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I, Robot

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I, Robot

TAB UK - Tom Ms blog - The Bluffington Post (1)

Issue 347

Customer vs. Big Corporate: A Witty Rebuttal

Older readers may remember Hutber’s Law (named after the City Editor of the Sunday Torygraph fifty [gulp] years ago) – “Improvement means deterioration”.

It is of course true that the world of tech has brought us many benefits (not least, this blog hem hem) – but some innovations can reduce us (or at any rate, me! – it’s my blog and I’ll rant if I want to) to impotent rage. Not least of these are the automated response systems used by Big Corporate.

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But at least some stalwart customers are fighting back. Here’s a letter written by an 86-year-old lady to her bankers (HT Mark Lister for drawing this to the Ed’s attention) --

“Dear Sir

I am writing to thank you for bouncing my cheque with which I endeavoured to pay my plumber last month.

By my calculations, three nanoseconds must have elapsed between his presenting the cheque and the arrival in my account of the funds needed to honour it.

I refer, of course, to the automatic monthly deposit of my entire pension, an arrangement which, I admit, has been in place for only eight years.

You are to be commended for seizing that brief window of opportunity, and also for debiting my account with £30 by way of penalty for the inconvenience caused to your bank.

My thankfulness springing from the manner in which this incident was handled has caused me to rethink my errant financial ways.

I notice that, whereas I personally answer your telephone calls and letters, when I try to contact you I am confronted by the impersonal, overcharging, pre-recorded, faceless entity which your bank has become.

From now on, I, like you, choose only to deal with a flesh-and-blood person.

My mortgage and loan repayments will therefore and hereafter no longer be automatic, but will arrive at your bank, by cheque, addressed personally and confidentially to an employee at your bank, whom you must nominate.

Be aware that it is an OFFENCE under the Postal Services Act for any other person to open such an envelope.

Please find attached an Application Contract which I require your chosen employee to complete. I am sorry it runs to eight pages, but in order that I know as much about him or her as your bank knows about me, there is no alternative.

Please note that all copies of his or her medical history must be countersigned by a Notary Public, and the mandatory details of his/her financial situation (income, debts, assets, and liabilities) must be accompanied by documented proof.

In due course (at MY convenience) I will issue your employee with a PIN which he/she must quote in dealings with me. I regret that it cannot be shorter than 28 digits but, again, I have modelled it on the number of button presses required of me to access my account balance on your phone banking service.

As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Let me level the playing field even further.

When you call me, immediately after dialling, press the star (*) button for English. Then press buttons as follows –

  • #1 to make an appointment with me
  • #2 to query a missing payment
  • #3 to transfer the call to my living room in case I am there
  • #4 to transfer the call to my bedroom in case I am sleeping
  • #5 to transfer the call to my toilet in case I am attending to nature
  • #6 to transfer the call to my mobile phone if I am not at home
  • #7 to leave a message on my computer. For this, a password will be required; this will be communicated to you at a later date, to the Authorized Contact mentioned earlier
  • #8 to return to the main menu and to listen again to options 1 to 9
  • #9 to make a general complaint or inquiry

The contact will then be put on hold, pending the attention of my automated answering service. While this may, on occasion, involve a lengthy wait, uplifting music will play for the duration of the call.

Regrettably, but again following your example, I must also levy an establishment fee to cover the cost of setting up this new arrangement.

My I wish you a happy, if ever so slightly less prosperous, New Year?

Your Humble Client

PS don’t make old people angry. We don’t like being old in the first place, so it doesn’t take much to p*ss us off”

(To the bank manager’s credit, he sent the letter to a national newspaper for publication).

Surely (I (don’t) hear you say) he can’t concoct a link to TAB from that …. larffably easy. Are you sure that none of your communications with clients or prospects winds them up in a similar way? How can you be so sure? Well …. how would it be if you had access to a group of seven other independent business owners, who you meet every month, and who will not only give you a different perspective, but also robust feedback, support, and advice, with no axe to grind? You could run your proposed marketing spiel (or whatever) past them and ask for their advice …. if this sounds attractive, you know where to come!

Columbo Corner

Columbo Corner (2)

Columbo is busy this week (having a last minute look through the party manifestos) but there is just time (HT Clue) for the statutory animal story, under the stonking headline Diesel The Escaped Pet Donkey Found Living With Elk After Five Years (in a purely platonic relationship, you’ll be relieved to hear). His owners (Terrie and Dave Drewry, from California (but you guessed that)) spotted him five years after he did a runner, but they are relieved he is safe, and have decided to let him wander free with a new family as a “wild burro”. Pic here. Awww ….

Have a great election!

Cheers for now,

Board Announcements

For a light-hearted look at some of what TAB does, check out this video:

I presently run two Boards: 

  • Blue (for people who run large businesses) – one spare seat
  • White Board (for people who run fast-growing businesses) — three spare seats

Get in touch if you want to find out more.

Final words of wisdom (not mine)

“The strength of the donkey mind lies in adopting a course inversely as the arguments urged” (George Eliot)


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