Monday, 4 April 2011

Broken Britain - 12: Two tales that expose why Britain will forever remain Stuffed….

I wondered how long it would take to get back to ranting and raging. Two recent stories that explain exactly why this (once-great) country will forever remain in the Doldrums: Attitude.

Part 1: Today (Monday 4th April 2011) our mailing prices increased, by a considerable degree actually - but that’s not what I am raging about. This morning I wanted to send some things to a friend of mine in the USA, air mail / small packet. And so I queued at my local Post office (for over twenty minutes, but that’s normal now) with my package. The lady behind the grill weighed it and quoted me £18.44.

I thought this was somewhat outrageous and she explained to me the reason it was so high was because it was “over the one kilo threshold” (whatever that was). She also made it clear to me that it might work out cheaper if I sent the items in two packages.

So I went away and re-boxed up the things in two packages and returned later to the same Post Office (with a 30+ minute wait this time) and the very same counter clerk weighed both and charged me £6.48 for each. That’s a total £12.96 (and a saving of £5.48).

If the Royal Mail were an independently-run business they would have gone to the wall pronto with that attitude. How do they get away with it!? [Because they can].

No wonder the Royal Mail is regularly holding its hand out to successive Governments for hand-outs to stave off bankruptcy (financially and in “customer-services”).

Part 2: This story happened just a few days ago.

I wanted to book a short trip away to Amsterdam and decided the best route was with what’s called the “Dutch Flyer” (a train/boat/train package from Stenna Lines that works out about £37 each way).

So I phoned up Stenna to discuss matters. “You can book over the phone if you like”, she informed me…”but we need two days notice”…… “or”, she continued, “you could always book online!…. But we would need five days notice for that one”.

I asked her: “Well, seeing as the journey starts at Liverpool Street Station” (local for me in the East End of London)…”could I not just turn up at the station and book my tickets there and then?”.

There was a silence at the end of the phone. Maybe I should’ve sensed this was going to go all pear-shaped. “Well…..”, she said…..“We’ve had this all before.....Technically, you should be able to get your tickets from them, yes. But, you see, it all depends on the mood of the people in theTicket Office that morning. If they don't feel like selling you the tickets, they won’t do”.

I then asked “what if I turned up at Ilford Station and bought the ticket there?” [After all, Ilford is just down the road from where I live and the train runs from Liverpool Street and stops at Ilford en route to the coast].

“I’m afraid the same thing applies”, the Stenna woman said, “It really does depend on what side of the bed they got out of that morning”.

At which point I said: “D’you know something? It would be easier for me to just turn up at Victoria Coach Station with my suitcases and get on the coach on the day. It would probably be cheaper too”. [I later checked, and it was cheaper: £66 return].

Is it any wonder that, with attitudes like these, this country is never going to pull its socks up and get out of the crud we are in. And thus I return to my past mantra: Nobody actually Cares anymore in this country - about anyone or anything”. This country is Fucked.