Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Complaint

I had the satisfying feeling of dropping a letter of complaint into the post today. With it regarding the rail services (or lack of them, which was thoughtful given that it was a bank holiday weekend) I'm not anticipating much by way of a decent response. Whether I choose to pursue it beyond that point remains to be seen, depending on what they say and also on how irritable I'm still feeling about it.

Here's the crux of it:

"Eventually, like most other people who were waiting and getting increasingly exasperated, I got on the standard bus service from Matlock Bath to Derby, after which I had the prospect of a further journey by train ahead of me. This cost me an extra £3.30 on top of the rail fare I had already paid, and was an uncomfortable, hot and lengthy journey.

Not only do I resent being in a situation where I had to pay extra money in order to get back home significantly later than I had planned, I very strongly resent having paid out the sum of £11.30 for a day return which clearly wasn’t worth the money for the quality of service provided. I look forward to your comments about the compensation you will provide, since I will not be satisfied without this provision.

Frankly, it beggars belief that yet again, busy lines are closed for engineering work at one of the busiest times of the year. I appreciate that engineering work has to be done, but I am not interested in knowing what justification there is for doing it at such times when it results in maximising the disruption caused to passengers: the point is that if the bus replacement service was not so badly managed and pathetically inadequate then I would not be writing to you in the first place. Additionally, the timetable for the service could at best be described as a triumph of optimism or a work of fiction. At worst, it appears to be another example of the contempt in which passengers appear to be held by those attempting to run the service, being kept in continual uncertainty by low standards and misinformation.

This helped to mar what would have otherwise been a pleasant day out, and it also caused tremendous disruption to my plans for the rest of the day. The sad thing is that this kind of situation is depressingly predictable. "

What I decided not to include in the letter, though I was conjuring with the idea, was that the only good point of this bus journey for me was thanks to a child sat on a nearby seat, who for a good 15 minutes or so was repeatedly telling her mother in a very whiny voice that she was hungry. At this point I remembered I'd got a chocolate bar in my bag: I retrieved it and, in view of said infant, ate it all to myself: it's rare, but sometimes such utterly petty spitefulness is the only thing for it.

19 comments:

Neon said...

Oh dear! sorry to hear you got caught up in all that- it was chaos over this way too, seems like the whole Midlands was being dug up over the bank holiday!
I guess the issues with such line works is that they cant be done in the week when huge numbers of people are commuting so poor holiday makers and weekend travellers end up suffering it all.

ps: you are a big old chocolate hogging meany ;)

trousers said...

Hi neon, it's true enough that they're taking the commuters into account - but do they have to do it on a bank holiday? And if they do, why can't they put a decent replacement service in place? Too much to ask, I know... was it a problem for you too then?

And yes, I am a big old chocolate hogging meany - and proud of it! :)

Caroline said...

I caught the first train after the bank holiday. It took 6 hours instead of 2.5 hours, because some bugger had stolen part of the overhead wires(!) The train was packed, people were grumpy and ... oh what fun!

x

ps. you are a mean

Reading the Signs said...

For a moment, Trousers, I thought you were going to say that you pulled out the chocolate bar and gave it to the hungry child. I remember doing that once - the parent gave it back to me at once and told me she didn't allow her children to eat anything with sugar.

zola a social thing said...

But Trousers we must ask ourselves this question : Was your journey really necessary?
All will hinge on this.

trousers said...

Hi cas, so sorry you had a rail-related ordeal too. And yes, I am a meanie - or at least I was a meanie at that particular moment in time. I'm sure many otherwise decent and nice people would have been :)

signs, it did occur to me to do that...well to be more accurate it occurred to me not to do that: not for the possibility of the kind of consequence you describe though, but due to purely selfish reasons!

But zola, it's only you that says we must ask ourselves that question: we really don't have to ask it you know...

Merkin said...

What would Spartacus do, trousers?

J.J said...

I got a reply to the letter of complaint I wrote regarding my recent experience at Northampton rail station. The crux of the answer was that they took my complaint very seriously, which is comforting I suppose.


I kind of suspected it was pretty much their standard response.

No money back - bastards :-(

Anonymous said...

'No money back - bastards :-('

My point exactly!

Spartacus would have cracked a few heads together as leader of a commuter army.

DJ Kirkby said...

Tsk, tsk Trousers...someday you may be punished with a whiney child of your own... Loved the letter of complaint, very well written...any chance I could hire you to draft a letter to N3S's school for me? They will insist on isolating him at a table of his own at lunchtimes when he 'misbehaves' (such shocking behaviour from someone with a social and communication disorder!), how very humilating! Sorry, I seem to have taken over your comment box for a personal rant...erm...I'll leave now! xo

Queen Vixen said...

Absolutely f**cking annoying. What is it with public transport? Here we are trying to do our bit for the planet and this is what we get.

trousers said...

Ah well I thought about this, merk - Spartacus would answer lots of questions right and be in the lead for most of the time, and then mess up on the gamble round (well that's what normally happens anyway).

Although if you're talking about that Spartacus, then anonymous has it.

j.j, that response doesn't surprise me in the slightest, and is pretty much what I'm expecting - that and possibly some travel vouchers (if they do send travel vouchers, I'll be sending them back with a few more choice words, I think).

dj, that's not a very likely prospect (a whiny child of my own), at least not at the present moment...I do enjoy writing complaint letters, I've often had to do them at work, in an advocacy kind of way - so I've had plenty of practice. I always wait til the initial anger has subsided so that what I write is sufficiently measured. No problem about the rant either, I'm sure you need to let off some steam!

qv, exactly. They haven't got a fucking clue. Alternatively, they have got a clue, and they just don't fucking care.

nmj said...

Trews, I hope you get your fare reimbursed or at least part of it. I think complaint letters *are* worth it, though they are a pain in the ass to write and it is enraging that public transport is so badly managed... I recently complained as the train i was waiting for came into a completely different platform than the one announced - the one it has been coming into for ten years -, everyone else ran over the bridge to get it, I couldn't which meant a half hour delay... I got a £5 voucher from the bastards.

You made me smile with the chocolate bar, you will be goin to hell! x

trousers said...

Oh definitely nmj, complaint letters to my mind are worth it even if you get nothing back from it - it's just the sense of having let off steam. Some most definitely *are* worth pursuing further.

I sympathise with your own plight in that respect. I only wish I'd had the energy to complain the weekend I had my cycling accident (not that that was the train operator's fault..) - I'd had a big delay on the journey there, and on the way back had to make two changes including yet another replacement bus service - no easy task given that I'd got multiple injuries including what was possible a fractured clavicle...

Merkin said...

'Although if you're talking about that Spartacus, then anonymous has it.'

This Anonymous?
Hehehhehehehe.

anagram said...

It's hardly the poor kid's fault that she was hungry, and repeatedly stating it is not unusual behaviour in a child. Blame the mother for not giving the poor kid enough to eat.

trousers said...

I'm more than aware of that, anagram, which is why I used the phrase "petty spitefulness" as opposed to pretending that I was being reasonable and the child wasn't. It works better with a sense of humour whilst reading it, I hope.

anagram said...

OK, but it was the phrase "in a very whiny voice" that made me think you were complaining about the child's behaviour. I didn't detect much irony/humour there.

trousers said...

I think we're in danger of missing the point here - namely the very childish satisfaction I gained from selfishly eating a chocolate bar in front of a hungry child. That's where the humour is, and the chances are that any further analysis is likely to squeeze it completely dry.