Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Too early


I was up a long time before the sun this morning. The sound of the alarm going off actually made me scream. I'm already part way to Newcastle and there's still no sign of the dawn.  There is, however, what seems to be heavy snow falling and settling around Stevenage. This could be another long journey...

I got to King's Cross, and was immediately put into a stinking mood by the silly people behind the counter at Upper Crust. 

Me: Have you stopped doing those lovely cheese and egg breakfast rolls?

Her: (laughing in a sort of inept, yet sinister way) Yes

Me: Okay. Well just a tea then. 

Her: A large one?

Me: No, small

Her: A medium tea coming up. Would you like a pastry with that? 

Me: No. I want a small one...

Her: A sandwich?

Me: No! Can I ask why it's policy here to assume your customers want a large version of a drink? It's a very cynical policy.

She looks at me and blinks a few times, before gesturing ineffectually  towards another person behind the counter, who obviously always deals with the tricky customers.

Him: It's because tea is good for you, Sir.

He delivers the words like some kind of punch line, a cheeky grin on his twatty face. The other staff members chortle gleefully. It's like the sound of canned laughter on a bad 1970s sit com.

Me: Not really funny is it?

I would have had a little rant, but concluded life was too short and one of those do-gooder, "I don't like conflict" type women was standing behind me in the queue.

Here are some interesting facts about East Coast Mainline's complaints procedure. 

1) It is based in Plymouth, which, I suspect, is the furthest town in the UK away from any station covered by the train route. One wonders if this is an attempt to avoid angry customer demonstrations?

2) In order to get compensation, you are obliged to fill in one of their official claim forms, which comes with a handy envelope in which to put your tickets. Unfortunately, said envelope doesn't come with a prepaid stamp, so anyone trying to gain compensation must factor in the cost of a stamp and the hassle of trying to find one 

3) If your ticket "wasn't validated" (eg stamped or clipped) you're expected to write and send in an extra letter which doesn't fit into their tiny official envelope unless you write it on a piece of paper the size of a train ticket. A more cynical man would wonder why, on the two occasions I was deeply delayed this week, the guard hid in his van, refusing to pass through the train. The result of his inactivity/fear of reprisals/ laziness? A train full of people without validated tickets who could well find themselves unable to claim for compensation without jumping through another fifty hoops.

Anyway. Dawn is breaking over Rutland, which is probably my cue to get some shut eye...

No comments:

Post a Comment