Occasionally, I commute into London on South West Trains. I normally listen to music or podcasts during the half hour commute into Waterloo.

Whenever I buy a ticket at the station, I always pause the music and remove my earphones. This is for two reasons:

  1. I need to be able to communicate with the person to purchase my ticket.
  2. People behind me in the queue may not want to hear ‘Serve the Servants’ by Nirvana.

Last Monday morning, I joined a short queue to buy my Travelcard and removed my earphones as usual.

The lady immediately in front of me was talking on a mobile phone and moved forward to the ticket booth. Much to my surprise, she continued her obviously unimportant conversation with a friend while conducting the entire transaction.

‘Yeah so then we went on to the Slug - weekly Travelcard, zones 1-5 - No, no, he wasn’t there - he was drinking in Putney with his mates…’

‘£41.40 please.’

‘…but we met them later - Sorry - what did you say - someone just interrupted me - Anyway, what about tonight ?

‘Please can you enter your PIN ?’

‘Sorry - she just interrupted me again - What ? - there you go - Yeah

  • well I’ll get back about half-six - then we can go for a drink and then get - sorry what - oh my ticket.’

I then approached the ticket desk, waited for the young lady to move out of earshot and said:

‘Honestly, I can’t believe what she just did. I think that is incredibly rude and disrespectful.’

The lady smiled ruefully: ‘Yes. We used to have a polite notice but most people simply ignored it.’

So, if and when Jonathan Beckett secures the domain name ‘ignorati.com’, I’ll be an avid reader.