Life in an Indian call center

Mmechanic sez, "Andrew Marantz wondered how BPOs [ed: Business Process Outsourcing, AKA call centers] train Indians who have never even known a Westerner to sound and act like one. Since the call centers wouldn't let a journalist in to their culture-training sessions, Marantz decided to become a trainee himself. The resulting article from Mother Jones magazine is alternatively funny, sad, and thought-provoking."

During our second day of culture training, Lekha dissected the Australian psyche. It took about 20 minutes.

"Just stating facts, guys," Lekha began, as we scribbled notes, "Australia is known as the dumbest continent. Literally, college was unknown there until recently. So speak slowly." Next to me, a young man in a turban wrote No college in his notebook.

"Technologically speaking, they're somewhat backward, as well. The average person's mobile would be no better than, say, a Nokia 3110 classic." This drew scoffs from around the room.

"Australians drink constantly," Lekha continued. "If you call on a Friday night, they'll be smashed--every time. Oh, and don't attempt to make small talk with them about their pets, okay? They can be quite touchy about animals."

"What kind of people are there in Australia?" a trainee asked. "What are their traits?"

"Well, for one thing," Lekha said, "let's admit: They are quite racist. They do not like Indians. Their preferred term for us is--please don't mind, ladies--'brown bastards.' So if you hear that kind of language, you can just hang up the call."

My Summer at an Indian Call Center

(Thanks, Mmechanic!)

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