THE RESPONSE: My email to Metro Trains

Image by: Zed Fitzhume

In May I sent an email to Metro Trains. It started out as an opportunity for the Big Blue M to test their complaint response writing skills against the new public transport (and possibly the world) standard. It ended as an angry diatribe, I’ll admit. For this reason, if Metro had erred slightly on the side of conservatism in their reply, I would have given them some latitude.

They didn’t, however, err on the side of conservatism so much as put every single egg they’ve ever owned into the conservative basket:

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A [FAUX] RESPONSE: My email to Metro Trains

by Haught 0 Comments

Last week I sent an email to Metro Trains.

I haven’t yet heard anything back from an official representative, but reader Veloaficionado has had an excellent stab at responding on their behalf:

Dear Mr Haught,

As a representative of Metro, I will take the opportunity to reply to your latest letter. At Metro, we pride ourselves on keeping abreast of all commentary on our performance, and although some may call this paranoid and in the vein of witch-huntery, Section G-37-B is very good at its job. The surveillance equipment they deploy is second to none, and the data encryption and database security employed is world class, deep within the reinforced concrete 3rd basement level where it is stored.

So rest assured that we are aware of your reputation and previous correspondence with other instrumentalities and businesses, and we wish to reassure you that we take your views of our performance very seriously.

However, we must take issue with absolutely everything that you say, even that we seem to employ public image management that is somewhat amateurish and implausible, or to you, it seems, laughable. We have spent a substantial amount of public money on such well-credentialed public relations advisors, who have offices in major European capitals and both the east and west coasts of the US.

Read the rest
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I owe Little Bean Blue a dollar

Dear fans of Haught Feelings,

I need a little favour. I need you to make sure I don’t forget something.

You see I owe a cafe in the Melbourne CBD a dollar.

Here’s how it happened. I went into the shop this morning and, just as I was about to approach the little take-your-order area, realised I was badly short of walletal cash.

When I’m not hiding behind my keyboard writing sarcastic (and what have been referred to as “quasi-intellectual”) complaint emails I roam the real world as a graceless buffoon. For that reason, once I discovered that I was at least a dollar short, I made the decision to crouch in the doorway and rummage for a gold coin that I have intermittently sighted, Emmaville Panther-like, at the bottom of my satchel.

My preposterous delving and scratching may well have lasted for several hours had the barista not stopped me by calling “Jonathan – strong latte!”

I only heard about Little Bean Blue a little while ago and have been in about ten times ever. In the last week I think I might have been in four times. Somehow, in that minuscule amount of time, the regular barista – with whom I’ve shared no more than three words on any given day – has not only learned my name, but also my preferred coffee AND is happy to start making it before I’ve even proved my ability to make a commercial transaction.… Read the rest

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My email to Metro Trains

by Haught 20 Comments

I wrote a letter to Metro Trains.

Exciting times.


Dear Metro Trains,

My name is Jonathan Rivett. You might know me – I’m kind of a big deal.  (I have many leather-bound books, and my apartment smells of rich mahogany.)

If you’e not familiar with my work, here’s a quick summary. A couple of weeks ago I became very, very famous when I posted on my blog an email exchange between me and Yarra Trams.

I sent them my account of a tram trip my wife and I had endured during which a drunk man abused passengers in a theatrical baritone. I felt that Yarra Trams had been less than truthful with their insistence that the police had been called once this man’s antics had gone from entertaining to distressing and wanted to know the real story. It was an immensely humorous and exquisitely worded piece of correspondence.

Instead of coming back with a hollow, supermarket-bought reply email, Yarra Trams responded in kind. I posted their brilliant email on my blog. The radio station 3AW found it, then The Age got wind of it and the rest is history.

Anyway, long story short: I thought I’d give you a chance to better your bitter public transport rivals.… Read the rest

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The Flinders Street Stakes

Sometimes in the morning when I cross Flinders Street to get to the station from the Young and Jackson’s side of Swanston Street, I imagine that I’m in a horse race.

Is that childish? (That’s not a rhetorical question – I want you to answer it in the comments section of this page.)

I don’t have a good turn of speed; I don’t steam home from the rear of the field like Kingston Town. I’m more like Manighar; I grind away and try to out-stay more mercurial pedestrians.

I consider the edge of Swanston Street to be the running rail and try to position myself one off the fence, partly because it’s always a straight race and you can’t save any ground, but also because there are inevitably two or three runners ahead of me – dawdlers – who don’t have the class to win the race. If I’m stuck on the fence with these donkeys holding me up in the final furlong (or six metres), I give myself no chance of winning.

Sometimes other runners – mostly corpulent businessmen who’ve lost their bearings, their dignity and any basic human decency – lay in badly during the race, halt my run and force me to stop riding.… Read the rest

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The Grape Men

I grew up in well-established suburb of Melbourne, so it was a novelty to have horses over the back fence.  They roamed around in a thin expanse of undeveloped land that spanned an entire block lengthways and sometimes Dad would lift me up so I could feed them grass and pat their noses. (To this day, I like horses for the fact that they prefer the grass out of a person’s hand to the grass coming out of the ground. They are humouring us like a kind uncle humours a dim-witted child, and I appreciate it, despite the fact that once you know what they’re doing you can’t help but feel it’s a tiny bit condescending.)

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