Monday, 29 October 2007

Securely does it !

Today I reported, for the fourth time, a locker at Virgin Active's Barbican branch which cannot be locked. The punter thinks they've locked it, but they haven't, because the whole lock barrel can be rotated 360° in the door, and is therefore as much use as if it were made of playdough. With green food colouring in.

Previous attempts to report it have met with the dreaded "I will hand it on to Operations" which seems to translate as:

  • "Abandon Hope An Ting" or
  • "Your Message, My *rse" or
  • "Oops, Silly Me, Pressed Delete" or
  • "Don't Waste My Time You Sad Old F*rt" or
  • whatever.

Perhaps the gym is so busy installing nauseating, patronizing, half-witted cack new signage that it has no spare time to deal with this boring old maintenance and security thing? (That's, like, sooo 90s!) Or maybe they need a new sign which, while meeting the New Corporate Standard, addresses the issue? Yeah, how about:

  • "Honesty Zone ! You Don't Have To Lock Up Here !" or
  • "No-one Ever Steals Things From Changing Rooms, Silly !"
  • "Oopsie ! All Your Stuff Is Gone !" or
  • "Bye Bye Possessions ! You Don't Need Them Anyway !" or
  • "Property is Theft !" or even a nice straightforward
  • "We Might Have Prevented This But Couldn't Be Bothered !"

That should do it nicely.

Pending that, do you think:

  • I'll get a reply
  • They'll say "I will hand it on to Operations"
  • They'll react positively if I reply "but you always say that and nothing happens"
  • They'll actually fix it
  • They would mind if I put up a page called "How To Steal Things at VA Barbican"
  • They'll explain why it's taken four complaints thus far?

Ah, questions questions.

You're probably wondering why I can be bothered and why I care so much. Er, good question. The short answer is I don't really care - after all, I know which locker to avoid and I know what to look for on other lockers. So am I claiming altruism? Hmmmm ... well sort of, but not really - it's more of a (somewhat OCD-ish) matter of principle. It's a great place to go, for my purposes, but is not cheap to belong to and I think customer concerns and complaints need treating less casually than this. Everyone can see what they ought to do: I mean, good grief, even I, King of the Slobs, was sent on a Customer Service course fifteen or so years ago and can spout the spiel as well as the next nerd. Why they don't do any of this stuff - while rabbitting on about their high standards - is beyond me. I can think of several responses which would satisfy me, but seemingly VA can't. They talk the talk but don't look at the lock. It's sad.

Typography Zone !

Note: I would like readers to be aware that in my suggestions, above, the space between the last word and the exclamation mark is a little trick I rather cleverly picked up from VA's new signage ! I think it adds a sophisticated, light, witty touch to boring old writing word things ! I'm going to use it all the time from now on ! (Or Maybe Just Kill Myself ! Messily ! In the Manager's Office ! Oopsie ! Suicide Zone ! Hahah ! <g> ! LOL ! Byeee !)

Erm ...

Do you think this blogentity sounds just a touch mad and angry? ... Oh well.

Update - 18th March 2008: locker 287 is at last fixed along with all its brothers and sisters, hurrah. Please see "Vogel is nice about a Virgin business again - thousands treated for shock".


Jacob said...

I have recently found that complaining about customer service is about as useful as sticking your head in an oven. Of course, I couldn't even do that because British Gas took over 2 weeks and about 15 phone calls to fix ours.

Strawberryyog said...

Arf! And yes. It might be more honest if some of these organizations replaced some of the current propaganda with more truthful statements like "your views are not important to us", "don't bother contacting us, it will make no odds", "we've already got your money, why should we care?" or even the classic "just go away".