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"Lunch isn't included" (in fare on 21 from Fort Worth)?


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#41 crescent-zephyr

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 02:43 PM

I sure hope customer service is reading this thread and seeing how much ill-will declining a simple lunch has generated.


For Most of us, I think this is just an ultimate example of LSA's making up and enforcing their own policies. Even some of the better LSA's I've encountered make up their own serving times, seating polices, etc.

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#42 randomguy65

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 03:16 PM

I'm goung to put this issue to rest on Monday when Customer Relations is open.

I'm not angry, far from it, but I am curious on the official policy and what they'll tell me.

#43 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 09:55 PM

What did the twitter person say?


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#44 PVD

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 10:00 PM

Sad, but the most consistent thing about Amtrak is the inconsistency. 



#45 VentureForth

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Posted 08 January 2018 - 09:51 AM

Sad, but the most consistent thing about Amtrak is the inconsistency.


This.

And you'd think that in this day of instant communication and social media, they would tighten their consistency. But far from it.

And people wonder why the train isn't any more popular than it is.

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#46 Green Maned Lion

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Posted 08 January 2018 - 10:18 AM

Regrettably, Amtrak is just, for the most part, abiding by societies norms of petty tyrants, lazy workers, and often outright loathing (often deserved) for ones employers. I dont support it, just want to point out it isnt strictly an Amtrak thing.

The other day I was in a Jo-Anns buying some blackout curtain material so I can make sunshades for my van, which serves as my mobile office. The employee was helpful in finding me the cheapest material that would adequately do the job, which was nice. She then cut me the specified amount. Finally, she pointed out there was a tiny little pen mark about half an inch long, and asked me if I would like a different piece.

Since we are talking about the inside of a work van, I really could have cared less. I asked if a tiny discount could be applied to the fabric purchase. When I said tiny, I was expecting 5% and would have been pleased with 15% and overjoyed with 25%. She gave me 75% off. Perhaps that comes across as good customer service to you; but speaking as a retailer, it comes across different: employer hatred. There is no reason to discount this piece anywhere near this much, especially given my attitude, needs, and nature (I look like a disheveled Young Santa Clause complete with overalls). The employee did not care about her employer or their profitability.

And that kind of hatred? Its usually earned by poor treatment, bad work place policies, job insecurity, and general disrespect. Contrast that with Boscovs, where most employees actually went through the grieving process over the death of Al Boscov last year. They work their employees hard, but they also respect them and treat them properly. Which is probably why Boscovs has so far not been affected by current retail trends.
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#47 A Voice

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Posted 08 January 2018 - 10:29 AM

 

Sad, but the most consistent thing about Amtrak is the inconsistency.


This.

And you'd think that in this day of instant communication and social media, they would tighten their consistency. But far from it.

And people wonder why the train isn't any more popular than it is.

 

 

I fully agree with your larger point, of course, but unfortunately I have to wonder just the opposite. Amtrak too often has chronically late trains, poor and overpriced food service, staff which make up their own rules, and a skeletal route structure which is woefully inadequate to really meet the needs of the travelling public.  Yet, for all that, one of Amtrak's greatest problems is lack of capacity on its trains - too few frequencies and seats to fully meet demand.  It's really quite remarkable.   



#48 VentureForth

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Posted 08 January 2018 - 11:57 AM

 

 

Sad, but the most consistent thing about Amtrak is the inconsistency.


This.

And you'd think that in this day of instant communication and social media, they would tighten their consistency. But far from it.

And people wonder why the train isn't any more popular than it is.

 

 

I fully agree with your larger point, of course, but unfortunately I have to wonder just the opposite. Amtrak too often has chronically late trains, poor and overpriced food service, staff which make up their own rules, and a skeletal route structure which is woefully inadequate to really meet the needs of the travelling public.  Yet, for all that, one of Amtrak's greatest problems is lack of capacity on its trains - too few frequencies and seats to fully meet demand.  It's really quite remarkable.   

 

I agree with this point as well.  Don't get me wrong - I enjoy riding the train whenever I can.  But I do not blame others for not wanting to try it.

 

I think the railroads on the whole are at the hate-the-employer stage.  I have an acquaintance who just retired from CSX before they could lay him off.  He lamented to me the other day of the hiring of Hunter Harrison and how despite his ability to return the railroad to profitability, he did so at the cost of huge manpower reductions resulting in illegal car dispatches because they can't fix the cars fast enough to keep them on the road.  So, those employees who remain are already defeated, thus having little incentive to work properly.  That's an over simplification of a huge problem, but it's across the board.

