Thursday, July 1, 2010

Blog from the Bog

I write this sitting on the cubicle the Virgin Pendolino Express between Birmingham and London. Not for any bodily reason but because I am hiding from the ticket inspector as I once did as a penniless student 20 years ago.

What has brought this 41 year old social entrepreneur,local Councillor and father-of-two to this rather graceless place. It started when I booked a ticket online, something I had never done before. When I got to the station I could go an get the ticket from a machine.

Trouble is, when I did this the bleedin' thing didn't work and I missed the train. I went to the box to explain that the train I had booked onto had gone and could I have my ticket? No duck, I was told, you'll have to buy an entirely new ticket for seventy quid. But I have already paid 55 I pleaded. Oh but it was on the internet wasn't it, you can't transfer those.

I almost went for my wallet then I stopped. Thanks, I said, I'll think about what to do. I then raced to the barrier, sqeezed through at a busy moment and got on the train. I took position near the bog ready for the inspector's arrival. He started his slow movement down the carriage and I got out my next set of Board papers and headed for the cubicle.

Twenty minutes later I am to emerge and hope for the best at the other end. A full ticket inspection and I am dead-meat. But I am fucked if I am paying again for something I have aleady bought.

The point of my story is that as a consumer and a human-being I feel I am being fucked-over. Under nationalisation we were fucked-over by late and dirty trains. Now we are fucked over by a massive disregard for commercial decency. I like Virgin and I haven't completely lost faith. But my patience has been sorely tested.

Almost as much as the queue of people who will be waiting for me when I eventually come out of this bog.


Rob Fountain said...

Brilliant! The indignation of the right reduced to hiding in a loo.

Bravery in the face of a modern day menace... principles defended behind the blaze of an engaged sign... not even comfort to be gleaned from those sharing the carriage whose interests - little did they know - you were ever so quietly making a stand for. Love it. Good on you.

RB said...

Get a grip. If you arrived late for a theatre performance, would you expect to be allowed to come into the next one, just because you'd "already paid"? Would you expect to be able to sneak onto a plane?

Try calculating the time it takes to collect your ticket correctly next time, instead of fucking it up and then hogging the toilet so that it can't be used by the passengers who'd actually managed to get the whole buy ticket - collect ticket - get on train sequence right.