The Scene: Thomas Cook Falkirk Branch
Me: Good morning! I saw an advertisement in the Shopping Centre about your Manager’s Special.
(Clearly the Manager’s Special hadn’t reached her shell-likes)
Me: You know the one. £99 for rail travel from Falkirk to London and 2 night stay B&B.
Staff: Yes? Oh yes. There’s no time limit on that one. You can go when you like.
Me: Well, that’s just wonderful. Even better. In that case I have a week off after Easter so I’d like to go then.
Staff: What dates?
Me: How about midweek? Wed/Thursday?
Staff: (tap tap into computer) Where do you want to go from? Edinburgh?
Me: Er no, Falkirk. Here. Where we are. Where the ad said you can go from for £99.
Staff: How many of you will be going? Two?
Me: No, just me. Just one.
Staff: Oh. (tap tap into computer) Right. I need to phone up about that one.
(Phone call takes place. My details are related to third party.)
Staff: Where do you want to stay?
Me: Oh I don’t know London very well. I’ll want to be going to the National Gallery. Perhaps the Tate. So somewhere near a good Tube connection?
Staff: Oh okay.
(Conversation continues with third party. I never found out who they were.)
Staff: Ok, that will be £340 then thank you.
Me: £340? The sign said £99. That’s more than three times.
Staff: Ah well, its the single supplement you see.
Me: Well perhaps your sign should reflect that then.
Staff: Do you want me to try other dates? When else could you go?
Me: Well I did choose midweek assuming it would be cheaper. But any time that week would do.
(This is related to third party.)
Staff: Would Wembley suit you? There’s good tubes from Wembley I think.
Me: Sure. Wembley sounds fine.
Staff: That’s £320 then. How about that?
Me: That’s one hell of a single supplement this B&B is charging.
Staff: No, its the train fare too. The single supplement there is quite high.
Me: You have to pay to travel on your own on a train now?
Staff: For this offer, yes.
Me: In that case, I think I’ll leave it.
Please take note, Mr Thomas Cook. You are luring people in with your promises of cheap travel to exotic places and all the time it is a lie. Not just a little lie, but over three times the lie. Not good.
And Mr Manager of Thomas Cook… your ‘Manager’s Special’ is not good business practice and not fair on your front-line staff who have to deal with irate customers like me. Not fair at all.