Thursday, September 4, 2008

Evening Finalé: Of Gay Call Center Agents and of Service

Just this night, I slept pretty early. Way early and I loved it. I went to bed at 8PM in the evening. Maybe 30 mins. later, after having completely recovered from the heavy tummy due to eating, I was finally able to sleep.

Even before that, while it was still earlier than 8PM, I felt sleepy already due to resting in the terrace with my Radio on. The neighbors, by the usual, were beginning to play their streak of Videoke session of which almost everyone I know of asks me what occasion there is for such a noisy celebration. If they're not drinking beer together almost every after nights, they are doing Karaoke.

By some wonderful coincidence, with my Radio on to cover the noise from the neighboring house, I happened to hear a song on the radio that said what my heart contains that time. I prayed it out to my Dear Father God after which I felt lighter. The terrace is where I thought of sleeping early. After that, I went downstairs to brush my teeth which I did only after finishing the distraction of donuts and more food.

My sleep was really sound and pleasant. It was pretty peaceful and I loved it if not for the noise made by the neighbors building up. Not only were the neighbors the ones who were noisy -- my brother who was near where I slept was starting his own compendium of disturbance. It was a SOUND sleep indeed that woke me up completely a few minutes before 11PM. I muttered, half-consciously, that "I can't sleep with all the noise of the neighbors going on and you [my brother] playing your MP3s pretty loud!" That pissed me off the way how a peaceful sleeper should be when rid and robbed of his state of liberty and comfort. The things that went on were all normal by far.

So, when I woke up, I picked up my mobile phone after it vibrated from at the bottom of my feet in the bed and saw two (2) text messages waiting for me to be read. I replied to a text message of a friend, Mike, who unusually said "hi...". At first I thought that he probably has something really BIG, IMPORTANT, and URGENT to tell me for him to text me in that unusual time of night. That made me reload my mobile account immediately because I only had 1 peso left because I don't fancy text messaging anymore as compared to before. Haha.

The talk went on, and I noticed that the "tone" of text of this friend of mine, Mike, seemed to go strange. I was expecting that he was about to say something sensitive, maybe ask something about his girlfriend, or I was worrying that they're going through hard times again, so I obliged myself in answering his messages. The messages went on and 'he' seemed to go on asking about mundane, insensible stuff. He's not like that -- he's logical, rational, and prideful when you talk to him, and then he just goes on talking to me like we're 'friend' friends? A few texts more and I thought he sounded like his girlfriend and that I told him. He began to reply in such a way that I could recognize his text message "tone". A few messages more revealed that he was really with Jamie and that they were in the Asian Hospital because Jamie's mom, whose daughter is Mike's girlfriend, has been hospitalized due to some sort of viral gastro infection or something... So that explains the weird messages in between. I won't detail on the contents of the message to avoid crazy controversies! :))

Alongside with that, I talked to lolo Jaime, the youngest brother of my dear lola Herminia. They have just arrived today because lolo Jaime escorted his daughter, Tita Aimee (I'm not sure how it's spelled), here to help with the office work. That time when I woke up due to the completely peace-shattering noise everywhere, my mom asked me to prepare a bed for lolo Jaime to sleep on. There was this folding bed in the Terrace and sleeping there would be nice because of the cool evening breeze. I installed the bed and escorted lolo Jaime in.

During that time, something striked my mind about the whereabouts of lolo Jaime's home was because he asked me if I had ever been where they live, in Maragondon, Cavite, before. I just so remembered Jollie Diquit, a good friend of mine in De La Salle University - Dasmariñas, who also was a fellow BUTIL (Basic University Training In Leadership) Lasalyano delegate and proud member. She was a distinguished student-leader too and has been in pretty good terms with me. I used to help her and her friends in difficult programming projects, assignments, lessons, and more. The extent of our friendship exceeds in a way that I trust Jollie as a really good friend, and on her side, I believe she shows confidence in what I can do. To top it off, I discovered that she too is an understanding Christian friend which eliminates big gaps, and adds up to the bridge of connection for the two of us. That sums up our harmonious friendly relationship.

Even before that, the reason why she came to my mind is because the first time I met her was when my high school classmate, Jescelle Villanueva, of two years, 2nd and 4th year, introduced her to me as one of their prided-at block-mates. She was sometimes referred to as the "best of her class" and/or "the 'Ate'" of their block. One of Jescelle's introductory information about her is that she belonged to the few ones who used to pass the difficult subjects where only a select and really worthy few could. Also, during that time, Jollie, this beautiful lady whom I have just newly met, told me that she thinks that I looked familiar. She thinks and she insisted that she saw me before. She asked me if I've been to 'Maragondon before' and I told her that I'm not sure but I think I'm a bit familiar with the name.

I tried my very best, that time, to recall what and/or where Maragondon is and I was able to remember a few trace of what or where it was. I remember the architect's house where my mother side's clan gathered together for a family reunion. That was the time where there was a carnival and other fancy stuff going on probably because of the fiestas. I think that WAS the Maragondon that she was talking about. However, I just couldn't remember a trace of her face in that event. It's probably because I was quite oblivious and self-centered the time I visited the site. I only wanted home and computer games and/or special treatments. Haha.

