Monthly Archives: August 2012

Saying you’ll move to a different country if a politician wins is just giving up

As most of you probably know, I moved to the UK last summer. Over that time, I’ve become much more aware of issues regarding immigration, since it suddenly affected me a lot more directly. Things that I used to just go “gah people are awful” at and forget about really upset me now. Go read this for the sort of thing that makes me rage and cry now. This post is about a milder irritation, namely, the tendency of people to say “Oh, I’ll just move to [x] because politics/if this person wins.”

Come on, it sounded silly before, and now it’s just irritating.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for immigration. I want open borders. But seriously, the government does shitty things everywhere. The only reason you’re not aware of what Canada or wherever is dealing with is because you don’t live there. It doesn’t directly affect you. And you know how you stop governments from doing things you don’t agree with? How you minimise the damage a politician can do whilst in office? You stick around and get politically involved. Don’t fucking run away and let people you don’t agree with have free rein over the country. Fight!

And if you do move, move for a solid reason, not an idealised view of another country’s government. I already went into how hard it is in the piece I linked to above. If you move just to get away from where you are, you’re going to be miserable. That’s the other part of this tendency that bothers me so much. The very idea of “Oh, all I have to do is decide to move when something upsets me” undervalues the effort it takes to emigrate. I can’t help but think that this contributes to the idea of immigrants as lazy people who are taking advantage of the system. It’s an incredibly hard thing that takes a lot of money, resilience, and luck to succeed at. And really, if your only reason for saying you want to move is the politician you don’t like won, why not put that towards some political activism instead?


I am never using Megabus again, and I’d suggest you avoid them, too

Right, clearly I suck at keeping to a schedule for lengthy periods of time, so let’s forget that because then I feel bad and don’t post at all. Also, a lot of stuff went on this summer that really slowed down my composition plans, but I’ve done enough this summer that my parents and friends have told me I can feel accomplished about, even though I’m kicking myself over not reaching at least thirty. The final count is nine completed, and fourteen in various stages of completion. I didn’t get to do the recording I wanted to, but oh well.

Anyways, this post is not about that. This post is about why Megabus sucks, since according to my friend who is actually named John, “Ariana, you have a neglected blog and a major corporation to get revenge on. This is a solution disguised as two problems.”

One of my closest friends lives in upstate New York. Even as I became poorer and poorer this summer as a uni student without a job, I knew I needed to see her before I went back to the UK, since this is the last time for two years that I will be in the states. Things seemed to work out well, since family from Connecticut was in Baltimore and I hitched a ride up north with them on their way back. My friend picked me up from there and we had a great few days. (The best part was when we dressed up super-formally, invaded Simon’s Rock, and cuddled in all our old places, gaining thumbs-up and the like from the freshmen there for orientation.) Unfortunately, I did not have any Maryland relatives conveniently visiting upstate New York. The most affordable option was to take Megabus from Albany to NYC, and from there to Baltimore.

Now, generally I’ve been fairly lucky with bus travel. One time I was on one into NYC that was a little late because of traffic in the city, but not too bad, and that was on a Saturday afternoon. Because of this luck, and also because I just generally get uncomfortable waiting around on city streets for longer periods of time, I optimistically purchased my second ticket for forty-five minutes after I arrived. This proved to be a bad move, but this post is about customer service.

Whilst waiting in line for the bus from Albany, I overheard two passengers ahead of me tell the driver that they had lost their confirmation printout but had called Megabus and had been given their registration number, which they had written down. The bus driver refused to let them board, and while one of them called Megabus again in order to make sure she had written it down properly, the driver boarded the rest of us. From my seat on the bus, I watched the situation between the driver and the two passengers escalate, including the passengers putting the driver on the phone to Megabus twice, the bus driver yelling at the passengers, and the driver walking away from them towards the driver’s seat while they continued to protest his attempts to leave them in Albany. They were finally allowed to board a half hour after the scheduled departure time.

We arrived in NYC an hour late, which you will notice is after my second bus left. The bus driver continued to be his pleasant self by yelling at a British couple who were trying to retrieve their luggage quickly because they had to make a flight that left in an hour. We put our luggage on ourselves, but for some reason the bus driver considered it heinous for them to attempt to quickly retrieve it.

Once I had my suitcase, I called Megabus from the street where I was dropped off. (A minor irritating thing is that Megabus does not put a contact number for customer service in their confirmation emails. I had to text my mum to look it up for me because I had no internet.) During this call I had to apologise repeatedly because I was having trouble hearing the customer service representative because I was on the street and traffic was loud. I was told that since it was same day, I couldn’t change my ticket to a different time for free and would have to pay a $5 fee. I said “Okay, I can do that,” assuming that I would be helped with this over the phone, since they had my information on hand, and, oh yeah, I was standing on a street corner. But no, The representative said “Okay, you can go online and do that then,” and hung up.

So I called my dad, and he checked tickets for both Bolt Bus and Megabus and they were both sold out until the next day. My friend John was awesome and came to get me and gave me a place to stay for the night. The first thing I did when I got to his house, and therefore internet access, was to go online to see about changing my ticket for the $5 charge that was mentioned before. No option to do that. I would have to pay full price for a new ticket. (I checked Bolt Bus for the next day because I really didn’t want to give Megabus more money, but they were sold out for that day, too.) I begrudgingly purchased another ticket from Megabus and sent a complaint explaining all that had happened and requesting a refund for the bus I missed. That was on Thursday. Today, they replied with:

Dear Valued Customer,

Megabus.com takes pride in providing on time service however delays can
occur for reasons beyond our control. Please allow ample time (2 hours or
more is suggested)
between services to catch your connecting service .Unfortunately
Megabus.com
can take no responsibility for missed connections.

Thank you for using Megabus.com we appreciate your business.

Sincerely,

Megabus Customer Service Specialist
Natal
Megabus Customer Support
inquiries@megabus.com

Yeah, because your bus driver harassing customers and leaving late is something entirely beyond your control. Your customer service representative expecting me to be able to easily access the internet after I have made it clear that I am standing on a street corner is beyond your control. You know, I could appreciate a “No refunds on missed connections with shorter than two hours time in between” policy. Traffic around NYC does get crazy. But you notice they didn’t even attempt to apologise. Yeah, Megabus totally values its customers.

————–

As a special thank you for John:

One of my friends in the UK told you that as thanks for taking care of me, he’d buy you a beer if you were ever in the UK. This is your written proof. Don’t let him back out.