Customer service rep fired for writing game that mocks callers
Canadian tax office has sense of humor failure
David Gallant, a worker at the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and gaming hobbyist, has been fired for lampooning dealings with customers during his day job in a game called I Get This Call Every Day.
"Because I've become nothing more than a numb meat popsicle I've decided to make a game about my day job," he said on his website. "I'm hoping the proceeds of this game will get me a few steps closer to less day job and more game making."
Gallant, a self-taught user of ActionScript, Flixel, and Unity, built the game using very basic graphics and a sense of humor. It puts the player in the role of a customer service agent answering an endless series of inane customer calls. If the player is terse or crabby, or handles the call incorrectly, then they lose.
While the makers of Call of Duty are hardly likely to be shaking in their shoes at the competition, it's a cute idea and Gallant was selling the game at $2 a pop. But when the Toronto Star did a feature on it, his employers suffered a massive sense of humor failure about the situation.
"The Minister considers this type of conduct offensive and completely unacceptable," said a spokesman for the Canadian National Revenue Minister Gail Shea. "The Minister has asked the Commissioner to investigate and take any and all necessary corrective action. The Minister has asked the CRA to investigate urgently to ensure no confidential taxpayer information was compromised."
The Commissioner didn't waste any time, and within 24 hours Gallant reported via Twitter that he was in search of a new employer after being fired. On the plus side, however, it seems his games business has received a boost from the whole affair.
To date, I Get This Call Every Day has made just over $3600. Two days ago, the game had only made $1300. You do the math.— David S Gallant (@davidsgallant) January 31, 2013
It seems more than a little harsh to fire an employee for showing a sense of humor and initiative, and the workplace has already inspired many creative endeavors. El Reg wishes Mr. Gallant much luck in his new career, and suspect he'll be a lot happier than in his last job. ®
We here at the CRA . . .
. . . have no sense of humor that we're aware of.
My immediate thoughts re. The Minister
""The Minister considers this type of conduct offensive ............. to ensure no confidential taxpayer information was compromised."
Po faced, tight arsed, uptight, straight laced, small minded, reactionary, ......... bah, humbug!
" I'm hoping the proceeds of this game will get me a few steps closer to less day job and more game making."
Well so far he has achieved the "less day job" bit...
"You do the math."
I really really hate that phrase, along with "I could care less".
I find it difficult to take people seriously who use those phrases.
In other words, a fair amount of Americans ;)
Load the lawyers!
"......The Minister considers this type of conduct offensive and completely unacceptable...." Having a sense of humour is unacceptable? I'd suggest the guy lawyers up as, unless his game actually depicts either his employer or the customers in an unrealistic manner, the game cannot be held to be any more offensive than a train simulator game! If he can demonstrate that his game has real customer comments and that he does not make them behave in an undue manner (and having myself more than once shouted down the phone at HMRC I suspect he has plenty of leeway here!), I'd say he's on pretty good grounds for a wrongful dismissal.