Friday, February 08, 2008

The inconvenient truth

I’m so happy! I’m so happy I could, well, blog about it.

My train was delayed this morning. Not massively – a bit under ten minutes – but enough to make me scowlingly late for work. As we were pullling in to King’s Cross, we heard from the driver:

“I apologise for the inconvenience.”

You don’t often hear that last pair of words in a railway tannoy apology. They normally apologise for “any inconvenience”, as though it’s an unprovable conjecture whether anybody has really been put out by the train company’s failure to get a couple of hundred commuters where they’ve paid to go by the promised time.

But “the inconvenience” is a joy to hear – no craven mucking around with weaselly hypotheticals but a direct acknowledgement of the consequences of their incompetence.

“Any inconvenience”? Pah. It’s as if the admission that their drooling uselessness has caused some real, actually existing inconvenience to their paying customers would result in us rising up and charging at the company directors furiously, like hyenas ridden by lawyers and filled with bees, and tear their smug suits and pasty flesh into soggy confetti.

(Or, even worse, we might take our custom elsewhere and use one of the other train companies that runs the same route – oh, except there aren’t any, it’s a local monopoly. Well privatising that will really work, won’t it, by introducing the rigours of imaginary pretend competition…)

You never hear Osama bin Laden, in a post-bombing video, praising “any punishment” inflicted upon “any Western imperialist infidels”. You never hear Oscar winners thanking “any parents” for “any support” they’ve given.

But these institutional railway cowards, who have ‘Where there’s blame, there’s a claim’ engraved on their palsied cardboard hearts in crap sixth-form Latin, can’t bear anything that might threaten their delusions of respectability.

So all credit to the train driver this morning, who knew full well we’d been inconvenienced. Apology accepted. Now don’t do it again.

4 comments:

Paulie said...

I did one on the way that they get their computers to apologise for them a while ago - here

http://nevertrustahippy.blogspot.com/2006/04/petty-annoyances.html

Resons to be cheerful said...

But I would find arriving 10 minutes late no particular inconvenience on most such occasions because I'm so laid back and always allow plenty of time for journeys. And being in a train is so nice that one should pay more for a longer (in time) trip. What’s so vital about your work that arriving a bit late is much of an issue? Time, anyway, is an illusion...

Cassilis said...

Pedants unite....

You've liberated me....

a very public sociologist said...

Ugh, not getting a seat on an no-time train is far more of an inconvenience!