One of the first things to impose itself into my new life in London is the London Underground. I was initiated as a user of London transportation by purchasing an Oyster card, a reusable pass for the Tube and buses instead of paper tickets.
There’s a fucking bastard of a machine at the Underground stations where you can swipe your card and add more money onto it.
It does a few things that can very quickly incite rage…In fact, I think that the 7/7 bombings could have easily been a result of Oyster Card troubles.
1.) It arbitrarily returns coins that you put into the machine. Sometimes it’s because you put the coin in too quickly for it. You really have to stick them in one at a time and pause to make sure it understood the gravity and depth of what it means to receive a 20p coin. So you’re put in a position where you look like one of those old ladies at the slot machines in Las Vegas who carefully examine each coin to read what it says on it because they can’t seem to take in at a glance its size, color or shape.
People behind you waiting to use the machine don’t like that.
Sometimes it’s because the coin is really small. The 5p coin is admittedly quite small, but the machines claim to accept them. That is a lie.
2.) When you “take too long” to insert your coins, the machine cancels your entire transaction, gives you the message “You have taken too long,” and forces you to start from the beginning. This is a conundrum because it doesn’t accept coins if you put them in too quickly.
3.) The machine returns whatever denomination you have inserted in small change. In other words, if you put in a two-pound coin and it decided to spit it back at you, it won’t always return your original coin. You will get it in the form of a fucking handful of fucking 10p coins. This is also a conundrum because…
4.) If you try to pay in lots of small coins–the very same small coins the machine returned to you after you put in larger coins or a bill, it cancels your transaction, gives you a message which says “You have used too many coins,” and then forces you to start from the beginning.
The only thing to do with such a situation is to go to the Assistance window and throw that very same fistful of coins at the human being who works behind it. But they are protected by transparent panels, probably for that reason. So I guess bombing the entire fucking London Underground could be justified.
*Photos from Transport for London and RavenGarcia.
**The 7/7 bombings were not actually justified, and its victims should be honored; except for the ones who caused it–they should burn in hell while being shown beautiful, moist, out-of-reach cupcakes that they will never have, but whose elusive dream of sweet delicious goodness will torment them for all eternity. But maybe a bombing of the Underground, while it is empty, except for the son of a bitch who invented the Oyster Card Machine, is justified.