Back to the call centre

Yo may have noticed I haven’t written much recently. There are a few reasons for this, but the main one is that I just haven’t been in the call centre.

Following the ruckus with my manager I was signed off with stress for a month.

Tomorrow that month ends.

I have had no contact from anyone in management so have no idea what will happen when I open the door and tentatively set foot onto the call-centre floor.

Will be leaped upon and dragged into the office where I’ll be issued with the paperwork for a disciplinary? Will I still have my desk? Can I remember all my passwords? I don’t know.

What I do know is I’m dreading it.


6 thoughts on “Back to the call centre

  1. Well, I think you were right. It wasn’t so bad and I daresay I even enjoyed it. My manager disappeared as soon as I walked in, presumably to confer with the HR manager, but I haven’t had any problems and in fact she even seemed a teeny bit amicable. I’m very much hoping that it marks a new start.

  2. The other side of the story – These boiler room call centers that hire people that are in and out of prison, besides the horrible working conditions, it also results in a criminal element being introduced into a business neighborhood:
    This is based on my experience the past several years, others I have talked who have had similar experiences in their neighborhoods due to call centers and talking to the police. Below is my experience with one of these call centers next to my workplace that the police have told me is typical of call centers they’ve dealt with. My work and the surrounding legitimate businesses including a church in our complex have taken the toll of the crime this call center has brought into the business neighborhood. Also my phone constantly rings off the hook despite being on the no call list, when I look up these numbers on the web, they are numbers from so called charity or survey call centers from all over the nation that pose as legitimate charity company names but are really scams, so I would not be surprised if this is a nation wide problem.

    Some examples of what I’ve have witnessed, my workmates and surrounding businesses have seen from this call center’s criminal element the past several years. Keep in mind; this is an industrial area with high tech businesses in a nice part of town:
    -Day one – several years ago: When they first moved in and was demolishing the drywall on a Sunday morning, the dust drifted into our church service, one of the deacons went over to tell them that we were choking down drywall dust, the response – they ramped up the demolition and yelled louder in an attempt to disrupt the service
    -Drug distribution and use
    -Hard liquor consumed while on the job
    -Empty liquor containers littered on the parking lot, adjacent businesses properties and on the city streets
    -A lot of litter including uneaten food and sodas, trash of all kinds etc etc littered on the parking lot, adjacent businesses properties and on the city streets
    -Cars vandalized
    -Cars broken into including cars for Sunday morning services at the church
    -All the employees of the other businesses in our complex including my workmates now park their vehicles in the front lot because their cars being keyed and damaged due to the call center employees and the bad element that the call center has attracted in the back lot.
    -I told the girls at my work not to venture in the back lot, that I’ll take the trash and recycling out. When the lady from our cleaning service takes the trash out back, I spot her to make sure she’s safe.
    -Car stereos booming literally vibrating my workplace and adjacent businesses
    -Neighboring businesses vandalized (ex: saw 2 guys drive down the street one night with their headlights off to vandalize a business, then return to the call center parking lot to hang out.)
    -Neighboring businesses have been hit with more break-ins the past 2-3 years compared to previous years, not iron clad proof it’s the call center but a possibility based on all the other crimes
    -My workmate got blocked off while in his car one day by someone leaving the call center, he was cussed out with the guy right at his car window simply because my workmate got in the way backing out of his parking spot. My work mate was unable to leave because the guy had blocked his exit with his van, luckily that’s all that happened
    -Very dangerous driving, my work building was almost hit by a drunk driver while leaving the call center parking lot, another call center driver wrecked at the nearby intersection, this car was dragged to the call center parking lot and left, then it was broken into overnight. Call center drivers jumping curves, driving in the grass, hitting other cars. With the church in our complex, it is a dangerous situation with children, elderly and handicapped members using the same parking lot. I have been almost run over while on foot, on my bike and in my car. I have heard MANY complaints from my workmates, church goers and the other businesses about almost being run down in the parking lot too. A couple times I saw cars driving backwards at high speeds in the parking lot. 40-60 mph driving in our parking lot was common.
    -Cars dropping off and picking up people hidden away from the call center’s front and rear entrances, these people would then walk several hundred feet to enter and leave the call center. Sometimes they would only visit for a few minutes making multiple visits to and from the car that dropped them off walking the distance. Based on what I’ve learned this is a possible sign of drug distribution/activity.
    -Multiple cars with black tinted windows, high dollar rims, with booming stereos very slowly cruising the parking lot OR driving very, very fast.
    -The owner of the business in our complex right next to the call center actually warned me to not make too many waves as it could be dangerous for me based on what he’s heard and seen.
    -One of the call center employees left a note on the church door stating that his supervisors/mangers were involved with drug distribution, breaking into cars, tagging a nearby business with gang symbols etc etc. He also said that his manager broke into his car, stole his stereo and installed it in his car – that’s how ridiculous that situation was – even the call center employees were being victimized by the criminal element working there. His attempts to complain to the police got no response. I still have the note filed away with my personal notes of my conversation with this employee and another employee who verified the same problems when I called to talk to both of them.
    -An element that hangs out in the call center parking lot that does not work there.
    >It was set on fire one night and we had to call the FD to get it put out, our work smelled of smoke as it was directly behind our back doors.
    >The locks kept disappearing as the keys or combination was given out, someone from the call center would help themselves to a free lock. After this happened several times, the condo assc gave up. This resulted in a lot of dumping by outsiders at night which over filled the dumpster and created a huge trash problem at times in the parking lot.
    -Openly smoking and making up marijuana blunts in the parking lot even during the day
    -Odd ball stupid crimes the surrounding businesses have dealt with: Bike rack drug off, sprinkler pulled out of the ground, outside AC outlet weather covers stolen off buildings etc etc
    -When I mention call centers to any police officer I happen to come across, they are quick to say that call centers are a big crime problem around town. One time I saw the police in our parking lot, he was called out due to a disturbance at the call center. He told me that with the young people that get into trouble with the police in town, they are finding that a lot of these young troublemakers work at the call centers that have moved into town on the west side.
    -I heard through the grapevine that this call center sent out 1100 W2s one year, that’s how high the turnaround is. This supports what the police have told me, the type of people that are hired stay just long enough to get money to buy drugs and disappear.
    The list goes on and on – again according to police I’ve talked too, this is typical of these type of call centers.

