Saturday, July 16, 2005

Things I Do With My Different Groups of Friends

**They say that if you lied down with dogs, you get fleas in the morning. I say that you choose your dogs, and then love your fleas. To hell with everybody else.

1. With the kababatas (my childhood friends for more than ten years now), it's a couple of smokes after dinner. And then a few more after that until it proceeds to three hours of chain smoking. Somebody then takes out a pot of hot water, and then it's a coffee party up until breakfast.

Recently, we have been actively interrupting this itinerary with movie reviews. Yup, movie reviews. Turns out everybody is a critic, and though it's different levels of extrospection uncommon to people our age, it's still a barrel of monkeys and all that funny snot.And then when we do get more than the required amount of nicotine in the system, our brains are just soo pumped, we can talk about anything.

Sometimes, a conversation starts with a tsunami. It then mutates into this funny assortment of concerns which also mentions the government, religion, sexuality, and all that jazz nobody ever touches with a ten foot stick. The last time we had a long talk was over a pot of coffee and a couple of packs of lights. This was brewed after a bottle of tequila, and believe me, alcohol plus nicotine plus caffeine made me so eager to admit I was gay all over. If I hadn't done that before, I knew I sure will.

2. With the queers, it's laughing our hearts out, and then getting laid. OR getting laid first, and then laughing out loud. And it also happens too, y'know, laughing out loud while getting laid on account of some people can be such stupid fuck buddies.Here's a piece of unsolicited advice, a great lay isn't really with how your partner looks like. It's not even with the range of his shotgun. It's not EVEN with how he uses it, since there's no OTHER way to appreciate it with. I would describe a good lay as this ONE sex machine who knows how to work his tongue, knows how to move his body and use his hands, and has the best damn timing like a Rolex.

To quote the magnificent Stan Lee, "'nuff sed."

3. With the SnB boys, it's playing pool straight for at least two hours. There was a time when we did this for seven hours straight, but there was a thirty minute interval for dinner, and then six and a half hours of uninterrupted gambling.There are times when a gay guy appreciates the male stink, most especially when it's stink coming from the people you're having fun with. It's so fun, I never did mind getting all sweaty and oily and dirty with my right hand all blued up from the cue chalk. Minus being naked from the waist up, I WAS still one of the guys back then, and I'd revel in my pool brilliance while I trash talked like Tom Sawyer.

Sometimes, me and the girls, the SnB girls, would get set and pull an all nighter over a case or two of beer. Or three, but it doesn't really matter since we'd be laughing at each other in the morning over who looks the most like shit.

Those were easily some of my best days.

4. Random stuff with officemates from my different companies. But it's usually getting shitfaced for the most part. And kicking the crap out of them over a few games of pool.

One of the scariest things is a yuppy, on a payday, with his office buds, and helluva lot of time to spare.

5. The nerds are gone, but there was a time when it was nothing but video games and CCG's all along. We never knew how to smoke then, but if we did, we could have died already.

This was mostly back in high school where I associated myself with this group of nerds. Yup, nerds. So there goes a confession, and here's another one: I graduated with honors back then thanks to this unlikely motley crew.Do I want to see any one of them sometime soon, sit down and have a cup of hot chocolate? Hell yeah.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Confessions of a Telemarketer

**Or "Why" Spelled in ___ Different Ways.
**Or "Kissing Telemarketing Goodbye."

If, for some reason, you beg to differ with all the hostility you can summon, then leave me alone. Do something else, like polish your sales pitch, or practice speaking faster. I've been there, and I CAN sell. I can probably outsell you ten to one if I'm still interested, but Ben Tumbling has left the building and is now doing a happy job as a technical support personnel.
And don't get offended. You'll get over the effin truth anyway.

What do you mean you can't go fuck yourself?Aside from learning how to speak like an American and argue with an American, the other good thing about telemarketing is quitting.

I've been doing a lot of telemarketing for about more than a year now, and for some people, that's just about long enough. I did hardcore telemarketing, phone scamming, and business listings for more than is required, and I figured it's just about time to rinse my brain cells for something fresh. I quit doing it, and since my resignation letter was as honest as it can get, there are still other reasons which strengthened my resolve to go and, as those Americans placed it, "get a better job."

