Mktg Is that the consumer helpline for Velvet?
Velvet Yes, can I help you? (sounding irritated).
Mktg I've always bought Velvet toilet roll because I had this impression that it's better than the others, but I was a bit alarmed the other week because there were quite a few marks that looked like dirt on one of the rolls. Do you know what this could be and whether it's normal?
Velvet Can you send the sample into us so we can investigate it?
Mktg I'm afraid my flatmate threw it away. But just for my peace of mind, I wanted to know what you thought it could be?
Velvet We would need a sample of the tissue or the cardboard core, which would give us a reference number. That would tell us if there had been a problem on the line that day. It may just be grease or oil.
Mktg Grease or oil? That's a little bit disconcerting.
Velvet I understand that and I apologise, but we can't do anything without the sample. I'm just suggesting that it may be grease used when they have a shut-down on the line and the engineers work on it, but I can't say without the sample. If it is grease, I can assure you it is non-toxic. But obviously, it shouldn't have happened.
Mktg How do you test the rolls?
Velvet Engineers do quality checks every hour.
Mktg Engineers? Do they wear special gloves? I don't like the idea of dirty, greasy hands anywhere near my toilet roll; it touches very personal parts of me.
Velvet Obviously, our health and safety standards are the top priority, so engineers aren't allowed to go on the lines without protection.
Mktg They wouldn't ever touch a toilet roll that I would then use to touch my bum, would they?
Velvet They have to abide by all the health and safety rules.
Mktg I'm just worried about doing any damage to my body if I use a toilet roll now.
Velvet No, no. What's your address? I'll send you £10 worth of vouchers.
The call-handler sounded irritated to begin with, then warmed up and took my enquiry seriously. But although she answered all my questions adequately and ventured a guess at what might have happened, she didn't add to my impression of Velvet as a brand. Given that it positions itself as quirky, outgoing and with a sense of humour - it calls its consumer help unit the 'bum care department' - I expected its call-handlers to reflect these qualities.
- Score 6/10.