Those of you who follow me on Twitter will know I was nearly arrested at Leicester Railway Station today.
My crime? Refusing to pay a £5 supplement to use the First Class lounge.
The story: our (very old and outdated) East Midlands Train had been terminated on its way to Chesterfield due to engineering problems - which meant a whole hour's wait at Leicester. I had important emails that HAD to be sent and I needed to have someplace to utilise that hour - but my advance 1st class ticket apparently did not qualify me to use the lounge.
Now I accept that if I had arrived an hour early for my train or maybe wanted to dally in there and drink all the free coffee for a while I should be made to pay.
BUT THE ONE HOUR DELAY WAS THEIR FAULT!
To add insult to injury, when I refused to pay and went in (bear in mind the place was completely empty apart from one man) the receptionist called the police and two officers duly arrived to apprehend me !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I explained the situation and invited them to arrest me, pointing out the publicity that action might incur, they then backed down and called the station manager who proceeded to give me a good old talking to about rules and regulations and people 'having to do their job properly'.
No problem says I, let me happily pay your £5 - in return for which I will Blog and Tweet about your crap customer service to the whole world.
So much for the East Midlands Train Service 'Passenger Charter' !!!
The problem of course lies in the staff training. So much time is clearly spent teaching them about rules, policies and procedures that they forget to tell them the REAL reason they are there: TO GIVE EXCEPTIONAL CUSTOMER SERVICE.
Shame on you Stagecoach, you have started to abuse your monopoly - because I have no other choice than to continue to use your shoddy, uncaring and downright rude crappy service.