The officious twattery of Southeastern

Posted by The Grumpy Commuter in
The ways in which we can hate Southeastern are myriad. We are all familiar with the the overcrowded, overheated, overpriced, under-performing train service. We are all familiar with the fact that the slightest triviality can disrupt the timetable for a fortnight (I once saw a man cough on the platform and all trains were diverted to Inverness. It’s Chaos Theory in its purest form). We are all familiar with the sheer effort involved in suffering this mediocre service on a daily basis.

Then there is the officious twattery of their staff who, of course, are only following the officious twattery of their masters. I experienced this last week. I travel every morning from Grove Park station to Cannon Street and generally buy a weekly ticket from the self-service machines (anything longer than a week seems like too much of a commitment). On this particular morning the queue at the machines was long enough to put me off, so I instead went to one of the manned ticket booths and asked for a weekly train pass.

“Can I see your photocard?”

Now, I haven’t had a photocard since 2007 when I left it, along with some other wallet overspill, in a hotel room in Bordeaux. The photo on that card was me as a fresh faced 22 year old, in 1997, just about to embark upon what I thought would be a short-term job in the City. (If you’d told me then that I would still be commuting into Cannon Street - albeit from a different starting place - every morning thirteen years later I would probably have shot my own face off.) In other words, it might as well have been a picture of Alan Rickman on a unicycle because the fresh faced whippersnapper on that card looked less and less like the disgruntled and cynical thirty-something version with every passing day.

Now I honestly thought that photocards had - like punctuality and customer service - been consigned to the dustbin of commuting history. Surely? You don’t need one for the near-ubiquitous Oyster card after all. So I pointed this out to the kind gentleman behind the glass screen.

“Yes,” he blustered. “But the Oyster card is £36 a week.” I was confused by his response and wanted to point out that this utterance was apropos of nothing but a) I was short on time and b) I doubt he would have grasped basic Latin. So I dived in. I tried to reason with him.

“Yes, but the point I am trying to make is that you won’t sell me a train pass without a photocard but I can buy an Oyster card - with no photo ID needed - and board exactly the same train without it being an issue. It’s ridiculous.”

“Well, London Transport don’t care about people passing tickets around and we do.”

At this rate I was going to miss my train so I bought a return ticket instead. But this is an absurdity because even if I DID pass my weekly ticket to someone else to use, what difference does it make to anyone? (I wouldn’t do this anyway because, trapped commuter drone that I am, I actually need the damn thing to get to work and back every day like everyone else). I mean, it’s paid for isn’t it? If someone else was using it instead, by definition I could not be. This isn’t a two-for-one deal. Who’s out of pocket? No, this is nothing but officious twattery in its purest form and yet another example of why Southeastern deserve nothing but our never-ending disdain.

6 reasons why flip flops are not suitable footwear for commuting

Posted by The Grumpy Commuter in
If your feet look like this, "airing them" won't help.
Reason 1: Nobody wants to look at your dirty/fungal-infected/calloused/smelly feet*

 Many people who wear flip flops shouldn't do so for this reason alone, but many of these poor souls seem oblivious to the frankly wretched state of their own leg appendages.

If bits of your feet can be picked, grated, or smell like a ripe Stilton you owe it to the health of the nation to keep them under wraps.

*please delete as appropriate

No. No. No. No. No.
Reason 2: Flip-flops make people think they are on the beach. This is very bad.

Two quick flip-flop factoids:
  • Flip-flops make people feel comfortable
  • Flip-flops are easily removed
Although these two truths are not dangerous on their own, combine them and it's a different story: All too often you get flip-floppers who crazily think it is socially acceptable to take off their flip flops and curl their feet up on their seat..

..It is fucking not. Especially if reason 1 applies.

Reason 3: Flip-flops do not perform their basic function.

Shoes are intended to protect the foot and enable the motion of walking. Flip-flops are specifically designed to not protect the foot and make motion as clumsy as possible. Flip-flops are shite for walking in effectively and since most commuting involves some walking in close proximity to fellow travellers, a flip-flopper risks multi-person pile-ups with every step.

Imagine all these people walking at once. Scary shit.
Reason 4: The sound of flip flops is the most irritating in the world.

..nails being scraped down a blackboard..
..a dripping tap.
..Kerry Katona opening her gob..

..none of these sounds hold a candle to the discordant, mind-numbing sound of "flip-flop, flip-flop, flip-flop, flip-flop, flip-flop, flip-flop..."

By wearing their monstrous footwear to work flip-floppers show a complete disregard for their colleagues and fellow commuters who have no choice but to listen to the incessant noise. It's almost like they do it on purpose.

Hahahahahahaha! Prat.
Reason 5: If it rains you are going to have wet feet and look a bloody idiot..

..not that I'd have any sympathy, but for thoroughness I'd thought I'd mention it and in fact I'd do a rain dance to just see it happen.

Reason 6: You are a man.. 

Wearing flip-flops.. Seriously? And no, being gay is not defence.

Commuter Types: The Middle-Aged Barger

Posted by The Grumpy Commuter in
If you are a seasoned commuter you will be familiar with this wily breed of fellow traveller. Usually always male and aged between their 40s and 50s, the mildly antisocial behaviour of the Middle-Aged Barger is the sad product of decades of monotonous commuting. This mixture of experience and mild insanity can make the Middle-Aged Barger a formidable adversary.

