First Great Western railway, possibly the worst named company in Britain given that it’s rarely first, never great and not entirely western, offers complimentary snacks and beverages to first class passengers. For some reason best known to themselves however, you don’t get the same coffee if it’s free as if you pay, it’s slightly smaller and this goes for all the other drinks in their complimentary range. Why this is we don’t know, it means two lots of stock and as you can order two small ones anyway it seems a bureaucratic waste of time.
Because of this the train manager (read conductor before everyone had to have a fancy title) nearly always exhorts that passengers requiring complimentary snacks show their ticket before ordering – otherwise, heaven forfend, someone might get a coffee with an extra 10% in it.
The lengths that they take this was shown to me this week. A passenger in front of me ordered a hot chocolate without showing his ticket and the buffet attendant started to make a standard one. To be fair no announcement had been made about the ritual ticket waving. When the chocolate was produced and he was told the price we had the predictable faffing about it being free. The attendant explained the system and then promptly threw the drink down the sink and made another smaller size one before handing it over to the passenger.
Everyone in the queue thought this was strange to say the least but Mr Jobsworth didn’t even think twice about it so presumably it’s company policy – the expression waste, want not seems to have passed them by.