VERITY LUSH: Thank goodness Richard Branson has no designs on the health service

Verity has been going around in call centre circles
Verity has been going around in call centre circles
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There can be little else so frustrating in life, as ringing the Virgin Media call centre.

Firstly, you speak to someone who is sitting in another country. No problem with this aspect of the service, but when that poor messenger appears to have been given a crib sheet of greetings from The Crown to speak from, it becomes slightly crackers.

For instance, when I had to deal with a variety of companies after the death of my grandfather, all but one was excellent.

The bank, my solicitor, the phone company, the gas and electric and so on, were all compassionate and kind.

The exception was Virgin.

Virgin did not pass on condolences or make the horrible task any easier. Instead, I was passed from pillar to post waiting for a call back from their bereavement department, and when eventually I tracked them down myself, they asked me what his ‘expiration date’ was. Something was definitely lost in translation.

Recently, I rang Virgin and proceeded to engage in a conversation that would have been hilarious to me had I not been involved in it. Round and round in circles we went, the woman not understanding me and vice versa, until I was passed through to a tech guy who said the problem wasn’t my TV but the box and he’d send a new one.

But in order to do so, I had to be transferred yet again to someone else.

Most disappointingly, that someone else was the woman to whom I had originally spoken who was as confused as I was to hear from me again, and who couldn’t grasp what to do about my needing a new box. Cue much deep breathing and attempts to empathise with being the messenger who most likely gets shot on a regular basis thanks to this bizarre system.

Whenever someone complains about GPs’ reception triage, perhaps we should bear in mind that at least it’s not that of Virgin Media.

I am unaware of Richard Branson making plans to take over the health system, and for that we should all be grateful.

M&S – A SIGN OF BETTER THINGS TO COME?

Thanks to Ocean Retail Park (or ‘Burrfields’ to the majority of the city), the northern end of Portsmouth has finally had some life injected into it.

Copnor Road has always had a variety of local shops with a firm following, such as Real Country Butchers, but something more has been needed in the district, given the dilapidated state of London Road which, unless you want to gamble,

drink and kebab yourself to death, is of little use. The number of pubs, takeaways, bookies and funeral parlours is ever-growing.

The return of M&S to this end of the city is astounding, given that it once sat proudly in the centre of North End.

Hopefully this is a sign of better things to come.

SHOULD I COME OFF FACEBOOK?

I have been toying with the idea of removing myself from Facebook and deleting my account. Not for ethical, moral high ground reasons, but just because so much of our lives is ‘out there’.

The novelty of Facebook wore off long ago for many older folk, I suspect.

My only reason for staying on it is the ease of keeping in touch with friends with whom you share a past, such as school or work, and for whom you feel affection but don’t regularly meet.

It’s lovely to see people’s kids grow up when you otherwise wouldn’t, especially if they’re no longer in the UK, but it’s disturbing that we are a society living out our lives on screen.