Might this be why Thomas Cook is going out of business

The Scene: Thomas Cook Falkirk Branch

Me: Good morning! I saw an advertisement in the Shopping Centre about your Manager’s Special.

Staff:  Yes?

(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.


Go west

And I went west yesterday to preach at Fr Kirstin‘s institution at Bearsden (with Milngavie).  Kirstin’s driving instructions left a lot to be desired as she doesn’t know her left from her right. So when she said that Junction 16 actually comes off at the right and not the left, she lied.  So there I was at the last minute trying to cross 4 lanes of traffic mouthing ‘sorry’ as I went. Thank goodness for the traffic jam which I can been cursing not five minutes before for it meant that as we were crawling along at 5mph it was reasonably easy to lane jump.  Then my Sat Nav thought I was still on the motorway because the road had taken me directly underneath it so kept repeating ‘Leave the motorway at the next junction… Leave the motorway…’ you get the picture. I just screamed at it until it got it right.  But I made it to the church in time and with time enough to eat my lunch before all the Glasgow clergy and a few others descended upon the rather nice hall. In fact it is a rather nice wee church with lots of lilac glass in the windows and some rather stunning angels’ wings in the window above the altar.

I was preaching so I got to sit with the choir but I fear I rather let them down.  My favourite St Anne’s mass setting with an Agnus Dei from another MacMillan setting I think which was a bit weird. As there is no bishop in Glasgow at the moment, the Dean Gregor Duncan stood in for him and did a jolly good job. I was really nervous about preaching and it had caused me a lot of grief last week as I tried to get something down on paper. I’m not sure why it was so difficult. Was it because a friend had asked me and that, of course, is an honour?  Or because I would be preaching to so many peers as well as two little flocks? Anyway, it got done at the last hour and seemed to go down okay.

We then wandered down to the BB hall nearby and were treated to some rather nice sandwiches (crustless of course) and a cup of tea. Tea?! No wine?  No fizz? Outrageous! Then some of us went back to have a nosey round the Rectory. This is the real reason clergy go to Institutions. It is really only in the hope that they get to have a gander at the rectory and see how it compares to your own.  All I will say is: many more bathrooms, and lovely conservatory.  And yes I coveted. (Not only the bathrooms but the gorgous Juliet Hemingray green stole that Kirstin was presented with.)

Kirstin gave me 2 lovely books as a pressie which was terribly kind. (One for recent birthday and one for preaching.) They were on my wish list and it always astonishes me when people actually take time to look at the wish list and buy me something I really want.  They were called Imaging the Word and I’ll do a little review later.

And a shared journey home with Mother J and a good blether. So all in all, a lovely day.