Pardon me while I rant incessantly: Virtual offices

Chrysler building image courtesy of

I like having satellite radio in my car. There’s so much variety. I can listen to almost any type of music, listen to talk radio shows not available in my town and even listen to national news: Fox, CNN, MSNBC, etc. (Okay, that’s a lie. I never watch or listen to MSNBC. Way too annoying.)

But what I don’t like about listening to the news on satellite radio are the commercials. The commercials on TV are bad enough. As I type this, I’ve got that jingle in my head: “The Vil-lages! America’s friendliest hometown! The Vil-lages!” And now, so do you. You’re welcome.

I can’t even listen to my favorite news station with my kids in the car because every other commercial is an ad for erectile dysfunction. On a positive note, at least radio commercials don’t have some couple sitting in side-by-side matching bathtubs holding hands on the beach. What’s up with that? (Oh, boy. Can’t wait to see my spam filter after this post.) But I digress…

Last week I heard an ad for something called a “virtual office”. Based on what they said in the ad, I knew I had to check out their website. Because I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. But sure enough, I heard correctly:

You can pay people to set up an elaborate hoax so that potential clients think you work in a fancy office building:

Including the Chrysler Building and Rockerfeller Center in New York City, The Century Plaza Towers in Los Angeles, and some fancy building I’ve never heard of in Miami Beach.

Here’s a brief description of the services offered:

  • An XYZ Virtual Office gives you an enhanced business image, complete flexibility and support without the overhead.
  • A great address – choose from 1100 locations worldwide
  • Your mail forwarded or saved for you to collect
  • A local telephone number with scripted call answering, screening and forwarding
  • Your messages passed on by phone, SMS, email or via secure online portal
  • On-site admin support, for everything from photocopying to travel bookings
  • All the benefits of a full-service office without the overhead
  • Complimentary XYZ businessworld Gold membership giving you unlimited access to our network of 1100 business lounges and cafés across the globe. Great for when you’re traveling on business, in the UK or abroad

I don’t who I find more repugnant. The company selling the fake addresses, the people who feel the need to use the service, or the clientele who would give preferential treatment to a firm who has a fancy shmancy office location.

You know what? I think I find them all equally repugnant. Unless I’m missing something here. Am I?

I don’t know about you, but if I were doing business with a firm and found out they were using a virtual office service, I would feel deceived. I would also wonder what percentage of my bill was going towards this elaborate hoax. It’s cheating. It’s deceptive. You’ve just lost all credibility with me. Because you’re trying to pretend you’re something that you’re not. Don’t try to impress me with smoke and mirrors. Make a better widget, or dazzle me with your creativity, or your wicked-awesome accounting skills. Whatever. Be better at what you do than your competitor. But don’t start our business relationship with a lie.

Besides, aren’t there enough pretentious assholes in the world? Do we really need to encourage that behavior?

Sincerely yours,

President and CEO
worldwide headquarters
a red couch somewhere in suburbia

Oh, and for those of you who don’t have that jingle in your head, here ya go:

Sorry/you’re welcome.

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