My first encounter was with Intern Elf, who told me that all lines were busy and put me on hold. After repeating this process several times, Intern Elf eventually permitted me access to Junior Elf. Junior Elf was pleasant but, shall we say, one wand short of spellbinding. The first task they set me was to tell them my Virgin.com password. I began, one character at a time - which is when the problems started. First character, fine, but when I moved onto the second character, it became apparent that Junior Elf could not retain more than one character at a time, so we had to go back to the beginning and start again. After repeating this process five or six times, Junior Elf put me on hold. When Junior Elf returned, we started the whole process again, including being put on hold. To their credit, Junior Elf clearly realized their limitations and on their third manifestation, decided to transfer me to Middle Ranking Executive Elf. After putting me on hold for some time.
Middle Ranking Executive Elf was a different kettle of fish altogether - bold, efficient, an Elf who gets things done. After expressing their incredulity that I wanted to downgrade my TV package, Middle Ranking Executive Elf put me on hold (see, they've done something already). On their return, Middle Ranking Executive Elf was ready to discuss money. Although I would save £12.50 a month, Virgin would then charge me £5 a month for the Virgin box. At that point, Middle Ranking Executive Elf "had an idea". They put me on hold. When they returned, they wanted to make me an offer. If I agreed to upgrade my broadband package, doubling the speed to 20 megs, they would cut my total bill by £20 a month, leaving me with the same TV package as before. Clearly this was a trap, so in a clever double bluff, I agreed. In a final flourish, Middle Ranking Executive Elf put me on hold. On their final appearance, they told me that Virgin now owed me money and would cut £4 off my next bill. And then they were gone.
Later that night, I sat trembling in front of Jamie's TV School, waiting for the whole thing to go wrong and Virgin to cut off all my services. But so far, so good. And I didn't even have to mention the "S" word.