Monday, January 16, 2012

Sir Richard Branson Giveth And Sir Richard Branson Taketh Away

Sir Richard BransonI had an email from Virgin Media on Friday. One of those “hey we’re
your best mates, we are, and to illustrate this we’re going to give
you an amazing deal to show how much we love you, bud, pal, matey,
mucker, fellamelad”. I read the email with the kind of indifference
that only a longstanding Virgin Media customer can muster and it
transpired that dear Old Uncle Rich – Sir Richard Branson to you – was
about to “more than double” my broadband speed but for less than the price I was currently paying. And he was going to do it because I was such a loyal longstanding customer. Because, let’s face it, me and Rich have been going steady ever since he took over NTL half a decade or so ago and renamed it Virgin Media.

Well, it was a nice start to the weekend if nothing else.

Cue Saturday morning. Another email from Sir Rich arrives. This one
less chummy and rather more apologetic in tone. Turns out Friday’s
email was a mistake. Mr B apologized profusely, nay cheesily. It was
sent out by mistake. They were sorry. He was sorry. But there would be some good news for all loyal Virgin Media customers in the next 2
weeks. Honest. About something else. Something else equally as good. Probably.

Yeah right. Another Virgin mobile phone offer or extra sports channels
on Virgin Media TV, I should think. I’m not a big fan of shot-put, Sir
Richard, you can stick it.

But this whole debacle got me thinking. The poor sap who pressed Send on all those emails (because surely I wasn’t the only one who received such a missive) must be up to his neck in hot water right now. That’s assuming he still has a job, of course, and that Sir Rich didn’t drop-kick him out of a hot air balloon somewhere over the Atlantic. And someone – some graphics design geek – obviously created the email in the first place. Which says Virgin Media were planning this broadband upgrade thing for some time but then just decided to change their minds.

Was it something I said? Or didn’t say? Was I supposed to have replied to Sir Rich’s original email profusely oozing my thanks and attaching a tasty Polaroid of my freshly oiled up genitalia? Did he consider my lack of response to be a singular act of monstrous ingratitude and consequently cancel the broadband upgrade?

That’s rather petty, Richard.

Or was the whole email a scam? An act of in-house sabotage from a
disgruntled employee? Sir Rich has banned his marketing team from
downloading stuff from the SKY BSB web site and they’ve hit back with an email to drop Sir Richard in the shite?

Hmm. To be honest, that scenario doesn’t work for me. If you were a
disgruntled employee you’d send out a far worse email than “we’re
going to double our customer’s broadband speed for half the price”. It
would be along the lines of “hey, did you know that Sir Richard
Branson molests disabled baboons in his personalized spaceship paid
for with your hard earned money?”

Now that’s the kind of email that would have made my weekend a good one.

But no.

So, a double-dip disappointment on the Virgin Media front, then.


Situation normal. Thanks Rich.



Marginalia said...

Steve, there's a new epidemic around; a bit like swine flu but deadlier.

It's the "sorry we've fucked up" e-mail bug. It forces you to send a inaccurate e-mail so that a while later you have to send a correcting e-mail and apologising for the original one.

I received a e-mail from "The New York Times" telling me my subscription had lapsed and as a result, unless I re-signed up, no more NYT. Except I didn't have a subscription just limited free access.

A follow up e-mail apologised for the first one ( some minor hiccup in the post room) but assuring me that my custom and satisfaction is their primary concern.

I didn't get a chill from this bug, except now I have unlimited access to the NYT!

Steve said...

Marginalia: thank you for your comment. I much appreciate the the time and affort you took to compose it but, sadly, my blog post was written and published in error.

Martin Lower said...

I thought I heard something to this effect on the radio last week, but I wasn't really paying much attention. Perhaps it's a new marketing tool, build you up and then let you down, so when they finally come up with an 'improved' deal, you're even more likely to snatch their hand off.
Come the revolution, they'll be first against the wall......

Jon said...

"...but, sadly, my blog post was written and published in error."

I find this happens to me too.

I does smack of bad business planning on someone's part, but I think there might be more to it than this - Beardy is trying to re-invent himself in the Michael Bastard O'Leary mode and work on the basis that all publicity is worth having. This cost him nothing after all.

joebloggs said...

