up to me and started talking to me. She had an
accent. Could have been German. Or Portugese.
She asked me if she could ask me some questions.
She showed me a picture of herself in a polythene
see-through bag. I didn’t look very closely at it but
I thought I saw the word ‘Marketing’. My train was
delayed so I said, OK. She said that it was to improve
the service. I said, OK and she rummaged around in
her bag and took out a clip board. On the clip board
there was a list of questions.
She said, ‘Are you travelling today?’
‘Yes,’ I said.
‘Are you travelling for business, leisure or family
I said, ‘Family reasons.’
She said, ‘Do you ride a horse?’
I said, ‘No.’
She said, ‘When a piece of bread is smaller than
the slot in the toaster, then, assuming you turn off
the toaster for health and safety reasons do you
a) stick a knife in the bread and hook it out?
b) pick up the toaster, turn it over and shake
it out? c) leave it in there?
I said, ‘’b’) I turn the toaster over.’
She said, ‘Do you travel First Class or Second Class?
I said, ‘Usually Second Class, but at the weekends I might
She said, ‘Do you think the world political situation
would be improved if a) the Roman Empire came back b)
people stopped eating processed meat, c) politicians drank
I said, ‘I don’t think any of those. Can I say ‘None’?
She said, ‘I’m the one asking the questions.’
I said, ‘I know.’
She said, ‘I’ll take that as a)’
I said, ‘The Roman Empire one?’
She said, ‘Yes.’
I said, ‘The Romans didn’t have trains.’
She said, ‘If they did, they would have made them
run on time.’
I said, ‘Except towards the end. You know, when they
were leaving here and going back to Rome.The trains
wouldn’t have been on time then.’
She said, ‘I’ve made a note of that.’
I said, ‘Thanks.’
She said, ‘On a scale of ten do you think the following
would improve the service:
‘Giving customers flat-pack self-assembly furniture to
construct on their journeys?’ 10 for definitely, Zero for
not at all.”
‘Nine,’ I said.
On a scale of ten, do you think customers should be
supplied with the magazine, ‘Dairy Cow News’?
I said, ‘Nine’.
She said, ‘Why?’
I said, ‘Because when I was about ten years old I
developed a fascination with dairy cows. I could tell
the difference between a Dairy Shorthorn and an
Ayrshire. I think having a free copy of ‘Dairy Cow
News’ would be of great interest.’
She said, ‘The survey is complete. We give all the
people we interview a small gift. You have a choice.
Would you like a pen, a notebook, a tomato, a
holiday in Florida or a baby?’
I said, ‘I’ll take the tomato.’