Useless Euston

I took a break from the New Wine preparation tasks today, to do a cachepedition preparation task.

At the end of September I’m going to the Lakes again with Rockin’ Rob and the Lady Sally-J. But while they’re driving up on the Saturday, an engagement1 Friday night means I’ll be travelling from London and meeting them in Windermere.

Train tickets are cheaper the earlier you buy them, so I was keen to get mine before toddling off to New Wine. My usual on-line purchase was stymied by the fact that I had vouchers for almost all of the purchase price, and you can only use them over the counter. So at lunchtime I hopped on a bus to Euston.

Short version
Euston’s “Advance purchase” desk is a pile of poo, I got very annoyed, bought my ticket and went back to work.

Verbose version
There was a mahoosive queue at the “Advance purchase” desk, partly because lots of people wanted to buy tickets, but mainly because only four of the ten available windows were open. Obviously it hasn’t occurred to any of the assembled brains at Euston that lots of people work, and so will want to buy tickets at lunchtime.

It also didn’t help that one of the open windows was manned by someone who wasn’t selling any tickets: he was filling in an interminable pile of paperwork that seemed to involve a lot of colouring-in with highlighter pens.

Things were further slowed by the fact that few of the customers knew what they wanted, and the simplest transaction “I want to go to Manchester next Tuesday” involved price comparison, different routes and on one occasion the choice of going via Edinburgh. I’d done my online research so my purchase would take no time at all: after 40 minutes in the queue I smugly approached the desk.
“Hello, I want to go from here to Windermere on Saturday 27th September, I’d like an Advance ticket and I want to pay with these vouchers and this five pound note.”
“You can’t”
“Eh???”
“Well, you can travel, but you can’t buy the ticket for another two weeks”

By now I was getting annoyed.

“Well I could buy online, so why can’t I buy here?”
“Ah well, they’d let you buy the ticket online, but you couldn’t do the seat reservation yet”
“I didn’t ask for a seat reservation, I just want to buy a ticket”
“Oh, OK”

That fooled her. Still, things should start moving now.

“So, you want an Advance ticket from here to Windermere on Saturday 27th September?”
“Yes please”
“Coming back when?”
“Not coming back, it’s a single”
“OK, a single. Would you like to make that a return for a pound extra?”
“NO!!!”
“OK, just give me all your money and you can have your ticket”
.

And then I went back to work and gently steamed all afternoon.

1 A wedding acksherly, but close enough

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