I haven’t done my homework. I dont know if what the sender says is really the law in Canada but the next time I am into a 1-800 call and I am having difficulty understanding the agent, I will try out what the sender suggests.

However, I still have some misgivings in what was written, the biggest of which is this: many Canadians speak with accents, some of which I cannot understand no matter how hard I try. So what do I say to those spokespersons?


The sender’s message has some real merit when one considers the job loss angle. Yes, Canadians lose job opportunities whenever a company chooses to go off-shore with any of its labour force. I completely agree that we need to consider how we can protect our own workers here in Canada.

However, I am as guilty as many others are in giving company agents from call centres short shrift in dealing with them. Simply put, I have little patience with accented communication when I eagerly trying to get an answer to a problem I am trying to solve, fast. So, there is no fault with the agent with whom I am interacting. I recognize it simply is a case of my own lack of patience.

Recognizing that, recognizing that I am short on the patience distribution, I reassert my efforts at trying to be patient. I will force myself to count…1, 2, 3…when it gets tough…1, 2, 3, 4, 5,…when it gets toughers…you get the idea. Then, my next strategy is to ask the agent to speak slower. I may even explain that I am finding the accent difficult to deal with, but I try to emphasize that I do not want to quit, or cut the call off. I recognize that the person at the other end is simply doing their job and more importantly, they likely have been hired to do that job because their accent is less than their fellow job applicants.


Secondly, I recognize that the agent is trying to do a job, not trying to baffle me. More importantly, this is not a dumb person because they speak with an accent. My parents spoke with an accent all their lives in Canada. They weren’t dumb. My in-laws had atrociously strong accents to their last days, but they were very intelligent people. My best friend, a man in his mid 40’s, educated, intelligent and knowledgeable, has an accent that would spice up the most spicy of tomato sauces.


My message sender did not intend to be racist or bigoted in any way. However, I felt that this message required a gut level response as we all have been in the linguistic quagmire.

As I see it,

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