Cambridge - Enough Said

Posted by Craig Saturday 24 January 2009 , ,

Customer Service (or lack of it)
Yesterday morning I decided to take the bus into work, got to the bus-stop and realised I only had a £10 note (not an issue when you live in a big city, but hey we're talking Cambridge here and to people here £10 seems to be a lot of money- strange given that it will buy you next to nothing). 

Got to board the bus and handed the driver the note, the look on his face said it all, followed by the words "got anything smaller". Now of course if that had come from some people I'd have taken it as a form of flattery - but in this case I assumed he was referring to the fact that he'd have to give me £9 in change. Of course if Cambridge had a similar transport system to any other modern city in the world then I'd simply swipe a pre-loaded card. But alas no - we still have to deal with cash. My reply was "really sorry, no".

Well, no surprise that the textbook Cambridge model of customer service kicked in. The fact that I wasn't presenting exactly what was needed was my fault (not the fact that the bus driver had inadequate change). Quote I had was "If I give you change then I wouldn't have any other change left, you'll need to wait for the next bus". To which my reply was "not my problem". I presented him with several options to move forward:
  • I have just under £1 in change, you can have that
  • Keep the £10 note - I'll claim the change back from the company at a later date
  • Let me ride for free
Of course these options weren't suitable as it didn't fit the model perfectly (and of course thinking out the box wasn't an option)- my comment "what a joke" I'm sure didn't help. Asked other passengers if they had change- one guy replied "sorry mate I don't get paid until later today" (found that funny). Eventually we agreed that the best course of action was indeed for him to give me change.. Here you go - first picture posting::

On The Train
Writing this on the train where (of course) I've been displaced by the typical self-centred Cambridge family (2+ children) who take over the carriage and everyone has to move around for them to ensure that they get to all sit together in the optimal configuration. I'm surprised - the kids are eating 'normal' British food - not the usual fair for Cambridge children (breadsticks and hummus all round). The mother has just asked the child 'have you ever been to London before'- he's about 8 and hasn't. Unbelievable (I'd been to London when I was a kid several times at the age of 8 and I lived at the other end of the country). Obviously all of the food is strewn over the carriage now. It's times like this I think there is a market for T-Shirts with some anti-child phrase on it (but in the interests of this being a clean blog I'll omit the exact wording I've conjured up - if you know me drop me a mail and I'll let you know).

Dry Cleaning
Dry cleaning for people who stay in Cambridge during the week is only for the unemployed. I figure this by the fact that the opening hours are solely constructed in a way that anyone who works a 9-5 (ha!) job would have no way of actually conveniently being able to drop off or collect their dry cleaning. There are 2 main branches of a popular dry cleaning service that have their own advantages in terms of opening hours (but distinct opening days and opening times). Oh, and of course it isn't like China where you can drop it off in the morning and have it ready later that day.


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