Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Paris and I ~ 'Coughing Up Cuckoos'

iPhone Photo Chronicles
~ Coughing Up Cuckoos ~

Coughing Up Cuckoos, originally uploaded by Paris Set Me Free.

i haven't mentioned this before here, but i've been fighting a personal battle for some time now. It's a silent one, it's a painful one, and right now i'm losing badly.

The enemy is impassive, imperious and impune. He is impenetrable, implacable and impervious to attack or retaliation of any kind. He is a lot of things beginning with 'imp', in fact, although an 'imp' wouldn't be one of them.

No, the proverbial brick shithouse would be an apter description. OK, so maybe we weren't brought up on the same proverbs, but i assume you're getting my drift. This guy is mean. Real mean.

And His name..? The Gare du Nord automatic coffee machine. Oh yes. He and His brothers have really got it in for me.

Yesterday, just before the train turned up, i popped a nice shiny €2 coin into his greedy mouth, the anticipation of the bitter brown brew already making me look forward to finding my seat on the RER E and settling down for a good half hour's read and reflection. But He wasn't having any of it. Did He accept my €2? You bet He did. Did He give me any change for a €1.20 cuppa? Nope. Did He actually give me any coffee? He did not. Could i do a darned thing about it as my train rolled into the station? I think you've already guessed the answer. And variations on this theme happen again and again.

Call me paranoid if you like, but i'm convinced it's a conspiracy. Either against me, which would be really scary, but more realistically, by the vending company to make sure that a certain number of 'unfortunate malfunctions' occur up to but not exceeding the number which would have us hammering down their door demanding our money back or we'll throw their hot water back in their faces (another of their little tricks - supply you with a cup of boiling H2O, but, oops, forgot to put any friggin' coffee in it - sorry!).

i mean, just ask yourself, how often have you actually called that indecipherable, coffee-stained number (oh, the eye-wateringly beautiful irony of that) to ask for your money back? i've lost track of the number of times i've jotted it down and then done nothing. Or lost the number. And they know this!

i can just imagine it: phoning them, if they actually reply at all, and getting to the bit where you say how much you've actually lost. 'Well, the coffee was €1.20, i put €2 in and it only gave me 60 centimes change...' Out of pocket: the grand total of 20c. What sort of moron are you going to sound actually spending minutes of your life phoning up someone to try and extract 20c from them? That's right: a total one. 'I see sir.' You can almost taste the distain dripping from his no doubt copiously caffeine-coated tongue. But it's not their 20c. It's mine.

Hey, that's easy money for someone, isn't it? Think i'll install a few 'Give-Me-Free-Money machines in every station, saying please put some coins in here sucker, and I won't give you anything for it. OK? Smile. And give the station manager a cut for his efforts.

So tell me if you don't have serious doubts as to the ethical pureness of coffee machine vendors. And if there isn't a special unit in all of these acursed enterprises devoted to calculating just how much they can rip us off with their damned 'malfunctions' before getting caught, then i'll eat my coffee cup! Well, i would...

(A Paris iPhone street photograph by Sab Will for the 'Paris and I' photo blog)


Wendy Hollands said...

It's definitely a conspiracy. I have a similar machine near me — at an unmanned petrol station in Annecy. There's this old, dirty vending machine with Mars Bars and other delights offered, but nothing comes out when you put your money in. I've since discovered two other friends have done the same thing. Even if there's a contact number somewhere on the machine (I didn't see one) who is going to dial it and waste even more money (and annoy cars waiting to fill up by standing around chatting on the phone)? NOBODY! Conspiracy...or taking advantage of people who can't resist chocolate.

Sab said...

Ahh, so it's a country-wide thing then! The fiends. Would you believe it? Where will they strike next..?

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