Its probably more to do with a depressed worker not bothering to check what he is sending out and then not bothering to do anything about his mistake until getting his ear chewed by "The Man". You know how it is...
As for "a double-dip disappointment on the Virgin front" that hasn't happened for a very long time! (shame)

wylye girl said...

What? You've survived a decade with Virgin Mediocre and you are still sane? I've done 2 years and I dribble and twitch! I think they should come with a health warning! My next blog post is about their incompetence.

the fly in the web said...

It would no surprise me if Branson were to be engaging in inappropriate activities with baboons...
I met him in his 'Time Out' days and a slimier exploitative individual would be difficult to find.

Steve said...

Martin: the thought of having Richard Branson up against a wall fair turns my stomach.

Jon: damn. Maybe I should send him an invoice by email?

Joe: are there any Virgin fronts left for a bloke to have a double-dip with?

wylye Girl: you'll be writing a novel then?

The fly in the web: I could well believe it. Those teeth of his just telegraph slimy unwholesomeness.

Gorilla Bananas said...

This is a pretty disrespectful tone to take about your fellow beardie. Obviously you didn't qualify for the upgrade for some reason - maybe they checked your usage and found you were downloading too many baboon videos. Why don't you discuss your issues with them instead of carping about it in a blog post?

Steve said...

Gorilla Bananas: technically, don't you have a beard?

Trish @ Mum's Gone To ... said...

I think Martin might have a point: a marketing tool to get lots of publicity? But what do I know, I'm still with AOL.

Steve said...

Trish: maybe I ought to try it? Make lots of spurious claims and promises and then backtrack.

Hmm. Maybe a career in politics beckons...?

Nota Bene said...

Hi Steve,

As your such a loyal bloggerist, I've decided to double the amount of time I'm going to spend reading your posts, and my comments are going to be twice as good and three times as long.

All the best


Rol said...

I had the same email... and asked the same questions... without your barely disguised paranoia and self-loathing.

Which is strange, as I'm normally full of both. I must be slipping.

Nota Bene said...

Oops. Sorry that last comment was a mistake, and I'm not going to do any of those things.

Steve said...

Nota Bene: can you at least get me a reliable internet connection?

Rol: I know a good counsellor you could talk to.

Kelloggsville said...

Yep I got that one too. I measured my speed on the day they said they were increasing me from 100mb. I was getting less than 1. Yes 0.bloody9. I wrote and told virgin exactly how shite they are. Today I got 0.shitty4.

Tenon_Saw said...

I had the same 2 emails!

[Wylye Girl I clicked on your profile link and was taken nowhere]

Steve said...

Kelloggsville: after this blog post I'm amazed I'm still connected.

Tenon_Saw: damn. So I'm not as special as I thought I was.

May said...

Why the beep does that kinda Brand have suckcess?

Oh-yo. Everyone wants their whatever to be new, fresh, intact etc.

Mould Incorpsearated - We could've E-helped you @ a fraction of the price. Too latté now, safe journey.

With your gab and my army wheel set the whirled free yet

May Feign Ransom

Steve said...

May: you're not fooling me, Mr Branson. I'd recognize Virgin Media copy anywhere.

Being Me said...

Oh, I like Jon's conspiracy theory! And I wouldn't put it past Sir Rich.
I'd hate to be the poor sod who had generated the email. Sounds like some hiccup/glitch that's sent the thing when it shouldn't. Then again.... why have it all composed if there was no intention ever to offer it? I smell a rat.
Speaking of which, I have a blog post to write.....

Steve said...

Being Me: I smelled a rat once too. It had got into the boilers at work over Christmas. Smelled like Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Lady Mondegreen's Secret Garden said...

I'd been back in NZ a week when I got four different emails from bmibaby (directly before a Virgin Australia email but that's beside the point). I had flown with bmibaby mid-Dec and they don't operate in NZ. Was I going to be forced to fly that dreadful flight between Belfast and Birmingham again complete with a landing as bad as the worst at Wellington Airport, and unexplained cattle-herding through locked doors and past security cameras! Such a relief to get the "Sorry about our mistake," email a few days later.

Steve said...

Lady Mondegreen's Secret Garden: maybe it's the new fashion? Prick-tease emails that let you down a few days later? There seem to be a lot of them about!

Löst Jimmy said...

Quick question re: above...The molested disabled baboons?
How disabled?

Steve said...

Löst Jimmy: considerably moreso after Richard had had his way with them.