New Year’s Eve at Twickenham Train Station

This post was written by JW Arble on December 31, 2010
Posted Under: Class,Public Sector,Society,Tories

Scene in Twickenham train station: well dressed woman in mid-thirties shouting at gigantic pink railway employee through three inches of Perspex. Woman’s daughter has phoned mother in tears after being fined for travelling on the wrong ticket.

Woman: You people have no idea customer service, you just sit there you fat lump

Railway employee: I’m sorry if you’d like to fill in a complaint form-

Woman: What you do is just unacceptable. Where I work, in my company, if you were as an inefficient and careless you’d be out! You’d be gone! You can’t treat people – you can’t treat customers – the way you do!

Railway employee: I’m very sorry if you’d like to fill in a complaint form-

Woman: You’re lazy and inefficient and you’re stupid and my daughter phones up in floods of tears. I work in a private business, where I work you can’t do that. You have no idea how to run things.

Railway employee: I’m sorry it seems we have actually run out of complaint forms but if you leave your phone and number and address, customer services-

Woman (now screaming): You know there’s a Tory Government in now – and there are going to be cuts, big cuts and lazy, stupid, useless people like you are going to be sacked and it’s going to be a good thing too.

Woman storms out. Blob behind the Perspex, probably bullied from around the age of five, remains polite, vaguely consolatory, but essentially as placid as scoop of ice cream. Then scratches nose.

Quick cluster of thoughts:

1.) In spite of 2008 banking crisis myth endures that all private companies are ‘de facto’ more efficient and better run than public companies.

2.) However train company’s efficiency in catching daughter trying to travel on cheaper ticket – not acknowledged or credited.

3.) Woman in efficient business – apparently not working over xmas – unlike man she is shouting out.

4.) South West trains are of course a private company – and have been ever since 1994 – although of course like the banks the rail network is too big to fail (you can’t just abandon it) and consequently is being subsidised to the tune of £5 billion per year (how much taxpayers money ends up at South West trains though, I don’t know). She’s right of course trains in the UK are shit, and always haven been, but a decade and half of semi-private management has only made them worse.

5.) Train companies have just been given the green light to increase fares by up to 11% not all of which has to be reinvested in the services. So now is probably a good time to buy rail company shares.

6.) Middle class woman’s rant probably has less to do with train company inefficiency than with her daughter’s humiliation by ticket inspecting prole.

In summary scene illustrates the underlying reasons why I so dislike modern Tories; for however much window-dressing Hayekian theories about the delusions of state planning, or else the oleaginous smugness of the virtues of ‘practical common sense’, or the barmy paranoia of how they just ‘want their families to be left alone by the state’ – is a screaming, ignorant lunatic who will quite happily walk a mile to pick a pointless fight with a complete stranger.

And on that merry note – happy New Year everyone!

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Reader Comments

What an awful lesson to teach her daughter about how one interacts with other members of the community.

Written By Reuben Bard-Rosenberg on December 31st, 2010 @ 3:34 pm

She sounds truly awful. I think I would have intervened and told her to shut up. How did you stop yourself?

Written By Phil Woodford on December 31st, 2010 @ 9:00 pm

South West Trains are rubbish, and rarely punctual. I am glad I no longer have to rely on them.

Written By Owain on January 2nd, 2011 @ 10:48 pm

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