Buddha and Customer Service

Angry Asian Buddhist has revealed the apotheosis of corporate Buddhism: Buddha as your guarantee of customer service. Meet “Buddhy” the customer service icon and guru from “Zendesk” (no kidding) who will make sure that the customer service rep at the other end of the line will never get upset, angry, or have any concern for self, no matter how demanding and abusive you are to them. This goes beyond dharmaburger. . . it’s the way that Buddhism is being transformed as it makes its way into global crapitalist culture. Do we practice a Buddhism that challenges crapitalist culture or do we use Buddhism to sell more crap?


 Apparently the Buddha works at a San Francisco customer service start up. At least so it appears when you first see Zendesk’s brand mascot, The Mentor, who is elsewhere more affectionately referred to as “Buddhy.” Ugh.

Buddhy is cultural appropriation at its most flagrant. Zendesk has taken Buddhist iconography, particularly that of Budai, and repackaged it as an integral component of their brand asset portfolio. What’s worse is that when you flip through their social media stream, ZenDesk employees repeatedly play on Oriental stereotypes and often put The Mentor in situations that many millions of Asian Buddhists would immediately perceive as blatant disrespect.

Zendesk has been parading their mascot around for years now. I’m amazed I didn’t learn about it until just this past weekend, especially since it seems so many other Buddhists have already been talking about it.

What do you think about Zendesk’s brand asset choice?

HT to Wanwan.


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