I know that if I call during business hours, I will almost always get an American call center, but on the weekends, I know it’s a crap shoot. One of the common practices of the foreign call centers is the “Anglosized Name Change”. We have all encountered this. Someone with an obviously thick Indian accent saying “Thank you for calling chevrolet, dees ees ‘Bob Smeeth’, How may I assist you?”. I will never understand this practice, I know it’s to put the caller at ease, that they are talking to someone who will understand and be able to address their concerns, but come on? why the fake name? Just tell it like it is and move on. We are all in on this particular joke.
Anyway, so here is the conversation I just had:
“Hello, This is Reed Richards, How may I assist you?”
“I’m sorry, what was your name again??”
“From the Fantastic Four??”
“How are Sue, Johnny and Ben doing today?”
“I’m sorry sir, this is Chevrolet is there something I can help you with?”
This is when I realized that my geekiness had just made me an asshole. Here is this poor guy, just trying to do his job and I’m calling out for naming himself after a superhero. I suddenly felt like Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons, eagerly correcting and scolding those around me who were clueless to the history of my past comic book obsession. Resigned to my prickishness, I allowed him to walk me through his entire script rather than explain that I have called a million times and all I want is the in-service date.
Yes, we buy lots of these at auction.
No, really? an open re-call? I’ll get right on that.
No, thank YOU for getting me that in-service date.
Humbled, I hung up the phone and started doing some real work, hoping I don’t offend anyone else today…….