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:
- I need to be able to communicate with the person to purchase my ticket.
- 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…’
‘…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.’