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I've heard some stupid questions, but...
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Old 09-10-2021, 10:02   #1
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Angry I've heard some stupid questions, but...

...the one I was asked this morning at the Bolton train station takes not just the cake but the entire sweet trolley, plus a selection of liqueurs.

At some point during my shift on Wednesday night some thieving git stole my credit and debit cards, plus my Northern Rail smartcard. Result: I no longer had my weekly train ticket, nor any means of buying another - and when I was offered the Friday night shift, I only had enough cash in the house to get to work and none for the return journey. I hardly ever bother with cash any more.

But I couldn't afford to turn it down, because a) I'm still with the agency and only getting minimum wage, and b) I wanted to create a good impression with the manager of that section of Stateside by showing I'm a willing worker who can handle a 12-hour shift, because it's proper warehouse work, not all that production line nonsense, and I really want to be taken on by that section - it's work I can do. So I happily agreed to go in.

(In fact, I gather I already have made a good impression on them on the other occasions I've worked in there, and they are looking for permanent staff - my name's been put forward. Here's hoping - apart from the hourly rate of over £12, they only work 7 nights out of every 14! Result!)

So: Lack of return fare? Not to worry, I thought, I'll do that Promise To Pay thing, give 'em my details and pay as soon as I can get the cash, i.e. Monday. Simples.

Except it apparently doesn't work like that. It's not, as I'd thought, an IOU per se.

I explained why I was doing this at all. The ticket bloke asked if I was paying now. I had to pause a moment; that wasn't the question I was thinking of, but it still qualifies as stupid - if I could pay for the ticket, why was I bothering with the PTP thing? If I didn't have the cash when I got on the train, what are the chances that I'd have it when I got off? Here's a clue: numerically the probability of such an event looks like this:

0

- and the first syllable is 'ze'.

As I'm not totally antisocial, I refrained from observing that he was clearly a moron and simply said that I couldn't pay it at that time (what part of 'my cards and smartcard were stolen' wasn't clear? I'm quite sure I didn't lapse into Basque, Russian or Klingon Battle Language at any point).

Then came The Question. He asked: "Then why did you get on the train?"

He was very fortunate that I was, and am, very very tired after a 12-hour shift, else I might have given him a Pythonesque tirade along the lines of the Dead Parrot sketch. Why does anyone get on a train? Could it be, perhaps, that they might just want to, I don't know, GET TO WHERE THEY'RE GOING?!

There is, there has to be, a Moron Academy somewhere so people can study to become morons. And this is a species with aspirations towards the stars? Not a frickin' chance. I despair, I really do. This sort of thing is why I spent the whole of 1999 praying that the world would fall apart due to Y2K, because then there might have been a chance to improve things - and maybe weed out some of the idiots.

Lesson learned. From now on I will carry some cash on me. And never ever do the PTP thing again.
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Old 09-10-2021, 10:06   #2
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Re: I've heard some stupid questions, but...

If possible, why not use Apple/Google pay on your phone ?

I can’t remember the last time I took my wallet out with me.

In addition, you didn’t understand how promise to pay works, and you got on a train without the means to pay for a ticket. And yet the person who was doing their job is a moron ?

I won’t level the same criticism at you, but I’d suggest a little self examination wouldn’t go amiss
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Last edited by mrmistoffelees; 09-10-2021 at 10:12.
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Old 09-10-2021, 10:53   #3
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Re: I've heard some stupid questions, but...

So anyway, what happened next?
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Old 09-10-2021, 11:01   #4
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Re: I've heard some stupid questions, but...

I think it's a 5 part Mystery & Suspense thread, hopefully with a cunning twist at the end that nobody saw coming
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Old 09-10-2021, 11:10   #5
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Re: I've heard some stupid questions, but...

There are no stupid questions - just the people that ask them…

Anyway, back to practicalities - did the station you boarded at have an open ticket office or a ticket machine? (It sounds as if you were trying to get the ticket whilst on the train, and the guidance states you need to get it before boarding the train).

The websites states
Quote:
If a passenger gets on a train without a ticket or Promise to Pay notice at a station where ticket buying facilities are available, they may be liable to pay a penalty fare.
Quote:
What is a Promise to Pay notice?

A Promise to Pay notice is a ticket that must be obtained from our ticket vending machines if customers do not have the facility to pay by credit/debit card. The Promise to Pay notice allows customers to board the train with the intention of exchanging the notice at the first opportunity with a revenue officer, or at the next available booking office.

Why do Northern need to introduce Penalty Fares?

Reducing the number of people who travel without a ticket is not only in our interest as. the operator, but also in the interest of our fare-paying customers.

Few of us want to pay more for our tickets because some people avoid paying, and the loss of income due to people travelling without tickets reduces the money available to invest in a better rail service.

If I do not buy a ticket before travelling, is it an automatic Penalty Fare?

You are responsible for ensuring that you purchase a ticket or obtain a Promise to Pay notice that is valid for your entire journey before travelling, otherwise you may have to pay a Penalty Fare.

Northern is responsible for ensuring that the facility to purchase a ticket or Promise to Pay notice is available.

Can I pay at my destination if I am in a rush?

If you board a train without a valid ticket or Promise to Pay notice you may have to pay a Penalty Fare. If it is shown that your intention was to avoid your fare, then you are breaking the criminal law and you may be liable for prosecution.
https://www.northernrailway.co.uk/legal/penalty-fares
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Old 09-10-2021, 11:40   #6
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Re: I've heard some stupid questions, but...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hugh View Post
There are no stupid questions - just the people that ask them…

Anyway, back to practicalities - did the station you boarded at have an open ticket office or a ticket machine? (It sounds as if you were trying to get the ticket whilst on the train, and the guidance states you need to get it before boarding the train).