With that aside, I came back asking lolo Jaime if he knew the Diquit clan. He told me he does. He told me a lot about their local life and other stuff like how he was connected to the politicians here and there, and he explained to me what the genealogical connections were. At that time, I really got excited because the pieces finally started to fit. With the help of lolo Jaime, I finally remembered where the Maragondon that Jollie talked about. It was somewhere else the one I recalled, although near it.

I got the details of the place. Finally, I no longer felt like a lost stranger to Maragondon like it's a place way far away for me to know it. No longer is it that dreams only take me to it if not by accident. I even remember the exact time that we visited Maragondon. That was when I was in between my 6th grade of school and my 1st year in high school. I can say that because I remember the time that we were in the gray L300 van kidding one another with me being the star that time because of my mala-balagtas lingo. I used to do very deep tagalog words that were very matalinhaga than the usual that time. I even think I beat the senior high school students who only discovered and played with the thing a few years later. On our way to Maragondon, we were in the van having fun through my uncanny knowledge and skill in using tagalog in a very humorous way.

I immediately tried to contact Jollie Diquit. At my third (3rd) attempt of calling her, she was finally able to answer my phone call. I asked her first where she was and if I had disturbed her. I later told her how I now remembered where Maragondon exactly was and later asked how she was. Hahaha. What a small world it was. She sounded a little different today but I was glad to hear from her. The call only lasted 1:43 minutes, if I remember that right.

After the call, I checked my balance with Globe's new promo TV advertisement, 0.5 cents/second call, in mind. I was a little bit taken-aback by how it didn't work. I thought that, when I saw my credits left, it might be due to my SULITXT request, only to find out that it didn't really fit the computation and that the request failed to register.

Just a few minutes before midnight or so, I tried to call the Globe Telecom Customer Service to clarify the matter of confusion that I was in. I was then attended by this male agent after the operator. I wasn't able to take note of what his name was because his line was quite choppy. I completely doubt that it was on my side because I had a full signal bar on my mobile phone that time.

One of the things that I've noticed about the Customer Service Representative of Globe Telecoms is that he started to sound gay if not effeminate. I went on saying that I have something to ask about their service. Of course, since the usual SOP is that they first get my name and my mobile number to check my account, I gave out my mobile number and my name, Matthew. To the extent of my knowledge, I suspect that it is their SOP to get a customer's name so that they could properly address the customer while talking to them. That has been told by one of their agents before, and one of my older friends.

My concern about the 0.50 cents/second call has been answered so far. The agent told me that the promo service is only applicable during Sundays and that it has also already ended last August 31. He even told me that they, however, still haven't received any notice of its termination. I might be able to try the service this coming Sunday if I want to check it out.

The thing about the phone call is that the agent seemed to talk more than what I asked for, requiring me to interrupt and stop him from speaking of unneeded information any further. He seemed to "like" to talk more about "their services" while I really had nothing more to ask.

Lastly, the thing that bothered me most is that the agent, when I was about to drop the call, immediately started to unusually ask my full name. I was a bit puzzled at first at where and why they need it for. I believe that customer's personal and private information should be kept private or else breaches can make the service providers accountable. I asked why he or "they" seemed to need it and he answered me that it was "due to future services" or so which is possible but just strange. It felt really weird.

Even from the start of the phone call, he almost forgot asking what my name was. Later, when he remembered to ask those info from me, it sounded a bit more strange by the tone of his voice, showing a stream of ulterior motive, but I didn't mind it that much. That triggered more the following time when he began insisting on the need of getting my name reasoning out more that "it'll be kept confidential" between me and globe. I insisted, on the other hand, that it seems unusual and I told him that I'm not requesting for any other additional service or information and I don't need such so far. He then again reasoned out saying this time that it will only be "between me [the call center agent] and Globe Telecoms". I don't know if he made a mistake on that one or he slipped saying something that tells of a hidden agenda. Lol!

I ended the conversation by saying, "I do not really prefer on giving my full name, if that's okay. I also do not clearly understand what the point is to do that." I just didn't really feel like giving my full name. It's a personal information anyway. I came up with such a decision also due to the fact that I've just finished my ENGLRES (Research in English/English for specific purposes) course with a whopping and surprising 4.0 grade which topic was about The Effects of Information Technology to Society. It explains that one of the effects of IT is the decreasing security and privacy of users. I also have read earlier in an article from the Sophos antivirus website that there is more than 40% of users that practices divulging of personal and private information leading to identity thefts and other malicious abuse and use of other people's personal information.

As far as I'm concerned, I believe that it is illegal to steal or pick up pieces of personal information of customers, especially in the call center scene. I don't know but I think I've heard from others that they kind of prohibit bringing personal paper notes or something to record the personal information of the customers. That is respect to the customer and respect to an individual's right for privacy.

Whew! So far I have a handful to say about my evening. Haha. Good night! :)

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