Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Brain Removal Unit In Good Working Order

Many of you will be aware that just above every entrance to every railway station in the land is a small electronic box. This is called a "brain removal unit" and is there to ensure that members of the travelling public are allowed to travel unmolested by logical thinking and ensures that they are able to come up with the stupidest possible questions in more or less any situation.

This decade's award for the most successful brain removal operation by one of these marvellous little inventions goes to a customer at Plymouth Station only last week.

This genuinely, truly, happened. It happened at the ticket window immediately next to mine; I can't claim to have heard every word, because I was serving someone else at the time, but I heard enough...
Above is a shot of Par railway station in Cornwall, much as it is today; a gentle little place, by and large, and the junction for the Newquay branch line.

Last week a young lady turned up at my colleague's window along with her (presumed) boyfriend. She proffered a ticket from Sheffield to Par; the recent arrival from Sheffield had come in quite late.

"The train from Sheffield was late," she intoned sniffily in a Yorkshire accent. "Have we missed our connection to Paris?"

My colleague, Cassy, did a double take, inwardly raised an eyebrow and asked "Did you say Paris?"

"Yes - we've got a hotel booked tonight and we've got tickets on the Eurostar from Plymouth."

"Your tickets are to Par, not Paris," explained Cassy.

"Yeah, but that's short for Paris, innit?"....

You get the picture by now. Just for the record, here's Paris, to compare with Par. Just in case anyone reading this suffers a similar confusion.Priceless. You have to feel sorry for them, I suppose - but I believe they'd bought their tickets themselves from the automatic vending machine at Sheffield that morning; simply assuming that Par meant Paris and then asked the ticket clerk to give them a route planner, which he duly did in accordance with the tickets they'd bought.

You'd have thought everyone knows that the Channel Tunnel doesn't run from Plymouth, though, wouldn't you?

I wonder where they'd booked the hotel...

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