 

Back to the point at hand, there is absolutely no reason at all for the passengers not to report poor service and expect to be compensated for advertised services - even if asterisked as "some may be different" nonsense bs.


Edited by VentureForth, 08 January 2018 - 12:02 PM.

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Also Ridden: Carolinian, Crescent, Pacific Surfliner, Piedmont, Southwest Chief, Silver Meteor, Silver Star, Texas Eagle


#49 PVD

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Posted 08 January 2018 - 12:02 PM

The claim of employees making up their own rules is probably exaggerated, but since they (Amtrak) do such a poor job of presenting what their actual policies and guidelines are in a clear and concise fashion, it is an easy charge to level. Sort of like politicians, we always say they are corrupt, because if half of the moronic things they say and do were not, and they really were that inept, we would bear a greater responsibility for electing them. Same thing in business, plenty of bad decisions by senior managers that they blame on external forces.



#50 randomguy65

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Posted 08 January 2018 - 12:06 PM

Regrettably, Amtrak is just, for the most part, abiding by societies norms of petty tyrants, lazy workers, and often outright loathing (often deserved) for ones employers. I dont support it, just want to point out it isnt strictly an Amtrak thing.

The other day I was in a Jo-Anns buying some blackout curtain material so I can make sunshades for my van, which serves as my mobile office. The employee was helpful in finding me the cheapest material that would adequately do the job, which was nice. She then cut me the specified amount. Finally, she pointed out there was a tiny little pen mark about half an inch long, and asked me if I would like a different piece.

Since we are talking about the inside of a work van, I really could have cared less. I asked if a tiny discount could be applied to the fabric purchase. When I said tiny, I was expecting 5% and would have been pleased with 15% and overjoyed with 25%. She gave me 75% off. Perhaps that comes across as good customer service to you; but speaking as a retailer, it comes across different: employer hatred. There is no reason to discount this piece anywhere near this much, especially given my attitude, needs, and nature (I look like a disheveled Young Santa Clause complete with overalls). The employee did not care about her employer or their profitability.

And that kind of hatred? Its usually earned by poor treatment, bad work place policies, job insecurity, and general disrespect. Contrast that with Boscovs, where most employees actually went through the grieving process over the death of Al Boscov last year. They work their employees hard, but they also respect them and treat them properly. Which is probably why Boscovs has so far not been affected by current retail trends.


Not to get super off topic but as someone who currently works in food service, I understand this feeling way too much.

The second an employee realizes their employer does not give a damn about them, you get scenarios like this.

#51 randomguy65

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Posted 08 January 2018 - 03:30 PM

OP here. Called Amtrak.

The Customer Relations Agent was abosolutely speechless as to why the LSA would say such nonsense. He confirmed Amtrak's website was correct in regards to meal times and I should've received meal service.

They sent me a voucher for future travel.

Seems this is a case of an LSA making up random rules at his own convenience.

#52 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 08 January 2018 - 03:37 PM

I'm glad they confirmed the official policy and that they offered you a voucher to make amends.  That being said, I would still expect any future meals to remain at the mercy of the LSA's whims.  On the plus side you probably have a case for another voucher each and every time they refuse to seat you before closing time.


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#53 Bob Dylan

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Posted 08 January 2018 - 04:26 PM

OP here. Called Amtrak.

The Customer Relations Agent was abosolutely speechless as to why the LSA would say such nonsense. He confirmed Amtrak's website was correct in regards to meal times and I should've received meal service.

They sent me a voucher for future travel.

Seems this is a case of an LSA making up random rules at his own convenience.

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#54 OBS

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Posted 08 January 2018 - 05:20 PM

At least, it is documented and forwarded to manager for this train, so a paper trail is made. As I and others have mentioned, our new President IS serious about customer service. I have noticed changes, but it will take time.

#55 JoeBas

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 09:29 AM

Since we are talking about the inside of a work van, I really could have cared less. I asked if a tiny discount could be applied to the fabric purchase. When I said tiny, I was expecting 5% and would have been pleased with 15% and overjoyed with 25%. She gave me 75% off. Perhaps that comes across as good customer service to you; but speaking as a retailer, it comes across different: employer hatred. There is no reason to discount this piece anywhere near this much, especially given my attitude, needs, and nature (I look like a disheveled Young Santa Clause complete with overalls). The employee did not care about her employer or their profitability.
 

