Thursday, 9 April 2009

Onboard irritations

"On behalf of the onboard staff, thank you for travelling on South West Trains."

As if I'm bestowing a favour on them, as if I've thought deeply about all the different train companies that run services from Surbiton to London (there is no other and there’s no direct bus) and on the basis of a dispassionate evaluation, and perhaps some sentimental attachment to a much-loved outfit, I've decided that my necessary commute should once again -- like every single other journey I've ever made between Surbiton and Waterloo -- be by South West Trains.

Notice what’s so clever about this. Their thanking me disrupts my normal sense of the natural order of things, which is that it’s for me to thank them if they do their job well. Which I must admit on the whole they do, apart from whoever thinks up their constant bloody messages and treats the public address system as if at all costs it has to be unremittingly used if it's to justify itself.

So clever or so stupid, since the effect of their thanks is to make me grind my teeth and go to the trouble of naming and shaming them to my millions of blog readers.

And, by the way, as others have said but I agree: I'm not a customer -- I'm a passenger.

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