Monday, 7th December 2015

by Joshua Gaskell

I click ‘unsubscribe’ on an email from Virgin Trains and am taken to a message saying,

Are you sure?
These service emails are designed to give you updates on your upcoming journeys. You’ve already unsubscribed from our lovely marketing emails (it still hurts).
If you still want to unsubscribe, please call our Customer Relations team on 0333 103 1031. Much love.

With much hate, I call the number. Every attempt is made to get rid of my call before it is answered, including an impertinent offer to fob me off on to National Rail (privatise the profits, nationalise the losses, eh readers?). While on hold, I’m treated to a looped selection of railway-themed pop, e.g. “The Day We Caught the Train” by Ocean Colour Scene, and “Last Train To Clarksville” by The Monkees. (Both songs whose appeal, beyond the cuttings of railwaydom, is that they sound like they’re by The Beatles but they aren’t.)

The call lasts for one hour, twenty-three minutes, and fifteen seconds. Most gallingly, Ocean Colour Scene, The Monkees, et al. are regularly interrupted by a message encouraging me to sign up to emails from Virgin Trains. When I finally get through, the man tells me that the instruction to call customer relations is erroneous and that he cannot unsubscribe me.

It still hurts.

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