Tuesday, January 12, 2010

How many times...

...can a sane person listen to jingly music and the following recorded messages at 20 second intervals and not go crazy?

Due to high call volume, it is taking longer than expected to answer your call. Please continue to hold and your call will be answered as soon as possible.

Our agents are busy at present. You call is important to us and will be answered shortly.

I lasted 18 minutes. It's a new record as far as I'm concerned so I'm really proud of myself. Didn't have much success once I got through, but that's another story.

God, I hate Oyster.

I mean honestly, what do you answer to the question "how did you take the train"? Ermmm.... went to the station, waited on the platform for a train to arrive, and once the doors opened I hopped on? How else could anyone take the train??

For those not in the know, Oyster is the clever way our local transport chiefs have come up with for overcharging unsuspecting rail and bus passengers. You put money on a charge card that looks just like a credit card and you have to tap in and out every time you make a overland train journey so the correct amount for your fare can be deducted. Most train stations aren't gated, so it's up to you to remember to find a machine to tap on entering and exiting the station.

If there's a snow blizzard at the time you happen to be exiting your station and you're carrying a cake in a paper bag and no umbrella, chances are you'll forget to tap out. If you do, the system automatically charges you a penalty fare, which could, if your balance is low, mean that you're left with no money to pay your bus fare home.

In order to have the penalty fare reversed you have to call the Oyster helpline 24 hours after the incident (to allow their computers to catch up, because these machines were made in the 20th century and are staying there thank you very much). Once the 24 hours have passed and you try to ring, you're subjected to the jingly jangly music and recorded messages telling you how important your call is to them.

Well, if my call is so important to you, why don't you answer the bloody phone? Eh? And how about being able to help me once you do answer? That would have been nice.


Karen said...

I'm laughing my butt off because:

a) Oyster is an astoundingly stupid name, and
b) I'm SO HAPPY to read that you get cranky, too!!!!!

Tinsie said...

Me, cranky? You should have seen me this morning. I was fuming!!!

Karen said...

Still laughing!

Loops said...

I was charged the penalty fare twice on a single journey. Tapped onto the Waterloo and City line at Bank, tapped out at Waterloo. Later that evening when I tried to go home there wasn't enough money on my card. It turns out that because I entered using the tube barriers and accidentally exited using the National Rail barriers it assumed I'd taken 2 unfinished journeys. It had take £12 for a 4 minute journey or something. Such a stupid system. Thankfully I got my money back without spending 18 minutes listening to terrible music!

Tinsie said...

@ Karen: I'd be laughing too if I didn't have to use the stupid system...

@ Loops: I've not got my money back yet. I need to use a tube station in order to claim my refund and they need to know the day before so they can set it up at the barriers. Obviously this means I have to ring them again and God knows how long I'll be on the phone for next time. Ho hum.

Per Stromsjo said...


How did you take the train?

Well, I have tried a butterfly net but it's way too big. So now my best theory is to catch it in an unguarded moment when it has to stop for whatever reason, possibly a station.

Tinsie said...

Excellent response! I shall use it next time :-D