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Live E-Chat with Customer Service

24 May 2016


Tiffany typing
Hello, My name is Tiffany. How may I help you today?

Joanne typing
I cannot open the things I bought at the drugstore.

Tiffany typing
What items did you buy?

Joanne typing
LíOreal blusher, Revlon face powder, Naphcon eye drops.

Tiffany typing
What is the problem with those purchases?

Joanne typing
The cosmetics are packed in hard plastics that Iím unable to cut with heavy duty kitchen scissors. The eye drops are in a cardboard box; heat-sealed with a softer plastic, but I cannot get that off.

Tiffany typing
Do you have a 3 centimeter spanner?

Joanne typing
Where are you, Tiffany?

Tiffany typing
My home is Bangalore, Call Center of the Universe. †Where do you live, Joanne?

Joanne typing
California. I donít think American hardware stores have anything like a 3 centimeter spanner. Weíd call that a minuscule wrench.

Tiffany typing
Do you have 4 centimeter spanners?

Joanne typing
No. In the US, wrenches are used to tighten plumbing pipes or open & close dangerous liquids. Theyíre never so tiny. Why does it take so long for you to reply?

Tiffany typing
It is because we give the best possible service and do not hurry and make errors. All clients are precious to us.

Joanne typing
Fine, thank you, but Iím running late.

Tiffany typing
What tools do you have in your house, Joanne?

Joanne typing
We have a trowel, all-purpose gardening shears, a wrench, pliers, a hammer, various screwdrivers and the Cuisinart kitchen scissors I just ruined.

Tiffany typing
To open the cosmetics, use the all-purpose gardening shears. First you should wash all earth off the gardening shears. That will spare your scissors from further harm.

Joanne typing
Too late for that. Iíve also broken two fingernails almost halfway down trying to get the seal off the eye drops bottle.

Tiffany typing
I am so very sorry. Do you have a nail salon in California? Here we have many who create acrylic nails.

Joanne typing
Just please tell me how to open the eye drops. Thatís my only urgent request.

Tiffany typing
If you had the proper spanner, you could use it to break the seal and I would tell you how to access the eye drops.

Joanne typing
Please tell me anyway. Maybe I can find someone to break the seal with pliers.

Tiffany typing
Do you have an optometrist nearby your residence? They would have exactly the recommended spanner. If you need eye drops, you should visit the optometrist straightaway.

Joanne typing
No, we live in a semi-rural area and I donít need glasses. I just need the anti-allergy drops. Tiffany, I have an important meeting in ten minutes. Can you help me or not?

Tiffany typing
I can help you if you can remove the plastic seal. Once you accomplish that, you will see instructions on the bottom of the top of the eye drops bottle.

Joanne typing
The bottom of the top? I donít see anything there. Is that what you meant? Itís just a plain white bottle top. Or bottom. Iím not sure.

Tiffany typing
Below the very tip-top of the bottle you will see a border with raised letters telling you to press down while turning the cap counter- clockwise. Or maybe it is clockwise in the United States. Try both if one does not succeed.

Joanne typing
I donít see any letters. Will you stay on the line? The magnifying glass is in the library.

Tiffany typing
Put a bit of black ink on your finger and rub that finger lightly over the bottle cap to see the instructions more clearly.† Use the magnification glass if you continue to have trouble. Do you have a Magic Marker? That is the best; black indelible.

Joanne typing
No. I donít have a bloody Magic Marker.

Tiffany typing
May I ask you a personal question? I will understand if you are unwilling to answer.

Joanne typing
Just ask it.

Tiffany typing
Do you have a privately owned chemist shop in your village?

Joanne typing
Yes, we do. †Our pharmacist makes up special prescriptions.† He doesnít stock ice cream, beer, develop pictures, sell cosmetics or hand out yards of coupons for what youíve just bought, like blusher and powder. Our private pharmacist isnít an international market with a customer service platform in Bangalore. He also rents equipment for the physically challenged.

Tiffany typing
†Do you mean disabled people? He offers Zimmer frames?

Joanne typing
That is the politically correct term for disabled. In the US, we donít say disabled now. He rents walkers, yes.

Tiffany typing
I have one more personal question, this one extremely delicate. Please tell me if it offends you.

Joanne typing
This has to be your last question.

Tiffany typing
I am worrying to ask but do you have a partner who has a well-fitted-out toolbox?

Joanne typing
My husband is an attorney who hires a person to hang pictures. His toolbox is a briefcase. No.

Tiffany typing
Did you call our help phone line? It is gratuitous to our valued clients. Your password should be 12 letters, 4 numbers and 2 symbols. You will need your grandmotherís maiden name, the name of your infant school teacher, or something else.

Joanne typing
I called your help line but my place in the queue was 37 so I couldnít wait. Iím overdue at a rehearsal. Now I have a personal question. Is Tiffany really your name?

Tiffany typing
Tiffany is my work name. My family name is Anupama, but we are all given most popular American names like Britanny, Tammy, and Caitlan.† The menís work names are Jeff, Jason, and Matt. We have 42 Caitlans and 34 Matts. Never tell anyone this, I implore you.

Joanne typing
Thank you, Tiffany, and goodbye. Forever.

Tiffany typing
I will connect you with my supervisor. †Our time for E- chat has run away. †He may say press down extremely hard on the actual tippy-top of the bottle to open it while you use the 3 to 4 centimeter spanner to turn the top in the directions the arrow points. †Joanne, I must leave you now. Please, Joanne, when you are asked in the help survey, I hope you will leave me a favorable recommendation.† The difficulty is because you do not have the required tools. I am not at fault. †Have a lovely day!


An author, journalist and playwright, Elaine Kendall (The ďTĒ word; Republicans Expose Obama's Supreme Court Nominees; The New Neanderthal Majority; When Did That Happen?; Reviewese 101) reviewed books weekly for the LA Times from 1980 to 1997. Her books of American cultural history are The Upper Hand; (changing roles of men & women) The Happy Mediocrity; (architecture, clothing, food) Peculiar Institutions; (the beginning of womenís colleges) & Seeing Europe Again (an anthology of travel pieces). The first three were published by Little, Brown & Putnam; the fourth by Capra Press. Her articles have appeared in many national magazines & newspapers, particularly the NY Times & LA Times.