A day’s worth of videos are uploaded to YouTube every minute. Not all of it goes viral, but some of it should.
Take this batch of customer-service videos. They’re edgy, often clever and they reveal a lot about the state of service in this country today, which, I’ve gotta tell you, isn’t that great.
But unlike the viral videos I featured a few weeks ago, they haven’t really made the rounds. That’s too bad. They are as deserving of the attention as their viral counterparts.
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The backstory: Michel Petey visited Canada and racked up some roaming charges on Verizon. Each kilobyte of data costs two-tenths of a penny.
But Verizon charged two-tenths of a dollar, leaving him with a $71.79 bill. When he calls to complain, he talks with an obstinate and apparently innumerate customer-service representative who insists there’s no difference between $.002 and .002 cents. Then the call is escalated to a supervisor, who remarkably stands behind the company’s bad math.
Why it should go viral: Everyone should see this, if for no other reason than that it will remind us to always run the numbers for ourselves – just to be sure.
The backstory: Mark Yoshimoto Nemcoff, a contributor to CNN.com’s iReport section, arrived in Fort Lauderdale late one evening to find a long line at the Hertz car rental counter and only one person working at it. Oh, wait. Make that no one. The employee walks away, claiming she’s “off the clock” — but not before giving the crowd a salute. And those electronic kiosks that let you check in without the benefit of an associate? They’re broken.
Why it should go viral: Who hasn’t stood in a long line that seems to be going nowhere? This time, there was a guy with a camera in the line for our benefit.
The backstory: “When Apple refused to honor my warranty, I destroyed my Macbook in retribution,” explains Michael Whitford, a systems engineer from Chandler, Ariz. And how! Whitford says Apple technicians voided his warranty because of “spill damage” (which he denies) and wanted to charge him to fix the laptop. So he exacts his revenge on the non-working technology by smashing it to smithereens with a sledgehammer. Great visual. And Whitford looks noticeably relieved when he is done. Apple reportedly replaced his laptop after the video appeared.
Why it should go viral: With more than half a million views, it technically has. But it deserves more. No company wants to see its product battered online like this. It’s better to take care of customers the first time.
The backstory: They got his fast-food order wrong. He got even. In a gritty, unedited video, we see it all: McDonalds employees ignoring the upset customer, his threats that the footage “will be on CNN” and finally, getting interrogated by police off camera. It’s impossible to not feel a little ambivalence toward this video. You feel for the customer, whose food is getting cold inside a paper bag. At the same time, you can’t help but sympathize with the employees who are being filmed against their will.
Why it should go viral: This is a sign of things to come. Wait until everyone is wearing a camera in a surveillance society.
The backstory: A 56-year-old car buyer is unhappy with his purchase at a Miami-area Ford dealership. So he shows up in person to complain.
When the answer isn’t to his liking, he drives his new car through the window, sets it on fire and sets the other cars in the showroom on fire. What a scene! And who hasn’t fantasized about doing this to a car dealership that took advantage of them?
Why it should go viral: A customers setting a car dealership on fire — that doesn’t happen every day.