Skip to main content

Tom Tom go red

I don't care what all the jokes say, or those Daily Mail stories about lorries going 300 miles out of their way through tiny villages, I find my sat nav intensely useful. Particularly when navigating in unknown territory on my own, it's fantastic.

There's not a lot of point, though, if the maps are out of date, so I subscribe to an update service and the other day, I received an email from Tom Tom, informing me that a new set of maps were ready for download. Well and good. But there was something about the email that stopped me in my electronic tracks. It began as follows:

Dear English Bas

Now, bearing in mind that Tom Tom is a European company, it was hard not to fill in the implied '...' and complete the third word in that greeting with 'tard'. Oh, ho, I thought (as no doubt did many others), here's a Tom Tom employee with a grudge, sending out a naughty (if truncated) email.

A few hours later I received another email from Tom Tom, which I have copied below. My only observation: could this be the first time a company employee has had to change his name in order to get the company out of a scrape? Do you really believe he was always called that? Here's the excuse:

Dear Brian,
You have just received an email which was not up to the standards of TomTom.

The greeting (Dear English Bas) was in fact specifying the language of the mail followed by my first name, this should have been personalised with your name.
We apologize for this error and for any inconvenience this might have caused. Underneath you will find the correct email...

All the best,

Bas Komen

TomTom team


  1. There was a news items recently suggesting that GPS devices were very green because of the amount of unnecesary miles that were cut out.

  2. That's rather amusing, Brian !!!

  3. To put your mind at rest, Bas is a fairly common Dutch name (TomTom is a Dutch product), so I think the excuse is probably genuine ... although the mistake is still pretty embarrassing!

  4. I too received these emails from tomtom strangely enough though there were no map updates for my device. Leads me to think it wasn't an all together honest follow up email.

  5. Brian - I did have a map update, so I suspect some people either had already downloaded it, or it was sent a little wider than necessary, but was basically genuine in the original.

    Helen - I suspected it was a genuine Dutch name, but I still quite like the idea of them having to do a quick renaming ceremony to explain away a disgruntled employee email. These have certainly happened in the past... (The emails, not the naming ceremonies.)


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Is 5x3 the same as 3x5?

The Internet has gone mildly bonkers over a child in America who was marked down in a test because when asked to work out 5x3 by repeated addition he/she used 5+5+5 instead of 3+3+3+3+3. Those who support the teacher say that 5x3 means 'five lots of 3' where the complainants say that 'times' is commutative (reversible) so the distinction is meaningless as 5x3 and 3x5 are indistinguishable. It's certainly true that not all mathematical operations are commutative. I think we are all comfortable that 5-3 is not the same as 3-5.  However. This not true of multiplication (of numbers). And so if there is to be any distinction, it has to be in the use of English to interpret the 'x' sign. Unfortunately, even here there is no logical way of coming up with a definitive answer. I suspect most primary school teachers would expands 'times' as 'lots of' as mentioned above. So we get 5 x 3 as '5 lots of 3'. Unfortunately that only wor

Why I hate opera

If I'm honest, the title of this post is an exaggeration to make a point. I don't really hate opera. There are a couple of operas - notably Monteverdi's Incoranazione di Poppea and Purcell's Dido & Aeneas - that I quite like. But what I do find truly sickening is the reverence with which opera is treated, as if it were some particularly great art form. Nowhere was this more obvious than in ITV's recent gut-wrenchingly awful series Pop Star to Opera Star , where the likes of Alan Tichmarsh treated the real opera singers as if they were fragile pieces on Antiques Roadshow, and the music as if it were a gift of the gods. In my opinion - and I know not everyone agrees - opera is: Mediocre music Melodramatic plots Amateurishly hammy acting A forced and unpleasant singing style Ridiculously over-supported by public funds I won't even bother to go into any detail on the plots and the acting - this is just self-evident. But the other aspects need some ex

Best writing advice

I saw on Twitter the other day (via someone I know answering it), the question 'What's the best writing advice you would give to someone who wants to become a writer?' My knee-jerk response was 'Don't do it, because you aren't one.' What I mean by this is that - at least in my personal experience - you don't become a writer. Either you are one, or you aren't. There's plenty of advice to be had on how to become a better writer, or how to become a published writer... but certainly my case I always was one - certainly as soon as I started reading books.  While I was at school, I made comics. I wrote stories.  My first novel was written in my teens (thankfully now lost). I had a first career that wasn't about being a writer, but I still wrote in my spare time, sending articles off to magazines and writing a handful of novels. And eventually writing took over entirely. If you are a writer, you can't help yourself. You just do it. I'm writ