I read today of a protest by disabled users of Southern Rail against the inadequacy of staff to allow them to board the train without prior booking.
It reminded me of last time I travelled by rail a couple of years ago in the UK. There were no staff! There were no porters in Swansea or Reading, both large stations. No assistance of any kind for love nor money. Passengers helped me to manhandle my suitcase on and off the train, but in Reading there was a footbridge to negotiate, quite impossible! I waited, expecting to see some type of employee hove to on the horizon, nothing. I waited until the train was gone, nothing, absolute desolation! So I stood and shouted Help! loudly. Finally someone came, I explained my predicament, Oh, says he, I’m not a porter, well says I, I am going to stand here and shout and scream until someone helps to get me off this platform. He capitulated, and, mirabile dictu a staff only lift was found. I gave him 10 pounds at the taxi rank, he was aghast, I can’t take that! Why not? He did! I did ask him why there were no porters, he looked at me like I was fresh out of the ARK and said there had been none for years, I did admit to not having been on a train for thirty years!
The same thing at Heathrow, there are no porters. I cannot lug suitcases on and off the carousels any more or get them, even on a trolley, to the bus station which is half way to Wales anyway! I have had to go to the office and demand they find a porter, which they do, most reluctantly. They then demur at walking the trolley right through to the bus station until I start fingering a twenty. That gets them going positively pleasantly!
Same in supermarkets, not enough tills open, no baggers, no car service and even the temerity to suggest one should check your own shopping out, over my dead body! When you consider the bloody prices it is disgusting! I have been known to demand they open more tills in both Sainsbury and Tesco, again, they do it most reluctantly. Especially when one harangues other poor souls waiting in a loud and carrying voice, generally to their amusement!
Why on earth do people put up with it? They should protest and abandon their shopping instantly, these places would soon change their policies. They would be bankrupt within a week in the USA, nobody would put up with it! considering how many unemployed, gimmigrants and general work shy there are on the public teat I really cannot understand why they are not organised to do these things and other public duties such as litter picking. (Just love the chain gangs in Mississippi, best roads out!) Plenty of Skycaps in every airport too.
I would like to know whether other countries have these deficits that you live in now. Are they like the USA which has a total service function or like the UK where their seems to be no help available at all. How does the Uk compare when you go back to visit?
Some of you might point out that one should travel more lightly, but when you are away for two months and have several things to go to, you cannot live out of a carry on! I need my full allowance and 50lbs is far to much for an old fart like me to drag about without help!