Thursday 24 July 2008

Shark attack

14st 0lb; 4.4 units of alcohol yesterday; 1,291; The Sticks.

Talking of customer service, I have been trying for more than three months now to have another website of mine modestly expanded. It being beyond my ultra-modest technical capabilities, I commissioned a firm in Edinburgh to do it for me, despite my lifelong (and, let’s be honest, well-founded) prejudice against everything Scotch that is not bottled and made from malt. Finally despairing that they were ever going to extricate their digits from their sporrans, I asked a North East PR man if he could recommend someone more local to do the job. Yes, indeed, he knew this brilliant firm who were legendarily efficient and unbelievably responsive – he even forwarded me another e-mail demonstrating the remarkable speed with which they had turned around one of his clients’ assignments. So I dropped them a line at the beginning of last week. When I had heard nothing by Friday, I asked my contact whether they were perhaps labouring under the handicap of a particularly aggressive spam filter. He investigated and confirmed that they claimed not to have received my e-mail, but they acknowledged my re-sending of it and promised to get back to me with their ideas and costs early this week.

Having heard no more, I stirred myself today to ask the PR bloke whether he had any other bright ideas, and he came up with someone almost on my doorstep, who responded immediately and said that the job was so simple that they were minded to do it for nothing as a favour. I discouraged this idea, because it seems unsound in principle and I can’t for the life of me think of any reciprocal favour I’d ever be able to do for them. But at least it gave me the perfect opportunity to send a short masterpiece in controlled sarcasm to the firm which had demonstrated that they were not interested. I don’t suppose they ever bothered to open it, which is rather a shame. I am still trying to work out whether their discourtesy reflected the fact that the North East web design sector is still doing incredibly well, despite the challenging business climate, or simply illustrated that they are a premier bunch of complete tosspots.

If you are currently looking for someone in the North East to upgrade your website, may I suggest that you avoid firms named after piscine predators? Though I note that the Wikipedia entry on the eponymous beast says that “Although generally lethargic, they are capable of moving very quickly if the need arises.” Which seems uncannily accurate, at least in part.

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