Richard Lutz’s Blog
FANFARE FOR THE COMMON MAN
X -Factor, Strictly Come Dancing, I’m a Celebrity...all the world’s abuzz about the big stories this week. But Richard Lutz has some important tales to tell about small victories in high places.
So, there was this train trip to the Scottish town of Ayr, y’see. And the lazy so and so at London Midland said the cheapest fare was £91, y’see.
And I went back to him, not once but twice, because I could buy a small Central American country for that price and…
I think you know where this is going.
The real price, I found out was £60 if I bought two separate singles. So the ScotRail folks in Ayr said: “Buy the singles and you get a reimbursement.”
So I go back to London Midland back here in Brum and they say, no that’s wrong, you can’t get a refund.
And I say why not?
And they say you can’t buy a full fare and then get money back if you buy two separate singles; you should have bought two singles in the first place.
And I say it was up to you guys to tell me about this singles ruse, that’s your job. And he basically shuts me down because, well, he was the train guy behind bullet proof glass in Birmingham and I was some schmuck passenger who questioned the Greater Good of Ticket Buying.
So, I went to London Midland head office and said: “Hey, play fair....about my fare. And tell your damned staff to act like human beings.”
And I want my money back. Without the usual £10 admin cost (which is for…?)
And hey presto, I got my dosh back.
The second little story about small victories over big organisations:
I get tiny amounts of dividends from some US stock: I mean miniscule, a cheque for $10.00; a cheque for $0.46 and - you gotta believe this- a cheque for $0.17 (as in seventeen cents.) In Queen’s English that comes out to about £6.50 in total.
But my bank (I won’t mention its name because HSBC might get mad) says it’ll cost me £15 per cheque to cash them - that’s £45.
I say: “C’mon, HSBC, play the game....waive the fees. After all for 30 years I’ve been in the black with you (and the Midland) and my family has three accounts with you and I don’t even get interest anymore. Waive the fees as an act of good faith.”
I guess the phrase ‘act of good faith’ doesn’t exist in the bank I won’t name because HSBC might get mad.
The Kings Heath branch said there was no leeway. I said, “I can imagine in the HSBC HQ, a lot of rules being ignored for the top guys and girls. I’m a small fish- gimme a break.”
And they said: “No.”
They cashed the cheques for no fee (one time and one time only, made clear in hard black and white).
So, forget the big stories - X Factor, Get Me Out of Her and Strictly Come Brucie.
Here’s two really big small stories about life in the small lane.
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