Santa’s Little Hindrance

Aaargh – got to Vauxhall station this morning with seven minutes to renew my season ticket and catch my train, and seven people in the queue in front of me at the one working Oyster-topper-upper machine because the other Oyster-topper-upper machine, the superfast cards only one, wasn’t working. I was running late because I’d had the usual Monday morning Oh-my-god-I’ve-lost-my-wallet-oh-here-it-is-in-my-bag-all-along panic and then the ride into the station was like some giant bicycle obstacle course of bin lorries and broken glass and vans doing three-point-turns. Unfortunately, the only remaining machine was the one that is regularly guarded by one of the station staff who was ‘helping’ passengers use the machine and thereby slowing each one down by confusing the people who already knew what they were doing and weren’t expecting someone else to be pressing the buttons at random for them. Now I’m all for more helpfulness in this world,  especially when stuck behind someone who is struggling with the technology, but A, I’d like to know where he was last week when the gentleman in front of me spent about 20 minutes* staring at each option on the screen. And B, I’d also like to know whether ‘helping’ really describes the following little episode:

LT staff member: Put your oyster card on the reader (passenger does so) – what do you want?
Passenger: I just want a single to …
LT staff member: (chooses ‘top up oyster’ and then FIFTEEN QUID as the amount) Put your bank card in and enter your pin …

That’s one hell of a single fare there. Anyway this guy was so ‘helpful’ the ticket window queue actually cleared faster than the machine queue did, he went back to his day job of opening the pushchair gate and I was able to renew my season ticket in peace without finding he’d helpfully extended it to zone 6 while I wasn’t paying attention. And I even caught the train with a minute to spare.

*seasonally adjusted perceived time while waiting in a queue… actual elapsed time may have been nearer 20 seconds

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One response to “Santa’s Little Hindrance

  1. Would appreciate your opinion on me blog please?

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