An Open Letter To Orange

February 16, 2011

Dear Orange,

I am thinking of writing a letter of complaint to Trading Standards about the name of your Orange shops. Not because you don’t sell oranges, I have always understood the difference between the phone service and the fruit, and have never confused you with the protestant order. It’s because I think your name doesn’t represent what you offered to me yesterday when I took my phone in. Yesterday my phone became, like so many people nowadays – dead. I needed your help but didn’t especially get it. Here are some names I think you could call your shop, to make it clearer what precisely you are offering:

-Confused Man In Largely Empty Room Store

-The Fake Phone on a String Store

-The “I Need To Ask Him” Store

-An Elaborate Way of Making a Phone Call to Orange Store

The man I asked to try and fix my phone asked me if I had tried charging it. I responded through gritted teeth that ever since first owning a mobile phone I had made a habit of it. He then tried to excavate dust from the charging port on the bottom of my phone. This took nearly fifteen minutes as he fashioned a rudimentary tool from an A4 piece of paper (blank, but it would have worked just as well with writing on) and scraped what was essentially particles of my dead flesh out of the cavity. Uncomfortable. Not least because we ended up staring at a pile of detritus that was actually quite startling. Something came out that looked like a very tiny bobble hat. Also there was something strangely intimate about it, which I didn’t want. At this point the sheer volume of what he had dug out had encouraged me that this might be the problem. He plugged it in. Nothing. He clicked something on the computer. I asked him what he was doing. “I don’t know,” he said.

That was when he gave me a phone to phone Orange. Now I don’t understand why, when I am in an Orange store, that has all the hallmarks of being connected to Orange (the logo, the phones, a computer or two) I can’t be dealt with in the store. Why are you so thoroughly divided between confused people in lonely rooms, and people on the phone with fictitious accents? Why? It’s really annoying. Especially when you are like me and you have the patience of a forest fire. For me patience is not a virtue, it’s a myth; I get annoyed with myself if I can’t piss quick enough. So I am not the best at dealing with the call centre scenario where the same information is asked for 883 million times and you get given all kinds of lengthy footnotes and useless information by the poor wretch having to deal with you. Where are these poor wretches from as well Orange? Seriously, I can recognise a lot of accents but the people I spoke to yesterday had an accent as full of surprise twists as an M. Night Shyamalan film. Do they get so bored they make one up? Are they Swedo-Japanese graduates of an international school? I want to know.

I am now sat in a five hour window I was given to receive my phone. I know full well as soon as I decide to do anything; wash, brush my teeth, even dress, the phone will arrive. Are your delivery men such a mystery to you that to give them an actual time to deliver something is anathema? Are the ways of these people so delicate that to pierce their rituals with even the mention of a specific time would send them shrieking back into the crevice they had emerged from, possibly never to return, a vital trust broken between the two species? The sound of a distant moped signalling the end of a bond that had served you both for decades?

Are there not phones in the shop you could have given me Orange? Process the info on a computer and get a phone out the back no? No? Why not? I needed a phone yesterday. A man came in after me who wanted to pay his Orange bill and lift a bar on his phone. He was told if he paid it there it would take three days, if he rang up it might be instant. I don’t get that.

After I had been on the phone for half an hour, something I have never done even with my mother, I asked the man in the store if he could tell me how to retrieve voicemails from other phones. “I don’t have a clue to be honest mate,” was his honest response. He had the air of a hostage being told that a bomb would be detonated unless he carried on working: the all-time shittest version of Speed ever, comprising of an escalation of mildly embarrassing exchanges punctured with a man looking at phones in wonder.

I did figure out how to get voicemails from other phones eventually. I imagined frantic messages from people desperate to talk with me or share with me or just plain love me and the huge glazed cherry on the fuck-off cake, after several different conversations about setting this up, was the immortal  line: “You have no new messages.”

Cack and spume to it all.

Yours Forever (due to pay monthly contract)

Daniel Rigby


One Response to “An Open Letter To Orange”

  1. Rachel Says:

    I’m with Orange too.
    They should change all their shops so they’re called’ The Temples of Despair’. It’d be more accurate.

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