Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Cell Phones, Bad Company Policies, and Wages

October 18, 2005 Wednesday
Dateline - Missouri
Cell Phone Miasma

All the cell phone companies in the world need to take a lesson: Do Not Create Stupid Policies!

Case In Point: Cingular Wireless

Money's been a little tight these last couple of months, so I finally had to call the cell phone company to (I loathe these words, their use takes so much time in maintenance after you use them) Make Payment Arrangements!

So what do I get? I've had service with these guys for about four months now. Four months, out of a two year service agreement. Two years! You'd think that a company as large as Cingular would want to consider helping a long-term customer with a bit of minor financial trouble. All I needed to do is extend the payment time a few weeks--no more than three--so I would have enough moola in the bank for rent, food, and my phone bill.

This is no minor account, it's connected to a Handspring Treo 650 Smart Phone with all the trimmings that PalmOS has to offer. I have full MediaNet GPRS on this thing, and pay $145 a month for 1500 standard minutes and 3000 nights and weekend minutes, and pay an extra $7 bucks a month to up my weekend and night beginning time from 9pm to 7pm.

So I call these bozos and what do I get? I get this response from a first-level customer service tech: "You can't make payment arrangements until you've had a minimum of six months of service."

Now what is that all about? What kind of nonsensical inc. bureaucrat sets up a policy like this? So they think that customers in the first six months don't have to juggle the money around a bit if they fall short of the due date, and those with six months of service and beyond, do? Nay, I say! Foul, I cry! Foul as a week-old free-range chicken flattened by a semi baking in the sun on a Nevada highway! (And that's one rank-smellin' chicken, folks 8-P)

So I get transferred to a supervisor, but no answer cometh for a while. I think the XFER may have failed, as all I'm getting is silence. No hold music or nothin'! So I wait for a bit, then hang up. Just glad my minutes don't get used for service calls to Cingular Customer Service.

Humble Fishe's Gentle Suggestion to Cingular Wireless: Nix the no-payment-plan-before-six-months-has-passed rule, treat your customers who are conscientious enough to call you and make payment arrangements like friggin' Royalty, and give your first-line customer service techs the authority to assist someone who needs payment arrangements, without having to call a supervisor, save for the most obtuse difficulties where liability is a real issue and a pro's advice is needed. <*((((><

Temporary Services, Wages, and Wage Slaves Revisited

Temporary services are those somewhat-sought-after venues for people in between what are termed real jobs. Those people who are in between the rings of the upwardly-mobile employment ladder often turn to these temp services as a means to an end, primarily that of being able to have at least some work before the next canoe leaves the shelter of the cove, bound for your new, permanent employment horizon.

First off, I want to state plainly that I have not had any trouble with any of the major names in temp services. I have worked for the likes of Kelly and Manpower, and have had my share of good jobs and not-so-good jobs. I have also never worked for over $8 bucks an hour, which brings me to the second part of this missive:

Temporary Employees Need More Money in 2005! This is not--decidedly NOT 1960!

So why rehash this overstated state-of-affairs of what has become known as the wage slave? Because it needs to be! Over and over and over again! Just because someone doesn't have a degree in something or other is no excuse for not paying someone commensurate with the cost of living in a given area. That's for the nice apartments, people, not the run-down ones in slumville. Come to think of it, there shouldn't be any slums, either, but that's for another post **-].

So what am I saying? I'm saying that $8 bucks an hour for unloading and moving heavy furniture is not--decidedly not appropo! Today's financial climate for housing is astronomical in contrast with what non-degreed people with little experience have to settle for when it comes to wages. $15 an hour is more like it!

Now to those of you who think that $15 an hour is way way too much, I have to ask, Why? Don't you want me to be able to buy my expensive jewelry from your jewelry store? Don't you want me to purchase my expensive cellular phone/pda from your cell shop? Trust me, folks, I ain't doin' it on $8 bucks an hour.

Waitstaff also has it rough, when congress allows restaurant owners to pay their so-called Tipped Employees $2.13 (varies by state) an hour as a base rate. $15 an hour is a more balanced minimum wage. Hell! Even entry-level workers in the trades (and they're not skilled at that level) make more than your average waitress, although the waitress can do well on a good night, but this type of income is not regular, and that is where the $15 an hour allows someone to pay their rent, food, and utility bills without worrying at night.

Another thing crosses my mind--and happened to me recently. I just dealt with a locally-owned temporary service that has been in business for eighteen years (according to the owner), that wouldn't give me the name of the company they were calling me about.

They called me this afternoon, offering me a job loading and unloading trucks--a permanent job--for three to four days a week, at $7.50 an hour. When I queried them on the name of the company, they said I wouldn't be able to get that information unless I took the job first.

Humble Fishe Asks: What Gives? Why the hush-up routine? Didn't you, the temp service, realize that you made me feel like a piece of gum on the bottom of a shoe that, before it arrived on the shoe, did 1800 miles on the left-front driving wheel of a Kenworth? Well, you did!

I want to know who a company is and what they do, decidedly before I give my consent to work there! When I asked this question: "Why do you feel a need to be so clandestine about the name of the company?" I received something completely unexpected: That of having to explain to this supposed owner of an eighteen-year-old, evidently-successful temporary service what the word clandestine meant! All I could do is think geeeeeeeeeeeeez!

That was when she reminded me of an interview I had the next day, on the 19th of October, to establish just what it is that I'm interested in. Let me tell you, that I'm not at all completely secure in these folks when their head honcho doesn't even recognize a common word in the English Language. Guess she was never a fan of Double-Oh-Seven 8-P.

Humble Fishe's Gentle Suggestion To Temporary Services: Pay your workers $15 bucks an hour minimum (at present costs of living for a basic apartment, utilities, and groceries) and don't be so damn secretive 8-P about your clients! If you're in need of that much security, then you're a government front for the (here's that word again) Clandestine Services and you shouldn't be running a 'secret' recruiting station out of there, anyway! <*((((><

Peace, Health, and Happiness to All of You
--The Humble Fishe