I’ve thought about this long and hard, and there is only one conclusion to this Docker/JCPenney free-flght mess:  Dockers hates women.

Hear me out.  I’m not a woman.  There is no need for me to go to BlogHer.  I was merely going to San Francisco to help the BlogHer organizers give the conference-goers their money’s worth in eye candy and sex appeal.  It is expensive to attend BlogHer.  It costs more than Disneyland, Legoland, and a meal at Souplantation — combined.  The participants expect a good time.  Sure, the organizers provide you with “speakers (mostly bloggers you can read for free online),” and some lucky bloggers will read from their best posts in a “Community Read,” but let’s be honest — can we really consider that “fun?” 

No male convention is complete with female strippers.  I believe in equality.  Blogher is dullsville without hot-looking men wandering around in their best nehru jackets, telling the female participants how “pretty they look.”  I know 3/4 of those women going to BlogHer have scheduled a salon appointment this week so they don’t look like shit.  They want to resemble that photoshopped photo they have on their profile page — at least in some way.

So, clearly, my role at BlogHer was to be “the professional flatterer,” a modern twist on the guy who is hired to make animal balloons at birthday parties.  I had already completed writing out some individual compliments for some of you, all compiled from information I took off of your own blogs.

To Female Blogger A — “You look like you’ve lost 10 pounds?  Have you been on the Oprah cleanse?”

To Female Blogger B — “The divorce has been good for you.  You look more rested and five years younger.”

To Female Blogger C — “I think a forty year old woman is at her most beautiful.  Here is the key to my hotel room.  Since your always too busy husband isn’t here, we can **** all night.  What happens at BlogHer, stays at BlogHer.”

But now Dockers has ruined it all.  The entire plan.  By refusing to give me the flight that was due to me, I am stuck in New York, spending the weekend with my mother rather than drinking high quality vodka from bloggers’ bra cups. 

But this hurts YOU — the wonderful female bloggers of the world — more than it hurts me.   Dockers is trying to sabatoge BlogHer.  Dockers hate women.  Is there any other conclusion?  Mr. Dockers CEO — weren’t you born to a woman… your own mother?  Don’t you have a wife?  A daughter?  A sister?  Don’t you like Katie Couric?  You are disappointing all of them with your total disregard to the needs of women at BlogHer. 

Dockers, it is up to you to prove this theory wrong and send Neilochka to San Francisco with the free flight he so deserves!


I just received a phone call from Sophia, which isn’t that unusual, but it about my blog, and it HAS been a while since she has taken a real keen interest in my posts.

Why did she call? She took me to task for caving in so easily to Robb’s comment on the TLC Marketing Post.

Robb is a blogger who has lived in India for the last year and a half. Because of this, he has a unique take on Meneul, the TLC Marketing customer service representative from India who was driving me crazy two days ago.

This is what Robb wrote in his comment:

Actually, in rereading this, I think someone should come to Menuel’s defense. In India, call center employees are given scripts they are to stick to, and when the conversation sways from the script, no matter how logical or necessary it may be, they MUST stick to the script or risk being fired. In a country with over a billion people, 1/4 under the poverty level, he has a good job. A job that thousands of others wished they had. What in the west is seen as a crap job, in India gives him a good salary (approx 200-300 dollars a month), maybe insurance, etc.. One posting for a job like this means thousands and thousands of applicants hoping for the chance. I am sure Menuel knew exactly what you were saying, in fact he probably has a university degree, but to give you the service you desired and deserved would have meant swaying from the mandatory script and probably have cost him his job. Here, I have seen managers slap their staff, and I have seen people yelled at and humiliated in front of their co-workers. All things which would be CNN headline news if it happened in the US. Menuel is most likely the sole or primary provider in his family and also probably supports his parents and possibly grandparents as well. He probably works 6 days a week and maybe 10 -12 hour days- all for 200 – 300 dollars a month). I know a lot of guys like him. So yes it can be frustrating, but what you experienced is just a tiny bit of a much larger issue and many young and intelligent Indians are feeling trapped in the world of offshoring and “cheap labour”. Please, the next time soemone is on the phone with someone from India or other developing country and not getting the service they want, please remember, it is not due to the staff on the other end of the phone, it is due to corporate processes and behaviors. Please take it out on the company, not the man or woman doing their job.

I responded by writing:

Robb — thank you. I absolutely agree. I think most people know this. This is exactly what the corporation wants — for us to blame them!

Sophia seemed to think that I was trying to hard to look like the nice liberal rather than being honest. She said it is a bad policy for customers to start worrying about the customer service’s feelings — in the context of customer service. Soon, companies will be hiring children and old woman just so we never complain.

I have to say, Sophia has a point.  I have nothing against Menuel, but do I really want to sit around worrying about his economic conditions?  I wasn’t mean or insulting to him.  But he was hired to be a robot, so it is my job as a customer to combat that.   I wish him well, but I wish I could have kept him on the phone for another hour bugging him, wasting the company’s time.  If enough of us bug the hell out of unresponsive customer service people, the companies themselves will be forced into making some changes.

So, what is the consensus?   Be understanding of the customer service person’s crappy job, or push them until you get what you want?