James O'Neill's Blog

June 28, 2007

Two stories of consumers who wouldn’t put up with it.

Filed under: General musings — jamesone111 @ 9:31 pm

For years – and I hadn’t realised quite how many years I’ve been trying to get a specific DVD. It’s a TV series called “Joking Apart”. It was written by Stephen Moffat, who is better known for “Coupling”, some Episodes of the rejuvenated Dr who (“Blink” in this series, and acclaimed “The empty Child” from the first series). He was responsible for Jekyll which has just started on BBC, featuring James Nesbit from Cold Feet.Joking Apart features another Cold Feet star – Robert Bathurst, and has some very quotable dialog “I had a bad experience at a funeral. I caught the bouquet” or “You can’t be this stupid I’ve seen you use light switches”. Moffat likes to play with time lines. The first line of whole series is a stand-up comic saying “My wife left me”. Then we see the couple meet, and each episode is an intricately plotted farce as we find out how she ended up leaving him. (Read what Moffat says about this approach to plots)

Now I talked a couple of days ago about Video tapes, and somewhere I still have one or two episodes. With so much stuff appearing on DVD I kept looking for Joking Apart. So did other people, and it never came. Then one fan, Craig Robins, found that the BBC will sell rights to programmes it isn’t using to anyone with a plan for how to use them properly. So he put together a plan, did the DVD and sells it direct from his web-site. He won’t make a fortune doing it, but I can’t help feeling he deserves to.

It was thinking of video tapes or rather the shelf space I’d like to get back by replacing some VHS cassettes with DVDs, and that led me to discover Robins’ work I ordered the disc on the spot. I had a courtesy mail a couple of hours later to say it was dispatched and the following morning it was on the doormat. Great customer service as well.


At the very opposite end of the customer service scale, airlines from the US have been pretty dire in my experience American have proved to OK, Continental, and NorthWest less so. I won’t fly with United airlines. I had an experience so bad with them in 2000, I swore never, ever, again. And I meant it. Of course back in 2000 we didn’t have camera phones. Even if we did I’m not sure I would have had the presence of mind to make a video of it. That’s what Robert McKee did. When his Delta flight had been sitting on the ground for two hours without any word of what was happening, he whipped out his camera and chronicled what turned into a 7 hour delay. There was no food to record, but plenty of crying babies. I doubt if I’ll be flying with Delta any time soon.

Thanks to Scoble for the link to consumerist who had the quote “The ubiquity, ease, and low cost of consumer recording, editing and sharing software is quickly making it less feasible for big companies to get away with stuff like this.” Indeed.


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This post originally appeared on my technet blog.


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