So I did it for the pay, and the pay's excellent. There was a time when my tax alone was another person's income for a full pay period, and that made me feel good. Not because I'm making this much money, but because I'm worth this much dough. And I wasn't even THAT good yet. So I stayed to figure out how far I can go. Turns out that I wouldn't go THAT far, thanks to the various influences I met along the way.

There isn't much room for learning. You can only learn as much, and then your brain proceeds to rot from the same mind numbing telemarketing. I mean, how much brain work does it require for anyone to update a business listing and sell crap after that? See, you can only do so much with your rebuttals, twist them and turn them around for plausible manipulation as you please. But it sometimes verges on scamming, so there isn't much you can really DO with them. It's always the same routine, day after day after day. And then the day after that. You can get to master everything in this much time, but what happens after that? You can get lucky and learn a new product in a span of six months, but that is only if you are lucky enough. And unless that happens, you're stuck to updating online business listings which nobody ever looks up.

I'm smarter than this sonofabitch who's cussing at me over the phone, and I wonder why I can't just cuss him back and get it over with? Damn, I learned the art of cursing assholes early on in grade school, and it's pretty much a secondary nature. But there's somebody listening in to this call and may actually be recording it for posterity. Quality. So I give him the finger while I'm doing my rebuttals, but, for all the wrong reasons, it just doesn't feel right.

Quality in this context simply refers to the quality of the verbal receipt involved in all this telemarketing. We record the agreements over the phone, and we're doing that just to say that we have a tape of them saying YES to the sales pitch. They have no other choice but to pay us since we have them caught on tape. And just to be real sure, the tape's well recorded and the conversation was just as clear as bottled water. Quality, then, makes sure that the receipt's flawless, and that the scam's a work in progress.

I studied mathematics for five years in college, and for the most part, math at my level (as a telemarketer) is basically all about counting sales. The extra mile in this instance would actually involve DIVIDING my daily sales by this much hours, or computing my cash incentives to involve MULTIPLICATION, and that's basically it. I never needed to use what I know in differential equations, operations research, or even linear algebra; it's just addition, division, and multiplication, and I'm all set.

That probably explains why undergraduates overachieve in this field.

The previous reason then gives birth to another question: I finished college for this? And for some of my friends back then: I passed the board for this? I'm beginning to wonder whatever happened to my "edge" in this industry that brags of its fair share of successful undergraduates. I'm getting as much as this telemarketer in my team, and yet I'm the one with the diploma. And then when I go on and think about it, I can always use my diploma and apply as a teacher, or a programmer, or a teller in a sperm bank. But then it's either earning the minimum wage or working as a telemarketer. And there really is no sense in pointing out that you're a telemarketer with a degree in mathematics. We all sound the same to the person we're speaking with over the phone. And we receive the same paycheck as everyone else.

It needed a wake up call to realize all this. One of my most memorable telemarketing calls was with the owner of this bakery. When I introduced myself over the phone, THE verbal handshake as they called it back then, he interrupted me and told me that he needs to close the door. Then I heard a click, and then he started with this enraged litany over harrassment. He said that he's been called by US people more than a dozen times, and he has been polite all along. For some reason, I knew that I'm speaking with a man nearing his breaking point, and that was more that validated when he started screaming: "What have we done to deserve this kind of harrassment? Not buy anything from you guys?"

I received a lot of calls very similar to this one, but for some reason, this was the ONE call I needed. This baker rattled me more than $10,000 threats, the Secretary of state, or the Better Business Bureau. He isn't even cursing, but all of the foulmouthing from a hundred previous assholes does not even begin to compare with this one guy who's had enough.

The common rebuttal to this kind of objection, when the customer's at his breaking point, would go something like, "Sir, I'm terribly sorry you feel that way, so let me just go on ahead and remove your from our calling list." Tough luck, since I knew better. At the back of my head, I was like, "Yes, I might be telling you that we'll be removing your name from our calling list. But I'm just telling you that, since we'll still be calling this number soon, and we'll be wishing like hell that someone else will answer. And then we'll throw him the sales pitch. We can tell you one hundred times that we'll remove your name from our calling list, but that's never going to happen. Your number will still end up as another prospect call. So, come to think of it, we are harrassing you, sir."

I didn't even try pushing the product forward. I just wished him a nice day, went on break, and started thinking. Maybe I've had enough myself?


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