Pink Dog

What I’d like from Richard Branson in 2010

Dear Mr Branson,

It’s a simple request really. There’s a utility box of yours that’s sat on pavement and been badly broken for months. Having passed it a few times myself, I finally got round to reporting it five months ago. Since then I’ve sent a fair few emails, I’ve been promised this has been raised with your firm, I’ve been told you’ve missed the legal deadline for responding, I’ve sent more emails. And you know what? That broken, badly damaged box at the corner of Hornsey Lane and Crouch End Hill in north London is still there.

There is the small matter of the legal onus on Virgin to resolve this.

There’s also the questionable commercial judgement involved in failing to fix it. I get an awful lot of direct mail from your various firms. But you know what I think each time I receive one of those? I get reminded about the broken box and how you and your colleagues aren’t organised enough to have managed to sort it out yet. Who knows, the copy in the direct mail may be wonderful. The people you pay to produce, design, target and send it may be fantastic. But all their work does is remind me of this failure.

It may be unfashionable to say, but there’s also a question of morality. That pavement isn’t your private property to use as you wish. It’s public property – paid for by taxes – that we, the public, have consented to let you use so you can earn money out of selling us a service. When you use something that isn’t your own, I think you should take proper care of it. It’s great that the law says you should too. It makes sense for your own commercial self-interest too. But even if it was none of that, it would still be the right thing to do.

So perhaps you could start 2010 off as I hope you mean to go on: by getting some of your staff to do the right thing?

Here’s hoping…

Best wishes,


UPDATE: Virgin has been in touch and is on the case. Fingers crossed…