You know what I find monumentally stupid?
Adverts for train fares.
First of all, I get the odd one in my inbox every now and again. This is spam. Spam I cannot afford to block because it comes from the same place my booking confirmations do.
It’s also spam that I actively asked to be excluded from receiving but there you go, apparently the average train company with an online presence doesn’t understand the concept of ethical boundaries.
But the worst, the absolute worst are TV-ads/billboards/posters/radio-spots for cheap train fares to certain places over a certain period, especially when carried out by a single Rail service but not the others.
What person in their right mind follows a thought process that says “HOT-DIGGITY-SHITMOBILE! THE TRAINS TO CORNWALL ARE SO PANTS-RUININGLY CHEAP THIS MONTH! I WILL BASE THE ENTIRETY OF MY TRAVEL PLANS AROUND THIS INSTEAD OF AN INFORMED DECISION BASED ON WHEN AND WHERE I ACTUALLY WANTED TO FUCKING GO”
To begin with, as I said, these promotions are generally only offered by one rail service (Southern/First Great Western etc). I also don’t know anybody who decides where to travel based on whether they’ll be able to take a Southern train there because, unlike airlines, YOU PHYSICALLY CAN’T.
Each service operates within a set area and they rarely piss on each others’ turf. On an average journey to my girlfriend’s (who lives 2 counties over) I’ll change trains 3 times, travelling on two different services along the way.
This isn’t even a long journey and could hardly be considered the distance any family might travel inside the UK to go on holiday.
My point being that if a promotion only applies to a portion of the journey. It’s a bit crap isn’t it?
I’m not moaning that the rail companies in the UK want to offer cheaper fares as, believe me they are hideously overpriced. I’ve always thought that a train to any location should cost me the equivalent or less as it would in petrol (give or take) if I drove.
The fact of the matter is that rail services, to this day, are rather poor here in England and TV/radio/magazine/billboard advertising costs a LOT of moolah that could be better spent improving said services.
When cigarette advertising was outlawed a few years ago, several companies noticed their profit margin increasing as their marketing costs plummeted but nobody stopped buying tobacco products.
They’re an “essential” product, just (for the moment at least) like trains. Nobody is going to stop taking trains because they don’t hear about them every half hour on the telly, just like they’re not going to start taking them more for the same reason!
Every time my train is delayed because of a malfunction on the line, or a strike, or a scheduling error, or adverse weather conditions (read: leaves fell on the track) or essential maintenance, or the train being a bit old, or the driver being a bit old, or a wampa attack, or whatever…
I’m reminded that if they had perhaps spent a little less on the process of telling everyone how sodding cheap it was (not to mention the losses of reducing fares for a period of time), and a little more on ensuring it ran as advertised, everyone would be happy anyway.
Don’t get me started on other adverts I hate either. We’ll literally be here all day.
WRITTEN BY JONNY VAUGHAN