Mechanised Mayhem

Posted by Craig Saturday, 11 April 2009

Cambridge Station Car Park
London abound today. Of course the usual stress that involves parking at Cambridge Station Car Park (or is that Taxi Rank, Cycle Shop, or anything else random they decide to put into it). I'm actually surprised they don't have some horrid car boot sale/market at weekends there (since people seem to like that thing).

As usual the Mensa genius level test that involves purchasing a ticket for parking failed two thirds of those who tried it so ended up storming in a huff to the other side of the car park. I must confess whoever designs the interface on these machines must be related to those who build photocopiers !

Cambridge Station
In a mood as s result of the above, I got into the station to buy tickets - or so I thought. Got to the machines only to discover they were out of order. Apparently too many people had bought tickets today and the machine had ran out ! Now that one almost matches up with 'leaves on the line causing delays in Autumn'. Did nobody think that a bank holiday weekend would result in lots of people wanting to travel ?- I guess that's a novelty (maybe we should all just sit at home eating Hot Cross Buns and watching Songs of Praise ?).

Thankfully staff were on hand to sell tickets the old way (i.e. person replacing a machine). I often wonder where these people normally are when I'm stuck in a queue. Probably sitting with their feet up in the back office with Tea and Eccles Cakes reading this weeks' copy of the RMT newsletter I guess. I was just about to buy the ticket when the guy replacing the machine I was using indicated he had to go off (no doubt to have a cup of tea...). Therefore I was left facing the following:



I was tempted to write something above the sign like 'Totally' (or perhaps a little stronger).

Thoughts
This got me thinking. Why is the UK so backward when it comes to vending machines ? There doesn't seem to any standard machines around which I'm sure is part of the problem (therefore a fleet of service technicians are needed). I recall in Japan every machine I ever used working (as I don't know the Japanese for 'Try another selection', 'Out of Order', and other common phrases needed in the UK). I guess it's just another example of where the UK is backward in the area of customer experience. Even Europe can do vending machines well...



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