Monday, October 6, 2008

Humanity and sale persons

I tried to cancel an old internet connection.

Contrary to my personal preferences, the internet company has a torture procedure to the criminal wishing to leave their service. It is done "nicely".

First, the customer service guy is not in charge of cancellations. There is another department for that "customer conservations".

The guy is probably a nice person trying to make his hourly going rate by sitting in the call center. I felt ashamed by getting angry. I clarified to him. "I have nothing against you personally, but I am terribly angry for the company forcing on me this torture. They are cynically exploiting my time and energy".

Anyway, he tried to talk me into deals, until I got tired and in the middle of his sentence told him "let me free, cancel the thing".
He got offended (I guess it is a game. But who knows). "Will not you let me finish the sentence?"

I appreciate that the person was so nice as to let me close it that way. But it left me in an unease feeling.

Dillema: this guy is exploiting my time unfairly. I owe him nothing. But it is hardly his initiation. It is like beating the cop in a Sovietic Gulag. He may have been forced to arrest me, and will suffer tredemously if I escape.
Also, the guy has his emotional system sensitive. The fact that I am not willing - justically - to spend another second with him can feel still painful for him emotionaly.
He is also followed. The calls are recorded. If he tries to be human and is not to torture me to the maximum, he can get fired.

OTOH, I do not buy the notion that you can send innocent folks to torture me, and I will have to behave nicely toward them. Collaborators of crime cannot expect mercy.
Expecting me to show mercy is taking the cinycism of agency problem [1] to new heights. Not only can you steal my time and energy throught your workers, you also want me to behave. I would round the ball, and torture your workers. At least people will be not be happy to work in an ugly enterprise.
But this logic feels theoretical and inhuman. This sorry young persons who tortured me is a sentient human, and it has to be taken into account.

personal biases: 1) I am more annoyed by talking over the phone especially sale persons. 2) I value these offers much less than an average person. These considerations tip teh balance strongly into the negative area.
But do not imagine that my exceptionality is why it hurts me. It hurts everybody, but people are used to bend their head below the disaster whihle I am not shy.

[1] Agency problem. When An agent is deciding for you. The interests of the agent are differenct from yours, whihc leads to decisions and actions that are bad for you.
This problem is worse as the complexity of actions and decisions grow, like in modern life. A good example of agency is when bank managers take risks with shareholders money. The managers can only win (the yearly bonus). The long term risk is on shareholders, and one can guess that the personal interests on managers take precedence in many cases.


Anonymous said...

maybe read the introverts advantage can change the way some people behave

Yechezkel Zilber said...

Thanks for the book recommendation.
What a poor world! so many books and so little place in my little head and tiny schedule....