 

I'd be careful leveling such a charge without evidence.  Seeing as how the piece had already been measured and cut, and had a defect, it would likely have had to been discarded had you declined the offered discount.  Furthermore, she did not immediately jump to "here's 75% off".  As such, it may very well be within policy (or even mandated) to offer a given amount to recoup SOMETHING off of what would otherwise simply be "sunk cost".  

 

YMMV, of course. 



#56 JoeBas

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 09:30 AM

At least, it is documented and forwarded to manager for this train, so a paper trail is made. As I and others have mentioned, our new President IS serious about customer service. I have noticed changes, but it will take time.

 

Yup, I'm sure a mean tweet will fix this right up! 



#57 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 09:52 AM

 

At least, it is documented and forwarded to manager for this train, so a paper trail is made. As I and others have mentioned, our new President IS serious about customer service. I have noticed changes, but it will take time.

 

Yup, I'm sure a mean tweet will fix this right up!

 

It naturally depends on the company but there are some stories of critical tweets resulting in policy changes at major carriers.  Although it's usually a tweet from someone important/famous/popular with a large number of followers rather than a random unknown customer.


Edited by Devil's Advocate, 09 January 2018 - 09:55 AM.

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#58 jis

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 10:52 AM

Or it has to include dramatic video of a passenger being dragged out kicking and screaming as the case may be. So far AFAICT, that is the one that has caused the most dramatic change in operating procedures at a carrier with significant immediate negative financial impact, but possibly net net very positive, since that kind of negative publicity is hard to compensate for in day to day operational efficiency.

 

And I am told, that the actions were taken against all legal advice from the corporate counsel on that matter, by the CEO overruling all such. The moral of the story is, you can trust the drones (even extremely well compensated middle and upper middle management)  to do as little as possible to fix anything, since everyone is in personal rear end protection mode. It takes leadership at the top to effect real change.


Edited by jis, 09 January 2018 - 10:54 AM.


#59 PVD

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 11:09 AM

Employees need to know (and the message comes from the top) that they will not be taken to task by bean counters for making a decision that may not be strictly by the book, but is a common sense response to a situation. We learned that a passenger was told they should have been served a meal, that makes sense. But have we resolved whether or not employees get flak for giving meals to passengers who may not have them included in their fare basis? Or whether that is true or not. We don't know that. A system needs to have the flexibility built into it so that employees are encouraged to go the extra mile for their customers, in too many organizations, that is not the case. Different areas of management convey mixed messages, in many cases, the aggravation that results from doing what most of us believe is the right thing to do, just is not worth it. That can only change with strong direction from upper management.



#60 Green Maned Lion

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 12:57 PM


Since we are talking about the inside of a work van, I really could have cared less. I asked if a tiny discount could be applied to the fabric purchase. When I said tiny, I was expecting 5% and would have been pleased with 15% and overjoyed with 25%. She gave me 75% off. Perhaps that comes across as good customer service to you; but speaking as a retailer, it comes across different: employer hatred. There is no reason to discount this piece anywhere near this much, especially given my attitude, needs, and nature (I look like a disheveled Young Santa Clause complete with overalls). The employee did not care about her employer or their profitability.
 

 
I'd be careful leveling such a charge without evidence.  Seeing as how the piece had already been measured and cut, and had a defect, it would likely have had to been discarded had you declined the offered discount.  Furthermore, she did not immediately jump to "here's 75% off".  As such, it may very well be within policy (or even mandated) to offer a given amount to recoup SOMETHING off of what would otherwise simply be "sunk cost".  
 
YMMV, of course. 

I have been in retail a long time. I have been both a buyer and a damned good salesman. I also put myself through college largely by playing poker. I read people. I read situations. That employee had something along the lines of loathing for both her job and her employer.

I consider the evidence of my own eyes adequate for my purposes. I am not a judge at a trial of this employee; I dont have to prove my opinion beyond a reasonable doubt. I can simply draw from a preponderance of the evidence before me. I consider this adequate both for holding my opinion and posting the above story without naming the employee or the location of employment.
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