One of the downsides of getting rid of the privacy bush earlier this year – aside from the fact it took us ages to coax the grass into growing again – is that people can pretty much just see into the front room. And another of the downsides, is that we have a window that starts at about shin-height for whatever reason, so people can really see into the front room.
I was happily – well, I mean, I was getting on with it – ironing this afternoon when someone walked past and had a good mooch in the window. It wasn’t anyone that lived on the street, it was a stranger. I could have pointed at him, there and then, and shouted stranger like the kids towards the end of Kindergarten Cop but I didn’t. I just waited for the inevitable knock on the door.
I considered ignoring it.
I have done that in the past, quite blatantly. People have even leant around from the door to look in the window again and found me, unmoved, just shaking my head in what I hope is interpreted as “please go away”. Usually, it has to be said, these are members of religious movements who feel the need to come and peddle their nonsense at the doors of strangers, and they give the game away because they always travel in pairs.
This was a lone wolf.
I answered the door. Clocked his Virgin Media branded shirt. Said no thanks. And closed the door again.
As I was closing it, he feebly asked if we’d had a bad experience. I continued to close the door, but I could happily have opened it and given him a list of reasons. Well, just one reason but what I’d do is repeat it, ad infinitum, but with maybe just a subtle change every now and again. Much like Virgin Media do with most of their marketing.
I think it would probably be fair to say that quite a high percentage of our yearly recycling is made up of Virgin Media stuff. Booklets showing me all the channels I can get if I just offer up my first born and agree to be tied into a contract longer than the lifespan of a Galapagos turtle. We get something more of less every week.
Most of the time, for whatever reason, it’s addressed to me.
I guess it’s because the mailing lists for these things are compiled in the antiquated way that I am man, me make decision. In much the same way the adverts for Beagle Street imply that it’s the man’s responsibility to pay the mortgage and all the woman has to do is convince her other half to get life insurance and she’s sorted.
Being man and making decision, I make the decision to not open most of the Virgin mailers aside from removing the bit with my name and address on for future shredding. And that’s because you know when an A4 white envelope comes through the door, it’s going to be a Virgin offer with a fake receipt attached showing what you can save (which, incidentally, is not how receipts work).
So Virgin get clever. They know you’ve rumbled them. So they send stuff out in a smaller brown envelope. No-one ignores a brown envelope because brown envelopes are invariably bad news of some sort. HMRC, for example, loves a brown envelope. And that’s rarely good news.
So you open the brown envelope and it’s just a smaller booklet and a letter with a smaller fake receipt. And then you hate Virgin more.
And then because you’re rumbled them, the post stops. And they send a man round to get your bank details on the doorstep because why wouldn’t you want to sign up right there and then?
I expect he’s added us to some sort of list now, since I shut the door in his face. I bet we get an absolute shit-ton of leaflets now.
I mean, if it’s possible to get more than the number we already get that is….