    My attempts for the past three years to improve security has been very slow with mixed results, As I look back at these events, I am mainly struck by the red tape and odd ball legal reasons inhibiting an average concerned citizen from being able to get something done. You hear about a bad neighbor moving next door to your house but I had no idea this could also happen with a business, I’m amazed that this activity was allowed to go on for 3 years despite my attempts to complain to anyone who I thought could do something about the drugs and crime….
    -After months of asking to get the outdoor building dusk to dawn lights fixed with little response, the condo assc got the lights fixed after a drunk driver from the call center drove up into the grass and almost hit our building, then stopped on the street and chucked several bottles onto the street and then took off almost blowing a major intersection.
    -One time when I went to the police station to complain, they officer told me that since it’s a private lot that it’s the condo assc responsibility for security, not the police – unless a crime is being committed. So I’ve started emailing the condo assc the stuff I’ve seen with attached pictures in an effort to get them to increase security. I took months to get the lights fixed, it took years of emailing dozens and dozens of pictures etc to finally get cameras and private security approved
    -I went again to the police station to complain, I was told that there was nothing that could be done, they don’t have the resources and that I am on my own
    -So I started taking the empty booze containers I routinely pickup around the lot and taking them to the police station about once a month to repeatedly show them there’s a problem. One of times I did this and stated the call center by name, the officer told me that I needed to say ‘alleged’ before accusing a business, he seemed more worried about how I legally miss-stated something than the fact I had a real problem. On the other hand I’m sure the front desk officer sees all kinds of weirdness. Either way after several visits I clued in that it didn’t seem to help too much and gave up. Our city was still in ‘punishment mode’ for not approving a tax increase that resulted in a lot of the city services being abandoned and the police being chopped off at the knees. For a year the message from the police when I would try and talk to them was we can’t help you because of the cut backs. However I didn’t give up, next step – look into starting up a neighborhood business watch
    -I met with a neighborhood watch officer and showed him a bunch of pictures I’ve taken:
    >He said that call centers hire mostly people that are involved with drugs, crime etc. Call centers end up supporting drug and criminal activity.
    >When I asked him why I routinely saw the Sherriff, unmarked police cars, police cruisers, visiting this call center, he said call centers are a great place to find a concentrated pool of warrant arrests, so the police routinely visit the call centers in town on the west side looking for outstanding warrants. I also saw the FD and ambulances visiting on a regular basis.
    >After meeting with the neighbor watch officer, months went by without getting this started up, he has not had the resources/time to start up the business watch with the other businesses that want to participate to protect themselves from the crime this call center has introduced into the area. So I took it upon myself to patrol the area myself, take pictures, document and email those involved.
    -I have talked to the surrounding business when I’ve witnessed something happen to them from the call center’s criminal element.
    -I’ve called 911 when witnessing crime around the call center, usually no police show up. Once instance the 911 operator told me when the police didn’t show after an hour of waiting that I was number 8 out of 10 calls on the back log list so I gave up and canceled the call. The 911 operator suggested I call the following morning to have an officer come out and look at the vandalism since the police tend to be less overwhelmed in mornings so I tried that, still no police showed up. Gave up, made up my own impromptu report and gave it to the condo assc and to the business that got vandalized. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised; citizens are now taking care of the abandoned city parks (mowing the grass, trash pickup, port-a-potty rental), trimming the abandoned medians, hiring private security, installing lighting to compensate for the street lights that was deactivated etc etc. We seem to be on our own to keep the city looking decent and crime prevention.
    -Called the non emergency police number a couple times in an attempt to report the hard liquor being consumed in the parking lot and possible drunk driving, I was told that it’s only considered littering and to fill out a report on the police web site. When I tried doing so, the required criteria stated on the police web site to be allowed to initiate a report did not include littering. Gave up.
    -Called the utility company and sent them pictures of the crime in order to get the dead street lights fixed that didn’t have orange band at the intersection closest to this call center, with the drunk and crazy driving, I hoped getting the lights fixed would make this intersection safer. They came out right away to replace the bulbs but found that the power lines was cut to these street lights, so it took several months to get them fixed as they only had 2 men allocated to repair street light power lines for the whole city, my work order was number 66 out of 70 requests when I first called it in. At least they were very professional and kept me informed of their progress when I would call in to get an update – a nice highlight in my efforts to improve security and safety in my business neighborhood – that someone actually seemed to care.
    -Emailed MADD seeking advice and ideas on how to deal with the drunk driving – no response.
    -I was shocked to find on the BBB web site that this call center had an A rating, so I complained to the BBB filling them in on all I’ve seen. The result; I was told to fill out a form – I guess the BBB can’t do anything about what happens outside a business’ walls anyway.
    -Email the city counsel in the middle of 2011 describing the situation, basically the response is the police can do nothing about this.

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