Thursday, 30 June 2011

30 June 2011. Letter 3

Dear Mark and Sue

Re: 18.51 FGW service from Paddington to Oxford, 29/6/11. Amount of my day wasted: 8 minutes.

How are you both? Well I hope. First let me thank you Sue for your lovely email. Isn't it wonderful we're all on first name terms now! Positively continental of us!

(Talking of the continent, have either of you ever been to Switzerland? I went there on holiday once. Beautiful country... and the trains! Oh Mark, the trains! You would love it! Remind me to tell you some time about the wonder of the Swiss integrated transport system. It is a splendour!)

But I digress. Your email, Sue. Thanks for taking the time to reply personally. Great communicating! I can certainly see how you've risen to become communications director of FGW. As a journalist I deal with many communications departments, and I have to say I feel a few of them could learn a thing or two from you. And judging by the time of your email you may have even missed The Apprentice in order to send it! Now that is dedication.

And you're right Sue (you're right too Mark! You kids are singing from the same corporate hymn sheet!) It's just not good enough is it? Your service, i mean. But then it's one thing acknowledging fault and another entirely to act upon it. Anyone can say sorry. But words without actions are just words, aren't they? No matter how beautifully they're communicated.

Anyway. Back to business. As you'll already have seen, my train home last night ran eight minutes late - so accordingly this is an email calculated to waste eight minutes of your time.

Eight minutes. Doesn't sound toooo bad, does it? Maybe if I ran a train company and one of my trains was eight minutes late, I might think: "Only eight minutes? It could be worse. It could be nine, or 10, or 20, 30 minutes late. Eight minutes is nothing! Not really! Not in the grand scheme of things!"

But then that would be a pretty sloppy train company, wouldn't it? I'd be a pretty sloppy Manging Director, wouldn't I, Mark? (I'd be an appalling Director of Communications if I ever let a journalist know that was my attitude, wouldn't I Sue!)

Eight minutes. Perhaps it doesn't seem much - but then at the end of a hard day at the office, hoping you'll get home to see the kids before they fall asleep (they were still asleep when I left in the morning)... Actually, now I put it like that, perhaps it does seem a significant amount of time.

What do you think Mark? Et tu, Sue?

Food for thought!

Au revoir



  1. Loved the comment on Swiss trains. Brilliant.

  2. That made me laugh. Being Swiss myself, I just can't understand why the British don't manage to make their trains run on time! :) It's not that difficult...