Dear Eurostar

Sirs,
Your quite extraordinary pretentions to being an airline rather than a railway have just cost me two hours of my life, two hours that I will never be able to recover.

Upon arriving at Brussels Midi with some 10 minutes to spare before my train departed, one of your staff, one of quite startling superciliousness it must be said, informed me that it would not be possible for me to board. I do understand that it might be wise to allow 30 minutes or so to pass through security checks, passport examination and so on, but the insistence that, in the absence of a queue, in the absence of anyone else at all attempting to pass through that system, that as it might at times take 30 minutes that it therefore must take 30 minutes is absurd.

As we both know, both having been airline customers at one time or another, it is indeed possible to pass through an airport in 10 minutes. Your staff\’s insistence that it is not possible to pass through a railway station in the same time is thus a display of some idiocy. Imposing extended waiting times upon your customers isn\’t, in the American phrase, quite the way to run a railroad. It isn\’t as if the architecture of this particular station is of sufficient interest that travellers would welcome the chance to admire it for your insisted upon 30 minutes.

My time is normally billed at £ 150 an hour. You have just purchased two hours of said time as a result of your inane policies. I look forward to receipt of your cheque by return post. Please make it out and send it to:

Tim Worstall
2 Queen Anne\’s Gate
London SW1

I look forward to not using your mode of transport as much as I possibly can in the future.

Yours etc.

Tim Worstall

 

Update. Having sent this email I have been told that my customs is very important to Eruostar and that they currently answer emails after 14 days.

33 thoughts on “Dear Eurostar”

  1. “You would probably the same person who would complain if the train left a minute late because of a late runner.”

    This is only inconsistent if allowing Tim to board the train would have resulted in a late departure. There seems to be no suggestion that it would.

  2. “I look forward to not using your mode of transport as much as I possibly can in the future.”

    No problem there. The cost of going to see friends in France via Eurostar: £158. Cost via Ryanair: £2. Service level either way: shockingly bad.

  3. You knew the risks. You took a chance. You are not prepared to accept the consequences.

    Put formally, you expected the company to amend its terms of business to accomodate you. Less formally, you expected to persuade and beat a jobsworth in negotiations.

    And, of course, you expect compensation. Although I hope you get some sort of complimentary voucher as a loyal customer, the problem was of your own making.

  4. It definitely says on the tickets that you need to arrive a certain amount of time before (it’s less if you are in business class).

    I’m pretty staggered that Ukip pay you £150/hour though.

  5. Aw, forgive him – he didn’t know who you were!
    He probably thought you were just another self-important diplomat or politician trying to get around the rules.

  6. But your £150 per hour is paid to you for the specialist skills you presumably have, not for queuing skills or walking through a station. I would guess you would struggle to be paid the minimum wage for that. Unless you are proposing rendering your specialist skills to Eurostar, I think you should revise your claim….

  7. Additionally, were you not being paid for the time you were in Brussels? If so, you are trying to get paid twice for the same time period. I admire your entrepreneurialism but your ethics may have taken on a Brussels Green-tinged hue.

  8. Hmm its called a contract Tim, terms and conditions apply to both sides of it. I thought that you were all in favour of keeping within contract terms and conditions, but apparently not silly me for thinking you might tbe different.

  9. Some people seem to be missing the point:

    “I do understand that it might be wise to allow 30 minutes or so to pass through security checks, passport examination and so on, but the insistence that, in the absence of a queue, in the absence of anyone else at all attempting to pass through that system, that as it might at times take 30 minutes that it therefore must take 30 minutes is absurd.”

    The relevant bits are now in bold.

  10. Rules is rules regardless – except sometimes if one asks nicely, they’re bent at the discretion of the employee who’s there to enforce them. Outrage always, without exception, provokes the gleeful minor tyrant.

  11. Julia – I arrived at Tescos once at 10:02pm, and it had just closed. But all the lights were on, the staff were still there, and they could have easily served me. I don’t remember firing off letters and demanding they pay me some made up figure.

