Monday, October 16, 2006

A Day Inside the Global Economy

This morning when I turned on my computer, I discovered that my Internet connection was down. That happens from time-to-time and I was unconcerned, knowing all I had to do was unplug and then replug the DSL modem. But my nonchalance ended the moment I saw the quickly pulsating lights on the modem’s face. It was in the midst of a death rattle and there was nothing I could do.

After an hour of slogging through AT&T’s soulless automated “help” system and speaking with several gentleman in Bangalore (just a guess … could have been New Delhi or Hyderabad for all I know), I was finally assured of what I’d figured out in a matter of seconds: the modem was dead.

I was first given a number to call and check if my warranty was still in effect—but that number dead-ended at a message urging me to call back during regular business hours. I’m not sure what AT&T department doesn’t consider 9:45 a.m. CDT to be normal business hours, but I’d like to work there. After another round with my friends in India, I eventually found my way to a nice young lady who sold me a new DSL modem and insisted she needed to email me the confirmation data—which was about as helpful as giving it to me in Hindi. She must have missed the part about my modem having committed suicide that morning.

Then again, maybe she knew I’d end up online at Starbucks because a day without Internet is a day without paying work for me. Hey, these massive corporations know a lot. They probably know I can only survive when tethered to the umbilical cord of high-speed Internet.

One thing though—while Starbucks provides fast, reliable wi-fi and a startlingly vast selection of beverages, there seems to be only one plug. And some other guy has it, meaning my battery keeps dying and I have to run home to recharge it.

Guess it’s just another day interfacing with the ever-conscientious global economy. Still, it's amazing I can get tech-support from India, earn a living at a table in a coffee house and then tell the whole story to a bunch of people I’ve never met via my blog. When I think about it, the sum total of globalization is decidedly positive--at least for a lot of us.


Blogger reader_iam said...

one plug

Why I keep a power strip in the car trunks ... .

; )

12:31 PM  
Anonymous Walrus said...

You know, I was surviving quite happily without a laptop or wi-fi, until my son came home with his. Now I'm deeply envious...

On a more serious note, globalization implies a lot more than call centers on the sub-continent. I'm more than a little concerned by multi-nationals with few effective checks on their power. I'd like to post on it, but I'm going to have to do a heck of a lot of research on it first. If you know more than I do (not hard), I'd be very interested in reading what you have to say.

7:21 PM  
Blogger AubreyJ said...

ThA Pain... Tha Pain......

9:13 PM  
Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...

Globalization is very complex and my little post was certainly more along the lines of an "off handed remark" than any kind of real opinion or analysis.

The thing is, different corporations are global in different ways and the effects of globalization are vast. Thomas Friedman's The World is Flat is an interesting look at the interconnectivity of globalization. It's just one view but an interesting one.

10:37 AM  

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