Rules of Engagement

As more people are picking up their phones to use Twitter on our trains – and invariably comment on our excellent, impeccable service – it is becoming clear that there is a need for someone to explain the rules to them (so I don’t repeat myself and bore everyone who is already aware).. Given that this company is obviously run by a single person and some monkeys, and given that the alternative for me is to actually do some work, in true Southern spirit, I will take the plunge and explain. So here it goes, based on our tweets from the last two years,

The Southern Trains UK Rulebook & Customer Service Handbook (in permanent BETA and can change at any time with retrospective effect to suit our needs)

  1. We know that if you are saying you were late, or have any other complaint against us, you are probably from the competition and you are just trying to make us look bad. So don’t even try it…
  2. If you have unquestionable proof that a train wasn’t doing exactly what it was supposed to do, then it wasn’t our fault. [Customers are encouraged to read this whilst listening to Shaggy’s: Wasn’t Me)
  3. Only attractive people will get responses from us on twitter. So, for a chance to win an answer, make sure you have your photo available on your profile – or send us a link with one. The more politically incorrect, the better. Your sex is irrelevant – we do not discriminate.
  4. On that point, please don’t feel that any issues with the service are the result of something personal. It isn’t. We don’t know you, we don’t want to know you, and we give you our word: we hate you all just the same! Nothing personal there.
  5. Very cold carriage conditions are good for you. They are good for the soul, and build characters. Not to mention that they help with the morale as everyone looks.. perkier!
  6. Very hot carriage conditions are even better for you. Eventually people will start taking their clothes off, and then you will thank us!
  7. Crammed conditions are fantastic for you! Being new you may not know that we are run by laid back mexicans in lycra, and all management feels that the Brits need a bit of.. encouragement with the other (or the same – we are not judging) sex. So we have created the “up close and personal” Signature Southern service, which brings customers closer together. This is the kind of service for which one can be caught with his lycra around his knees in Stingfellows, and pay a fortune for it. So it is not logical when people complain about this.
  8. No toilets on trains is good for everyone, as they leave more space for paying customers, we don’t have to clean them, and the rest can finally stop taking the piss.
  9. The distinct aroma of poo on most services is a purposeful nasal re-enforcement of the ongoing message that no-loos are good for you. It is there on purpose and
  10. Rude staff are good for you. They are there (seriously) to create low expectations so when something accidentally goes right, everyone forgets about all the other times.
  11. Yes, there was a train back in 1998 that did run on time.
  12. Timetables… a huge point. Just like the bible, or other books of faith, aren’t really there to be taken literally. They are more like polite indications of our good intentions.
  13. Refunds. No, there won’t be any. Ever. Please stop asking, it makes you sound like you are begging! Some people do get selected randomly for distribution of (zero value  in the real world) non-transferrable non-refundable soon-to-expire vouchers, so we get the urban-myth of re-funds going. However people are strongly encouraged to apply for refunds at all times, as research shows that everyone is happier when they feel they have “done something about it”, and when they write letters, they aren’t complaining on twitter.
  14. Platform-side no-arm bandits are clearly labeled as “Ticket Machines” and are obviously there for your amusement whilst you are waiting for the trains. Winning when playing with them is obviously not guaranteed, so when you win no ticket, just play again!
  15. Bikes, and alternative means of transport are strongly discouraged – unless you have already paid for the full fare. Because it is only fair. (God, if I see that sign again, I will probably hurt someone).
  16. If you are stuck for longer than expected periods of time on one of our trains, please feel free to talk to a conductor and find out how much more you owe for the extra time you spent using our trains.
  17. Last minute platform alterations are an excellent form of early morning and after-work invigorating exercise. It also provides endless entertainment to our staff, that thoroughly enjoy watching the stampede from CCTV cameras.
  18. The website often has “accidents”. As our best rates are on the internet only (we feel it is a good way to keep undesirable elements – such as all these partially sighted and blind people – away) when we are in need of some extra cash, someone accidentally pulls the plug. The sooner you buy the more expensive tickets from the platform-side no-arm bandits, the quicker the service is likely to resume.
  19. We are obliged by law to offer a “customer services” number and contact address. Please don’t take this literally – “customer services” is a euphemism for what is internally known as “the dairy”…
  20. Siesta time is a very important ritual and cultural elements within our organisation. Please respect it.

More rules will be added on an ongoing basis and based on customer suggestions. It is only fare.. (See?! See what I did there?).

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This entry was posted in Great PR, Let Loco Hump, Southern, Torture, Trains. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Rules of Engagement

  1. Had me in stitches! Hope you’ll keep writing, and maybe that you’ll check out my own recently-begun efforts…

  2. Mpairain says:

    21. Staff with high visibility jackets – these don’t mean a thing. With or without one, staff all across our service are poorly trained consistently. That’s probably all they had to wear that day.

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