Monday, February 27, 2006

Portland Trail Blazers Answer the Call

In an unprecedented move, billionaire owner Paul Allen has asked all of the basketball players under his employ to work as customer service representatives for his Charter Communications cable division. After unsuccessfully lobbying state and local governments for financial assistance, executives of Allen’s Vulcan Inc. have had to look to other revenue sources to offset mounting fiscal losses.

“We’ve looked at a host of options,” commented Vulcan president Lance Conn, “and we’re of the opinion that consolidating our workforce will provide added flexibility to Mr. Allen and his investments.”

Small call centers have been set-up at the Rose Garden and at the Blazers practice facility in Tualatin to allow players to work before and after games and practices. Each player is required to fulfill a certain number of hours at their desk answering calls from customers of Charter Communications, most of which revolve around billing and loss of service questions. It is believed to be the first program of its’ kind in professional sports.

Player reactions have been mixed, though most concede that there isn’t much that they can do.

“I had my lawyer look at our contracts,” remarked PF/C and switchboard operator Theo Ratliff, “and it’s worded so that, technically, we’re employees of Paul Allen, not necessarily the Portland Trail Blazers. We’re required to play whatever position ‘management deems necessary’ so I guess that includes answering phones.”

Point guard and assistant office manager Steve Blake was less muted in his reaction.

“I think it’s crap. I mean, I’m willing to do whatever it takes to make this team successful, but this is beyond the pale. Have you ever had to deal with some elderly guy who’s pissed off because his cable went out during Matlock? It can get ugly. You can’t imagine all the names I’ve been called, by old folks no less.”

“Me, myself, I don’t mind it all that much,” stated starting power forward and recently crowned “Employee of the Month” Zach Randolph. “In the NBA, you’ve always got the media and fans watching your every move. It can be a lot of pressure. But when I’m explaining the details of a customer’s bill or signing someone up for the HBO/Showtime package, it’s just me and the customer. You don’t get that kind of intimacy on the court. Of course, that recording always says that they might be recording the call for training purposes, but I don’t believe it. My game on the court and on the phone is all about going one-on-one.”

Some players were concerned that they might not be cut out for the rigors of answering angry calls and explaining the complex intricacies of extended cable service contracts.

“At first, I tell Mr. Allen that I no think I best man for job,” explained Viktor Khryapa. “My English, she is getting better, but over the phone is tough, and Americans speak with much quickness. To give me confidence, Mr. Allen had me call customer service at Dell and Microsoft. My English much better than theirs, so now I think I can do it. A good coach give worker strength and tools to do good.”

While some have been skeptical as to whether Allen is really struggling for money; it seems that, at least for the moment, everyone is doing their part to make the Trail Blazers and Vulcan Capitol a profitable venture.

“Everyone is making sacrifices at this point,” remarked Conn, “even Paul. Did you know he’s given up his daily dodo egg omelet? Can you imagine, a billionaire giving up his favorite meal just to satisfy the people of Portland? And what does he get in return? A big ‘screw you’ from city hall. I can tell you one thing, old Paul’s a real bitch to be around when he doesn’t get that omelet. I tried getting him to eat a chicken egg omelet, but the poor guy just couldn’t gag it down. You haven’t seen suffering until you’ve seen an adult man tear up at the thought of eating a regular omelet.”


At 9:44 PM, Blogger chunkstyle23 said...

I think this idea is catching on. Turns out the reason the Supes got Mike Wilks is that he makes a mean caramel macchiato.

[I LAUGHED. OUT. LOUD. And no, I won't abbreviate that.]

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At 4:07 PM, Anonymous ddavis said...

I would like to suggest some other jobs basketball players can fill in for. There is just so much community service one superstar can do.

Giraffe cleaning-This is a real need, how many zoos would kill for a Yao Ming or a Gheorge Muresan. Plus it would give Gorgeous George something to do besides grow.

Talent Scout for Rap Videos- Who else can find the cream of the big-bootied skanky hos crop. The players skills at drawing honeys have been honed at such notoriously un-bootylicious cities as Vancouver B.C., Minnesota and of course Portland. H2O anyone? No scuzzy agents and casting couches, just entrust your daughters and sisters to the likes of Kobe, Rube and Jayson Williams. Win-win right?

I kid the nba.

Win a game Blazers, or at least cover the spread. Thank you for your time.

At 1:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I heard Damon Stoudamire and some Texas oil man want to buy the Blazers, Damon would get rid of Nash and Steve Patterson. That'd be a great change! I say Allen needs to sell, to Stoudamire.

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