Thursday, 26 November 2009

Three is NOT the magic number

Here's a letter I'm planning to hand deliver to the Three Mobile store in Long Row, Nottingham. This letter was prompted by a sign I saw outside their store.

Dear Three Mobile store

I walk past your shop every day and, from time to time, your offers catch my eye. Recently, however, your offers board seems to be incredibly discriminatory towards those of us who have a lower social standing.

You have an A-board advertising "Managers Special" which is, to my mind, rather unfair. Why would you advertise an offer which only applies to those in management? Don't you realise the majority of paid employment isn't for management positions?

I'll admit, I was a manager for a year, but the company gave me a mobile phone during that year so I had no choice of network. Now that I have a choice, I see that it is seriously reduced by you making your best deals available only to those who 'hire and fire'.

Whilst this may be some sophisticated 'trickle-down economics' way of encouraging entrepreneurs, I don't believe it's good business for you, nor does it expand my choice as a consumer.

May I ask you to expand your offers to us mere non-management mortals soon?

Yours sincerely

James Lloyd

PS: It has just struck me that you could have missed out an apostrophe and that you could mean "Manager's Special" - a special offer from the manager of the store but being as this sign has been up for over a month I doubt it. I mean, I'm sure the manager him/herself has an English GCSE or more?

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Dear Virgin Atlantic....

This is my latest letter. This time to Virgin Atlantic, a company with whom I have taken flights a number of times. I'm hoping this serious matter is addressed. I'll keep you posted.

Hello Virgin people

Firstly I'd like to thank you for a number of really pleasant flights to and from New York in the last ten years. I think I've notched up 9 or 10 now and they've all been exceptionally good. I'd also like to thank you for my flight in May of this year to San Francisco. Sadly, customs wouldn't let me enter the US with flowers in my hair but I did manage a plastic ornamental wreath around my neck so all was not lost.

Yesterday, however, was a time of deep distress. My last flight with you was in premium economy (a very comfy way to travel) and as a result I had a lovely purple premium economy pen to show for my travels. This goes to work with me every day along with the red economy pen from my NYC break in Feb 08. The red pen has served me well through thick and thin. The purple pen, however, disgraced itself yesterday.

I work at a radio station in Nottingham and pens are a valuable commodity so I bring my own. Yesterday while I was writing down details of a song request from a very excited caller my purple pen performed what can only be described as an 'ejector seat' move (something I don't advise you install for passengers on your plane). The pen lid hit the ceiling tiles and the nib disappeared, never to be seen again. I've not been this shocked since Simon Cowell saved John and Edward on the X Factor.

I expected more from a 'premium' product especially as my economy pen is still going strong. Next February I'm planning on going to New York for an improv course and I am planning to go out Premium Economy and come back Upper Class (my first time trying out the suite) but I'm now filled with dread that the pen I get in Upper might not even last me my journey home.

As someone who is very brand loyal to Virgin I thought it right to point out this matter so that you might ensure the pen situation doesn't get out of control. I'd hate to think of Mr Branson having his pen give way whilst signing an important contract. Especially if it was a contract for the company who provide your onboard pens.

Warm regards

Flying Club Member: xxxxxxxxxxx


I have received the following reply:

Dear Mr Lloyd (oh please, everyone calls me Lloydie, you can too)

Thank you for your e-mail and I apologise for the delay in getting back to you.

I am sorry to read that the pen you received in your Premium Economy amenity kit when travelling with Virgin Atlantic earlier this year has now broken six months later. From what you wrote, I understand you enjoyed using that pen so I appreciate that this has frustrated you. However I am glad to read that the pen you were given when travelling in the Economy cabin has proved more robust and is still in good working order.

We thank you for your loyalty to Virgin Atlantic and look forward to welcoming you on board again next year.

Kind Regards
Joanne Dear Executive Office

Well she seems nice, and I'm glad she appreciates my frustration. Alas no promise of a signed Richard Branson photo, but then I'll forgive her, because he might be having trouble with his pen. ;0)

Nice one Virgin. I'm glad you guys have a sense of humour!