The websites states



https://www.northernrailway.co.uk/legal/penalty-fares
You'd make a great ticket inspector Hugh, the sort that wound the OP up !
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Old 09-10-2021, 13:05   #7
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Re: I've heard some stupid questions, but...

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrmistoffelees View Post
If possible, why not use Apple/Google pay on your phone ?

I can’t remember the last time I took my wallet out with me.

In addition, you didn’t understand how promise to pay works, and you got on a train without the means to pay for a ticket. And yet the person who was doing their job is a moron ?

I won’t level the same criticism at you, but I’d suggest a little self examination wouldn’t go amiss
I agree with you on this.

Another thought is he didn't keep his credit and debit cards on his person, he kept them in his hung up jacket i read in another thread!!!! i mean come on mate that is not very sensible.
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Old 09-10-2021, 13:07   #8
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Re: I've heard some stupid questions, but...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anonymouse View Post
Lesson learned. From now on I will carry some cash on me. And never ever do the PTP thing again.
If you were a video game character, your special skill would be blaming other people for your own screw ups.

Credit where it’s due, the thief at your workplace thoroughly inconvenienced you with his criminality (although I’m slightly surprised at your employer for not providing lockers). But everything that followed was the result of your own poor decision making and misunderstanding of how railway ticketing works. Given your well-publicised reliance on the railway network (you’ve posted about it lots on here) I’d have to say that misunderstanding is bordering on wilful. If you rely on these services you ought to know what they are for, and what they are not for. In the case of PTP for example, it seems to exist purely as a concession for people who only have cash and the platform ticket machine only accepts cards, in order to prevent people being unfairly caught out by penalty fare schemes.

I understand your desire to be a good worker but if you don’t have the means to travel, then you just don’t have the means to travel, and perhaps you should have just accepted that. Having decided not to accept it, and to take a chance on the system for your return journey, you really have no business being all pantomime shocked that the ticket seller on your return journey had a hard time understanding what the smeg you were trying to do. It was your behaviour that was odd, not his, and it’s way out of line for you to come on here and call him a moron in the light of everything you did in this situation.

Some people really are the authors of their own misfortune and it’s starting to sound like you’re one of them.
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Old 09-10-2021, 13:18   #9
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Re: I've heard some stupid questions, but...

Partly in his defense . . there are firms that don't provide lockers for agency workers, and if you're not allowed certain items on the 'factory floor' it means 'carrier bags' on the locker room floor for all your belongings.

Not a great state of affairs, but hey, at least he's working and beggars can't be choosers over company policy.
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Old 09-10-2021, 13:29   #10
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Re: I've heard some stupid questions, but...

I'm sure there's a perfectly good reason for not keeping your debit/credit cards and NR smartcard in your trouser pocket, but not one that springs to mind at the moment..
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Old 09-10-2021, 14:06   #11
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Re: I've heard some stupid questions, but...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hugh View Post
I'm sure there's a perfectly good reason for not keeping your debit/credit cards and NR smartcard in your trouser pocket, but not one that springs to mind at the moment..
never worked in a food processing factory then Hugh
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Old 09-10-2021, 14:08   #12
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Re: I've heard some stupid questions, but...

Reminds me a bit of when I put petrol in my car a few years back and for whatever reason my debit card was declined. There was more than enough money in my account but the transaction kept being declined, I tried it about 5 or 6 times.

After the final attempt I said to the assistant that I was sorry but for whatever reason my card wasn’t working and I didn’t know how to pay for my petrol.

The assistant then said “do you have any other means to pay?”.

Erm….if I had then why would I be trying my card over and over again?? Wouldn’t I have tried that “other means” as soon as I was having problems with my card??
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Old 09-10-2021, 14:17   #13
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Re: I've heard some stupid questions, but...

Quote:
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never worked in a food processing factory then Hugh
Actually, I did before I joined the RAF - a onion processing factory in Norfolk…
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Old 09-10-2021, 14:30   #14
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Re: I've heard some stupid questions, but...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Russ View Post
Reminds me a bit of when I put petrol in my car a few years back and for whatever reason my debit card was declined. There was more than enough money in my account but the transaction kept being declined, I tried it about 5 or 6 times.

After the final attempt I said to the assistant that I was sorry but for whatever reason my card wasn’t working and I didn’t know how to pay for my petrol.

The assistant then said “do you have any other means to pay?”.

Erm….if I had then why would I be trying my card over and over again?? Wouldn’t I have tried that “other means” as soon as I was having problems with my card??
Yes, and that situation is also immediately complicated by the fact you're paying after filling your car up with what £60 odd of petrol and then can't pay for it.


I think that if you have made a reasonable attempt to pay you're not stealing even if you drive off without technically paying (with presumably some mechanism of making payment later) especially in your case when you had a working card and money in the account but presumably due to a system fault it wasn't registering. (If you knew you didn't have funds or went with a known broken card it would be different)>


In the original situation it's hard to suggest what else you could do though, assuming that it's not allowed for various reasons to have personal wallets, keys, phone etc whilst working, they should then provide secure storage as it can't always be avoided taking these into work, as they'd be required to get home and pay for travel etc. If this is breached or not provided then surely the employer should be responsible for this (even if they try not to be) as you have to get into work and they don't allow you to keep the items on you.
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Old 09-10-2021, 15:27   #15
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Re: I've heard some stupid questions, but...

Welcome to the argument about who is responsible for the personal belongings of someone who doesn't work for you
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