When I think of outsourcing, I think of big business. I think of the manufacturing of auto parts and assembly line products being produced in a foreign country to lower the cost of the product. I think of shoes, many of which are made with American parts and shipped to China to be assembled there. What I don’t think of is the outsourcing of a local newspaper.
I mean, come on. Is your first thought when you hear the voice and accent of someone from India, that you’re going to get the score of yesterday’s Little League baseball game or that you’re going to be told which organization is holding the Pot Luck dinner to raise funds for uniforms for your child’s high school marching band? No, it is not.
My first thought was that I got the wrong number so I hung up and dialed it again. And once again, I was put on hold and once again, I got a woman from India taking calls for the Circulation Department of a local newspaper.
When she asked me how she could help me I told her that I would like her to stop the newspapers from being delivered to my home because I can’t bend down to retrieve them and that when they are allowed to pile up in the driveway, it makes it look like the house is abandoned.
It went in one ear and out the other ear. She kept telling me that the newspapers are complimentary and I kept telling her I don’t want them. Then she told me that she would have to look up the information from my subscription before she could cancel the order and I told her that I don’t have a subscription. She said, “You must have a subscription; you’ve been receiving our newspapers for a year” and I told her, “I’ve never had a subscription and I don’t want to receive your newspapers.”
The conversation went from bad to worse.
Her: “You must have ordered the subscription and it has to go through regular channels to get the delivery stopped.”
Me: “I never ordered your newspaper so there is no information that you have to look up. Just stop the delivery.”
Her: “But the newspaper is complimentary and you must have subscribed to it.”
Me: “No, I never subscribed to it and I don’t want it.”
Her: “You must have subscribed to it because you’ve been receiving it for a year, but don’t worry, you won’t be charged for it.”
Me: “I wouldn’t pay for something I never ordered and don’t want.
Her: But it’s complimentary.”
Me: “Look, I had an accident and can’t bend down. The police came to my door and they picked up the newspapers that one day, but this has to stop.”
Her: In very soft voice. “Oh, I’m sorry.” Then in a much louder voice, “Can you ask your neighbors to pick up your newspapers?”
Me: “No, I cannot. Please just stop the delivery.”
Her: “But it’s complimentary.”
Me: “I don’t care if it’s complimentary; I don’t want it. Just stop the delivery.”
Her: “You can keep receiving it without paying for it because it’s complimentary.”
Me: “I don’t care if it’s complimentary; I just want the delivery stopped.”
Her: “Are you sure? It’s complimentary.”
Me: “Yes, I’m sure that I don’t want it and I don’t care that it’s complimentary.”
Her: Sighing. “All right. As of tomorrow, you won’t receive any more complimentary newspapers.”
Me: “Thank you.” And then I hung up.
I wonder if all foreigners perceive us as grasping ugly Americans who are always looking for handouts. We, as a people, seem enchanted with the idea of something being free. It almost doesn’t seem to matter what it is as long as it’s free.
It also doesn’t seem to matter how much personal information we have to divulge to get this free thing, when people see the word FREE, they will give you whatever you want.
Does the average American cringe when one of these online ads asks for the annual income of the person? Probably, but only if a free gift isn’t being given away.
It doesn’t seem to make any difference how smart a person is, the lure of getting something for nothing overrides a person’s common sense and he is quite willing to divulge personal information in exchange for getting something free. And, on the other hand, he can be heard railing against the government for invading his privacy.
With this in mind, I shouldn’t have been too surprised that the woman from India in charge of the Circulation Department of our local newspaper kept emphasizing that the newspaper is complimentary as a reason for not stopping delivery. She must have thought, “Stupid American. I told her that it’s free and she still doesn’t want it.”
No wonder we have such an unfavorable reputation around the world in spite of what our politicians would have us believe. We are usually seen as arrogant and grasping, taking things that don’t belong to us and building our fortunes on the backs of our workers.
We’re caught between a rock and a hard place. If we try to correct that perception we’re seen as weak; if we allow that perception to stand, we’re seen as tyrannical bullies.
So, now that I don’t want to accept these complimentary newspapers and I have been very insistent on having them stop the deliveries, am I going to be seen as weak, stupid, and a failure who is not even capable of being a Capitalist Pig?
Maybe I’ll send them the name and address of someone who might want a complimentary newspaper.