  12. Tesco closes at 10:00 – you arrived after the closing time.

    Tim wasn’t late for his train, he wasn’t asking that it be delayed to allow him to board – he arrived after the arbitrary time allotted before departure for ‘check in’ which doesn’t take a fixed, set amount of time.

    See the difference?

  13. I have experienced the same thing at Lille. The idea that it will take 30 minutes to get 5 people onto the train is merely stupid.

  14. Agreed, JuliaM. The staff could have facilitated Tim’s catching the train but instead chose to prevent him. The staff intentionally delayed him simply because their terms and conditions allow them the latitude to dawdle for thirty minutes. It might be their right, but it’s a crap way to treat customers.

  15. Yes… but what you don’t understand was that the train was off to “the foreign” and anything involving the crossing of a border needs lots of hanging around. Perhaps the government computers insist on the name of the last passenger being logged in 30 minutes before departure so that the rozzers can get round to the terminal in case some toe rag is trying to slip the country. Did you think of that?

  16. “Yes… but what you don’t understand was that the train was off to “the foreign” and anything involving the crossing of a border needs lots of hanging around”

    What border? Isn’t Belgium party to the Shengen agreement

  17. Tim,

    Were you at any time during the purchase of your ticket, on this occasion or previously, advised that there is a minimum ‘check-in’ time of 30 minutes?

    When being advised of this, did you ‘switch off’ or ignore it as an irrelevancy or simply not bother to read the ‘terms & conditions’ of purchase?

    If so, you arrived 20 minutes late, not 10 minutes early.

    Why do you think that there is one rule for the masses, and one rule for those who think they know better and have a blog to air their grievences.

  18. Blimey.

    From a quick count 6 or 7 of 15 repliers to this thread are supportive of petty jobsworthiness and unnecessary rules/regulations.

    I think that goes a long way towards explaining WHAT THE FUCK is wrong with this country!

    Sorry for the raised voice, I’m getting to the stage I can’t help it…………

  19. “What border? Isn’t Belgium party to the Shengen agreement”

    Err, yeah, but the UK isn’t.

    Obviously, all border formalities and such timewasting, useless bollocks within the EU should be abolished. But for as long as they exist, Eurostar will continue to have stupid lengths of check-in; and for as long as that’s the case, the kind of petty-minded idiots who derive joy from enforcing rules will continue to screw people over. So it’s a good idea to keep to the petty rules where possible…

    (on the Tesco point – if I arrive at Tesco at 9:59, then they’ll let me do some shopping, queue and pay for it even though that may take til 10:15. If I arrive at 10:00, they’ll tell me to clear off. That seems pretty closely analogous to this situation, given that the ‘hard’ cut-off is about 15 minutes after the publicised arrival time in both cases)

  20. To answer Zorro’s semi-capitalised question.

    1) Far too many puffed up individuals who think they are above the law, rules and regulations.
    2) Far too many people whose first act on encountering a problem of their own making is to blame somebody else.
    3) Far too many people who think they should be compensated for their own irresponsibility.
    4) Far too many people who think the first three should now be the norm.

    Tim’s story is merely a refined version of the person who trips over his/her own feet and then goes looking for a broken paving stone upon which to base a compensation claim to the local council.

  21. “Nachdem Collectus Inkasso die Inkassozulassung vom Oberlandesgericht
    Frankfurt am Main erhalten hatte, konnte sich Collectus Inkasso
    schnell auf dem Markt etablieren”, so äußerte sich Christian Riebold,
    Geschäftsführer der Collectus – Gesellschaft für Forderungsmanagement
    und Inkasso mbH mit Sitz in Frankfurt am Main. Christian Riebold
    schaut zufrieden auf das erste Geschäftsjahr zurück: “Der
    Inkassobetrieb läuft auch Hochtouren. Man kann sich zur Zeit nicht
    über zu wenig Arbeit beschweren.”

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