Fishminster? Pissminster! How to lose a customer forever - even if you sell something superb. Plus the problem with big organisations - and a songbird
Yesterday, my stomach rumbling happily, I strolled into an excellent (if expensive) fish and chip joint near me called Fishminster. (Why the odd name? They belong to Pieminster, a highly successful pie makers that started up in Bedminster in Bristol).
I was really looking forward to that crispy batter, those glorious chips. There was no other customer. Just the guy behind the counter chatting to a friend.
I stood there. He ignored me. I left.
He ruined my afternoon, the lazy prick. I will never go there again. That's not just one sale lost. It's years of sales. I would guess about £5,000.
Very perceptive observations in the Financial Times by Luke Johnson - the man who made Pizza Express and Strada so successful. The great divide between competence and uselessness is not between public and private sectors. It's between large and small.
He speaks of the "airless coffins" in which middle managers are confined. People to whom risk-taking is totally alien. They focus on "cost-cutting, out-sourcing and automation".
This instantly reminded me of my experiences this week in getting my passport delivered. I paid £20 extra for this to get it delivered. The Pisspot Office managed to find a delivery firm I never heard of called DX.
But it's even more bloody useless than the others (hard). I believe they've a new website that expresses their corporate vision called www.wedon'tgiveaflyingfuck.com.
I had to spend an extra £23 on a taxi to their depot because instead of delivering to my office as agreed they delivered it to Bristol - where the doorbell doesn't ring.
I think they have an About Us section on their website that reads "Proudly automated. If you can find out how to talk to a live human here you get a prize".
When you read this I'll be on my way to New York - moderately happy because I've already sold 18 out of 40 seats for EADIM next year, which will be at the start of October.
Yesterday when I went to get the train tickets to Heathrow, suddenly a familiar voice spoke next to me. It was my daughter Martina Topley-Bird, the celebrated chanteuse - now working mostly with Massive Attack.
She had this astounding Vivien Westwood thing on. Was it a coat? Was it a dress? Was it a plan? I don't know. but I guarantee there's nothing like it anywhere else in Bristol, where it turns out she's teaching music.
Hear her at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_pkWUNCv0k