A freelancer's blog

The machines that aren't broken

Typical: of course the ticket machine chooses a busy time to go wrong. In Oxford station, queues were forming at a machine that refused to display Network Railcard as a valid railcard. The woman at the front of the queue tried for quite some time to make it work, then gave up and sought assistance. I was eavesdropping on her conversation with James, a busy member of station staff, when I got to the front of my own queue and encountered an identical problem. Soon it became clear that all the ticket machines had the same issue: refusing to display Network Railcard as an option.

On boycotts

So boycotts are fashionable again. I’ve been boycotting Starbucks since the early Noughties because of their aggressive business tactics; now I’m joined in that boycott by hordes of people who are unhappy because of the company’s attitude to tax. Now I know how Michaela Strachan felt when statement earrings came back into fashion: pleased, slightly righteous, and tempted to shout “I was doing it first!” a lot.