d_s (donnaidh_sidhe) wrote in techsupport,

Inspired by the previous post

I work in a Canada-based tech support office that serves plants that are mostly in the United States. We have maybe seven techs out of a total of eighty who speak with noticeable accents: one British, one Cameroon-French, one British-Indian, one Australian, one Filipina, one Spanish, and one Indian. (People also tend to think I'm Irish. Right.) This being a rather metropolitan city and us not being a company of xenophobic fucks, it isn't actually an issue because these techs are good at their jobs and perfectly understandable. It also wouldn't be so much of a pain in the ass if these technically inept people, who often do not display any basic problem-solving skills or any other noticeable qualities beyond a stubborn insistence that the problem cannot possibly be with their equipment because "it was just working yesterday," didn't insist that their inability to follow instructions was as a result of the fact that one of my more experienced techs rolls his Rs on occasion and omits them at the ends of words.

People being the dicks they can often be, every now and then one of our accented speakers gets callers who insist they need to speak to "an American" and refuse to do any troubleshooting. Our Abuse department head takes great pleasure in dealing with the most obnoxious types of these to the effect of "if you will not treat my workers with respect, you can find yourself with traffic shaping out the wazoo until you explain to your local CS office why you're being a bigot." He doesn't quite say it in that many words, but it's what he's carried out on them.

My favourite story was when one of the techs, exasperated by a rather PEBKACky woman completely refusing to deal with him and wanting to "talk to someone who speaks American," stood up and announced loudly to the tech pit, "This woman here would like to speak to someone who speaks American. Does anyone here speak American? Don't worry, ma'am, I will find someone who speaks American for you." The entire pit broke out into laughter and jeering to the effect of, "I dunno, I just speak Canadian English," and, "I don't know if she'll understand us, they just speak American over there," and even, "They fought a war to boot the English out and now they want it back?"

Eventually we decided that the call should be transferred to our British tech, who would put on a proper Queen's English accent and ham it up as best as she could, which elicited cheering and applause from the pit to the point where Network Ops and Dev were gophering in their cubicles and wondering what was going on, and the Abuse head also came around to see what was going on. In the meantime, the previous tech had returned to the call only to find that the caller had disconnected.

He later told us that he hadn't muted his headset. She'd heard every jeer.

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