Friday, March 11, 2005

Excuse me prease. Would you like masala with that?

McDonalds restaurant is starting to tinker with having its orders processed by call centres. What?! Did I read that right? Yes. You think that they aren't screwing up enough of your orders as it is? Right now, there are Mickey D's in the states where you do not speak to someone in the restaurant when you're giving your order; you speak to someone in another town or state.

While they are waxing poetic in their enthusiastic PR spin of this bold development in crappy fast-food service (citing a saving of eight man-hours per franchise per day and call-center workers "elevated communication skills"), it is a smokescreen for the obvious endgame. Your Big Slack order will soon be taken by someone in a Calcutta slum, or Chinese prison.

When the North American Blue Collar Working Person complains about jobs moving across the ocean or the border, politicians and economists talk about a changing economy with an increased focus on the service sector and new jobs created by technology. Well, guess what? Big corporations are going to find ways to send even crappy service sector jobs to someone who'll work for ten bucks a week. So if you thought that flipping burgers for five bucks an hour was a bleak but stable future, just wait 'til robots are extruding our mcspewie nourishment and the person at the other end of the speaker doesn't understand the phrase
"You f***ed up my order again!"
(even if you did reach the same call-centre slave).

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