Friday, November 20, 2009

"Eppur si muove"

posted Fri, 17 Dec 2004

I am at the UPS website checking the shipping status of something I sent to my brother. I like the way UPS does their list. When you select your country, the US is listed first. First in the list of all the countries to which it delivers. Only makes sense, doesn’t it? UPS is a US company, headquartered in the US. The first country on the list should be the US.

But when I go to my company’s website, the list of countries is alphabetical. So if I am updating a database with factory addresses, every single time I look one up, I have to scroll all the way past Gambia, Nepal and Uganda to get to the United States. It’s a pain in the neck.

I’m not saying the US is the center of the universe, but it’s OK for us to be the center – or the top – for a US-owned, headquartered and operated company.

I called the company’s web administrator to ask that the US be moved to the top of the list.

“We can’t do that,” he told me in a shocked voice. He told me it would be discriminatory or something. I don’t remember his exact words, but his sense was that it would be un-PC to list the US at the top.

“But we are a US company that does business in other countries,” I tried to reason. “The company is headquartered in the US. Most of our employees are here.”

No luck. I couldn’t get him to change it.

It’s insane. If I went to a French company’s website, I would not be offended to see France at the top of the list. I’m not offended that the site is in French. If I went to a Gambian company’s website, I would not be offended to see Gambia at the top of the list or to see Gambian as the language on the site. (Is Gambian a language? I have a friend who was a Peace Corps volunteer in The Gambia, but I can’t remember what language she learned.)

These people have read too much Howard Zinn.

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