Wednesday, January 12, 2011

No Problem

Lucky me. I am on vacation in the Caribbean. There is a lot to love about being here. It would be ungrateful in the extreme to complain. My difficulty is insignificant in the face of the comforts and beauty of this lovely place. BUT. I do have this miniscule beef. “No problem.” Everyone here seems to say it. Whatever one requests, the immediate response is not, “Sure.” Nor, “Gladly.” Nor, “With Pleasure.” Never even a simple, “Yes.” Always, “No problem.”

So what’s my problem, you ask. Fair enough. It’s this. I have learned to despise that phrase. Fate has dealt me some major annoyances lately: a computer virus, a broken GPS in the car, a preordered e-book that would not download once it launched, and monumentally, a screw up by my DSL-line provider. In the course of trying to get assistance from help line agents all over the US and in Mumbai for these several PROBLEMS, the immediate response from the Helpers was ALWAYS, guess what? “No problem.” But what I was reporting to them were actual problems. And with a fair amount of frequency, the Helpers not only could not solve them, but in two cases, after saying, “No Problem,” repeatedly, they proceeded to screw up my situation further.

Here are examples of dialogs with employees of the DSL provider:

Me: “I responded to an ad from your company offering higher speed for less money and now my bill says I am paying more, rather than less.”

Him: “No Problem.”

Me: “I hope not.”

Him: “What?”

Me: “I hope we can solve this problem.”

Him: “No problem.”

After the first three Helpers could not figure it out, the fourth discovered that instead of upgrading my current service, they had added a new one, and now I was paying for two. The solution was to eliminate the unnecessary extra service.

Me: “You aren’t going to cut off my working DSL, are you?”

Her: “No problem.”

The next day—

Me: “Blah, blah blah… So, they must have disconnected my working DSL, and now I have no connection at all.”

Him: “No problem.”

—Annamaria Alfieri

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