The habitual behaviour of the Middle-Aged Barger:

  • As the name suggests the Middle-Aged Barger will always try to get on or off the train first, regardless of common standards of polite conduct.
  • Once on the train the Middle-Aged Barger will take an eternity to fuss and settle in their seat at the expense of every other fellow traveller trying to get to a seat.
  • The Middle-Aged Barger usually has the air of someone who thinks they should be in first class but they don't have the bank balance to match their aspirations.
  • Look for the broadsheet newspaper spread across half the carriage (including your lap)
  • The Middle-Aged Barger will always take up the whole of the middle arm rest.
    Morning Journey: 11 minutes late
    Evening Journey: 5 minutes late

    The SouthEastern ticket inspectors are breeding!

    Posted by The Grumpy Commuter in ,
    Yesterday I talked around the subject of ticket inspectors and today there has been a serious development. When I got to Waterloo East this morning there were not 8 of these satan spawn, but 12!!!

    ..yes 12 ticket inspectors!

    12 people paid with our money, to take cursory glances at peoples tickets and penalise those stupid enough to admit they didn't have time to buy one on the train or before they traveled. And this is the crux of my point: Ticket Inspectors don't catch the real fare evaders, they catch people too naive to realise that being honest when you have been running behind will only get you a penalty fare. I have an annual season ticket and I can assure you that nobody, ever, not even on-train guards have ever looked at it properly.

    So back to these 12 ticket inspectors. The numbers got me thinking: 8 yesterday, 12 today. If we take into a factor of 1.5 per day, how long before there are more ticket inspectors at Waterloo East than "customers"?

    Morning Journey: Ontime!
    Evening Journey: Ontime!

    What do you call a group of ticket inspectors?

    Posted by The Grumpy Commuter in ,
    Morning Journey: 7 minutes early for work!

    Evening Journey: 20 minutes late. Grrrrr

    I have a question today that I have asked myself many times over the last few weeks:

    Why are there so many ticket inspectors at Waterloo East?

    These guys stand in their thuggish groups, constricting the exits and entrances of what is already a very congested walkway and get paid for not looking very well at people tickets and scanning their oyster cards! I notice they catch the odd fair dodger so I can understand having a couple of these people moping about if completely necessary (personally I'd sack them all) but this morning there were 8 of them...

    yes... 8 of them!

    With the economy being as it is, how the heck can this immense waste of money in the form of wages be at all justified? Are these train companies making so much money from their excessively increased fares and subsidies that they can employ so many people just for the hell of it? Employ people who don't even do their job properly?

    These ticket inspectors do nothing but piss off 99% of commuters. What is wrong with installing a few ticket machines? I dare not even think what these people are paid, I bet that too would make me sick!

    This rant got me thinking about another question:

    What do you call a group of ticket inspectors?

    I couldn't find anything conclusive online but after a bit of searching I find this site about groups of things.

    There are quite a few contenders:

    A cackle of train inspectors? (Normally applied to hyenas)
    A pack of train inspectors? (Mules)
    A bloat of train inspectors? (Hippopotamuses)
    A pounce of train inspectors? (Cats) personal favourite is a skulk of train inspectors!

    How some things change

    Morning Journey: On Time

    This morning I had a meeting on Tottenham Court Road and got the train into Charing Cross, which I haven't done for about a year. It was interesting walking up Charing Cross Road and seeing the visible changes. I noticed that the crypt entrance for St Martin-in-the-fields had finally been finished and it was stunning: All glass and polished stone. What with the credit crunch I had expected to see some familiar places closed down (Murder One look to have gone totally online now) but it was nice to see some old favourites like the Quinto bookshop putting up a fight and still there.

    It was also interesting to see the Crossrail development at Tottenham Court Road is really gathering pace, many of the local shops on the Charing Cross side of the junction have moved premises or closed down due to the necessary requirements of the transport upgrade.

    Unfortunately this looks like we have may have seen the last of the best kebab shop in central London. I have many happy memories of this place from my younger days.

    Bye Bye Dionysus. :(

    Evening Journey: Late home, AGAIN!

    Normally I moan as South Eastern for their typically rubbish train service but this time it is South West trains who made me late. I was imprisoned on the train for 15 minutes whilst the signalman had a piss or something... Well the announcer said that is was because they were waiting for a platform to become available but we all know that is bollocks, right?

    Fellow Commuters Can Be Annoying

    Morning Journey: 7 minutes early for work. Yey! If only it as like this everyday

    Evening Journey: 30 mins late home. No bedtime story with my son :(

    Why the fuck are people so rude and inconsiderate? I was queuing up to get on the train in my normal spot, and as per usual the same middle age grumps push in front of everybody, then proceed to take the first free seats going: While the rest of us stand twiddling our thumbs these doughnuts are taking forever to get settled.

    To these selfish prats I say: Have some bloody common sense and respect.

    Any intelligent person would move to the centre of the carriage so everybody can get a seat at the same time without having to be thrown about a moving train! ..

    I like to sit next to people like this and sniff all the way home, just to piss them off.

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