Thursday, January 04, 2007

The joys of work

The festive season has come to a crashing stop. The big, bad world of work has once again taken over at chez The Millbrooker and, I suspect at chez everyotherbugger as well. My sympathy goes out to you all.

The exciting news from Plymouth booking office is that the management have finally got around to supplying us with blinds for the ticket windows behind which we can shelter at the end of a shift whilst we attempt to cash up and go home. We all got well and truly fed up with members of the public who seem unable to read a simple "closed" sign and say "I just wanted to ask one question". We've been answering questions throughout all of our shift which may well have started at 0500 in the morning; we have now finished for chrissake! If any readers work for a bank - can you confirm whether members of the public tap on your cashier windows to ask questions after you've finished work or is this a phenomenon that is restricted to railway stations?

Do these people keep on working after their paid hours have finished? If so, then more fool them.

Well now we have blackout blinds with "Sorry Position Closed" printed on them in clear white letters. We've opened a book on how long it will be before someone who has passed under the Plymouth Station Brain Removal Unit (there's one above each of the entrance doors) knocks on the obscured window and peers through the two inch gap at the bottom to ask "I only wanted to check, will there be any delays next week?" (Hang on, I'll just do some unpaid overtime and check my crystal ball).
In common with many jobs, ours consists of being moaned at quite a bit. The fares (outrageous though many of them are) are not our fault - if you object, write to the Train Operating Company and preferably your MP as well. If you think the timetabling is rubbish (don't we all) - do likewise. Next election, write and question each of the candidates about their stance on renationalisation (trust me as a insider, it's the only way things will improve).
Honestly, we do try to help as much as possible when someone wants a ticket or has a query, it's genuinely easier for us to be helpful and truthful, but there are times when the news we have to give isn't what the public wants to hear, that's just the way it is. If you'd like to change it - complain to the people who can do something about it; there's not a great deal of point informing a ticket clerk about the woes and inadequacies of the railway. We already know and we are not allowed to answer in any constructive way.
A quick note to the "I want to speak to the manager" brigade. Since restructuring after First Great Western won a new umpteen year franchise to operate trains from Plymouth to London -there is no manager working in or from the booking office, so we can't get him to come and tell you the same thing that we've already imparted.
Wow, I only meant to drivel on for a sentence or two, how very locquacious I've been.
Just as reminder that work is occasionally festive as well - we were allowed seasonal headgear on the last Saturday before Christmas, most generous of our esteemed leaders:

(thanks to Bilbo Baggins for the photo from his mobile)

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