Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Vance Miller: A lesson in defence, Scientology style

Selling dodgy kitchens and Scientology are as unrelated as a bottle of Fairy washing up liquid and a Blue-footed Booby.

At least they were until tonight, when Vance Miller, boss of forever-changing-its-name company Maple Industries, had the opportunity to defend his tarnished reputation on BBC1's Rogue Traders.

I knew nothing about Miller until this evening, but I quickly learned that he had been to prison numerous times in numerous countries for a variety of offences, and that loads of people were right royally peeved about his shoddy kitchens.

His defence began with the reading of a pre-written statement to the BBC's cameras in front of presenter Matt Allwright. The interview, which had been arranged, was flip-reversed by Miller so that he could ask the questions before storming off in a hissy fit.

His attitude reminded me of Tommy Davis, head of the Cult of Scientology's Brainwashed Famous People's Centre in LA, who famously wound up BBC journalist John Sweeney on Panoroma's Scientology and Me programme.

Like Davis, Miller had 'his people' present during the interview, complete with video cameras. He also did most of the interrogating, including accusations of petty violence, until getting so annoyed that he inserted a biro pen up Allwright's nose.

So the picture of Vance Miller isn't a particularly rosy one. But I can't base my judgements on one TV programme, so off I hopped to to see what the man had to say for himself.

This is a website that sells kitchens - prospective customers can complete a free planning and design survey, receive an online quote and read favourable testimonials such as: "£800 quid, eight hundred quid!!!.. thats what I saved so thank you very much indeed Vance Miller."

Aside from the marketing and special offers, Miller's website is something of a defensive rant. For a company boss, head honcho - whatever - it is rather unprofessional. I counted three references to "shit" and two to "fuck", while staff at Oldham Council are referred to as "little shits".

"Anyway I'm not bitter," he says, because "I can give more to my orphans in Seirra Leone". I wonder if his money reaches them considering he can't spell the name of the country properly?


  1. Why dont people just give Vance the congratulations he deserves for wiping the floor with the local council who cant tell an arse from an elbow. His kitchens have now been proven not to be dodgy.

  2. I fail to see the comparison between Miller and a Scientologist. In what what way are the negative connotations put forward in the title of this blog justified?

    So far, and I doubt I would get any further, the only similarity I can find is the fact that Miller "wound somebody up" on a TV show. If this act alone is precedent for deciding whether somebody is actually of such ill nature to warrant the insult of being called a Scientologist, the vast majority of people on TV would count as one.

    That is what is going on here. It's a poor attempt to equate somebody he's just met with a group of people of such ill repute that the very mention of their name inspires hatred in the ears of the recipient.

    As far as the rogue traders interview is concerned, I believe it was a smart move.

    Someone much more qualified than anyone with time to add their 2p's worth on websites like this had already decided that Trading Standards were in the wrong, what with all those old favourites like doctoring statistics and coerced witnesses involved, but Miller was obviously aware that Rogue Traders would out their own negative spin on the interview anyway, so he took charge.

    Sorry lads ;)

    Finally I just want to say that the final words of this blog attacking a typo/ misspelling is, quite frankly, lacking in the intelligence it tries to imply. Seems to me like grammar is the last refuge of a man with nothing else to attack. Unrivalled transparency, what a bitch eh?

  3. Allow me to enlighten you, Anonymous. From what I gather, you can't see a comparison beyond "the fact that Miller 'wound somebody up' on a TV show". (Incidentally, I'm not sure who this 'somebody' is because, having seen the programme, it certainly isn't Matt Allwright. If my memory serves me correctly, it is Miller who gets wound up to the point where he storms off after assaulting Allwright with a pen.)

    As explained clearly in the blog, the comparisons are thus: A) An interview setting with a documentary/fact-based television presenter. B) The interviewee being overly-defensive with his responses before turning the conversation on its head and angrily asking his own questions. C) The interviewee refusing to conclude the interview by behaving unfairly, aggressively and unprofessionally. D) The interviewee arranging to film the conversation with his own film crew.

    Obviously this is where the comparisons end because, unlike John Sweeney, Matt Allwright didn't lose his temper with his interviewee. Whereas Tommy Davis - who I consider to be one the most abhorrent personalities to have graced our TV screens - maintained his composure despite behaving appallingly, Miller couldn't resist reaching for the biro pen.

    At no point, contrary to what you claim, do I call Miller a Scientologist. If you read the blog correctly, you would have noticed that the comparisons begin an end with his and Davis' behaviour in an interview setting.

    Finally, I pointed out Miller's spelling mistake (rather in jest, actually) as a second point relating to his website's unprofessionalism. Again, if you had the read my blog properly, you would have noticed that I visited with an open mind because I didn't want to "base my judgements on one TV programme". I was looking forward to reading the other side of the story.

    Basing the latter half of the blog on my first impressions, I wrote about what I read - obscenities and a spelling error (in addition to a glowing review from one satisfied customer). Don't you think that, for a professional businessman, the former of these inclusions somewhat dent his credibility and integrity?