Saturday, 3 March 2012

Three year old left screaming when customer service goes wrong

My youngest ended up screaming after a worker on the trains nearly rammed us with her trolley.

After a hectic two days braving the train journey to Manchester with five children between two mums, being asked for ID (despite my age), playing super mum to ensure the youngest didn't miss any of the fabulous Peppa Pig Live show despite needing the toilet and playing 'avoid the laptop' on the train home to ensure the children weren't exposed to any inappropriate content from fellow travellers; we were on the last stretch.  Home was in sight.  Our station was only ten minutes away.

But of course, the excitement hadn't finished.  Just as I am beginning to think about gathering our 'stuff' together, the food trolley enters the carriage.  My youngest was still sat on my knee, angled outwards to avoid the screen of the laptop of our fellow traveller, and her feet were obviously in the aisle. She then started to get down off my knee (she wanted to go around the table to her sister) just as the lady pulling the trolley entered our carriage.

Trolleys with tardis-like proportions, managing to hold any snack you can imagine.  They are only just slim enough to fit down the corridor between the seats.

The lady responsible for the trolley was pulling it behind her incredibly quickly. 

The lady didn't slow, she didn't appear to be taking any notice of anything other than pulling that trolley down the carriage as fast as possible.  I don't even think she saw my daughter, who isn't quite one metre tall yet, stood in the middle of the aisle in front of her. 

I hoisted my daughter back up onto my knee as fast as I could and swung her legs in under the table.  The lady and her trolley were bearing down on us and my foot was still angled outwards into the aisle.  I had to quickly pull it inwards, not realising that the motion of moving my leg in also raised my knee, squeezing my daughters legs between my knee and the table top.

The lady and the trolley sped past, oblivious.  My daughter on the other hand; my daughter who is a strong, brave girl and who rarely cries even if she's fallen off her bike, opened her mouth wide and howled!

I spent the next five minutes trying to console her.  Just as she calmed down, we were pulling into our stop and my friend and I had to move fast to gather her and the other four children (all five years old or less) together, not forgetting any belongings, to get off the train.

There was no time to find the trolley lady.  No chance to complain.  No chance to say; hey!  Look where you are going!

I went to the station manager's office and tried to raise a complaint there.  Funnily enough it wasn't theirs to deal with.  I received the usual answer "it's not our responsibility.  The catering is subcontracted.  But if you take a leaflet you could write in."

I was livid.  Hiring subcontractors for part of your service does not absolve you of responsibility.  Telling me to 'write in' is not what customer service is all about.

Charging down a busy aisle without giving warning, or watching out for potential obstructions is NOT good customer service.

And of course, I still blamed myself.  Because it's my responsibility to look out for her.

What do you think?  Is it too much to ask for people to look where they are going - particularly when there are young children around?


  1. Ow that sounds painful. Yes I think there must be an obligation to trolley-pull with care in public places! Write a letter - maybe you'll get a money-off coupon for the next train ride!

  2. Yes I will. Thank you. You'd think they'd be careful wouldn't you!?


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