Little House In Ise

America Wins a Pissing Contest or Distance is More Important than Accuracy

Lately I have been crying into my pillow thinking about corporate inefficiency in my company but no more! The brilliant ineptitude of a large foreign company (for the sake of anonymity, I will refer to them only as “HP”) has won, hands down, the corporate inefficiency heavy-weight world title.

I have been trying to negotiate a new contract with HP to provide services to a subsidiary in the US (Woohoo! Don’t you just love stories that start with contract negotiation?). I started my quest using contact information we had for both US and Japan branches of HP. Upon making my request clear (e.g. “How can my company give you more money and how much would you like?”) both sides of the Pacific immediately began pointing fingers at the other. After several rounds of vigorous finger pointing, HP Japan won. So, I continued my inquiry with the US contacts graciously provided by the Japanese finger pointing champions. Though unhappy with having to deal with a real customer, the HP US side shook and writhed and finally admitted that it was snowing and they needed to leave for the week (who in Colorado Springs can’t drive in snow?). So, I stepped up the pressure and started a polite email barrage to each and every individual who could possibly help asking for contact info for the next ranks up the chain. This was of course fruitless — or so I thought. No one wanted to admit that they had a contract with us except the guys in Tech Support who happily connected me with sales people in charge of ink cartridges. No one wanted to admit responsibility. Until, one day, completely out of the blue, my phone rang (I didn’t recognize the noise as it happens so infrequently) and a very earnest man from HP Japan was anxiously trying to get me to explain to him what I needed — a first! He took it down carefully and then told me a story.

Apparently, I managed to irritate someone in the US who was responsible for something-or-other. That person actually did try to track down my contract info and apparently couldn’t. So they had HP folks all over the US portion of their little empire tortured and locked in Colorado Springs until they came up with a plan. Which was to pass the buck — a brilliant strategy. At this point the story becomes fuzzy but somehow the buck got passed way up the chain and sideways until it landed on the desk of a VP of Janitorial Services (or something) in Singapore. This person was clearly not interested in my service contract, may have had no idea where Aloha Oregon, Chandler Arizona, Albuquerque or even Qiryat Gat, Israel were. What he did know was how to motivate his counterparts at HP Japan, I assume that he spoke loudly in Chinese (I’ve _got_ to learn how to do that). The Japan side of the evil HP empire bubbled with turmoil as more nasty looks and internal finger-pointing ensued. A sacrificial intern was selected but rejected due to high proficiency in English. This is where my new best friend at HP came into the picture. He hemmed and and hawed tried to send me to two other perfectly innocent companies before giving in to the overwhelming power of the Singaporean Head of Janitorial services on one side and the other kind of gaijin (me) on the other.

No contract yet. But at least I know that the old one ended in November. Oops.

And that’s the way it is. If anyone asks, I gave up on psychotropics LOOOONG ago though it may not seem that way.

Disclaimer : No garden gnomes were harmed at any point of this process.


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