So today I had a meeting in Philadelphia, then had to be back in New York later for work, which meant I had the privilege of taking Amtrak both to and from. Of course that also meant unfathomable delays, bathrooms literally drenched in urine and feces, an expensive excuse for a snack bar, and friendly, "holy shit I want to punch through your esophagus" customer service. It was an absolute blast.
People complain a lot about cable companies being the worst corporations ever, be it Time Warner or Comcast, and there's no denying they epitomize frustration, but when it comes to the absolute worst bang for your buck as a customer, Amtrak takes the cake by eons*. Amtrak prices are straight up, jump you in an alley with 5 giant dudes and take all of your life savings type robbery. Both of my train tickets cost over $100. Over ONE HUNDRED fucking dollars for the whole hour and a half trip to Philadelphia. Now normally I go with the obvious alternative, Bolt Bus, which charges a whopping $20 or less and has better wifi (still sucks), but I had to be relatively timely and I didn't want to risk the traffic.
Oh, well don't worry, Amtrak will still make you late with a totally unexplained 40 minute delay that you don't find out about until your train is supposed to be boarding. Glad I paid for that comfort of a guaranteed arrival time.
Then when I finally get on the train, of course I have to do the usual walk up and down every car to find an open seat just to cram next to the most attractive girl I can find (only semi-pleasant part really). Now I'm all settled, enjoying the 6 inches of leg room, when I find myself in need of a trip to the lavatory. So I get up and walk to the absurdly difficult to open sliding door, only to find the bathroom looking like this:
Okay, that wasn't exactly it, that's a public bathroom in China (which, fuckin ew), but it may as fucking well have been. I swear I've never walked in to an Amtrak bathroom that didn't have piss puddles covering the floor and poo-dyed toilet paper spilling out of the bowl, joining together to create a nauseating aroma that I'm pretty sure could get you high if you were man enough to stay in there long enough without passing out.
Oh, and then I happened to be dumb enough to want a bottle of water. Hadn't drank much yet at that point in the day, cotton mouth was creeping in, so I walked to the cafe cart to find a lovely young woman with half a mouth of teeth and a body that wasn't any sort of definable shape. I asked for a water, she told me the cafe cart was temporarily closed, pointing to a sign on the countertop.
Me: Oh, well I can't just have a bottle of water?
Awesome At Her Job: ...No...
Me: I mean I can't just hand you this dollar and you can just hand over a bottle of water from the fridge right behind you?
AAHJ: The'yre 2 dollars... and nope.
Me: Really? No way I can just get a water? I mean it's water.
AAHJ: (blinks once)
Me: Your appearance is revolting and terrifying.
That last part was in my head, but she could hear me. She knew exactly what I was thinking and literally couldn't give two shits less. Like, why the fuck was she there? That's all I could think of. If your cafe is closed then just leave the sign and lock up, don't plant an idiot there to tell me she can't handle a transaction because there's a notification on the countertop that forbids it. It's basically like they're just looking for ways to treat you like the dick you are for paying them.
So that was my day. A non stop butt plundering from Amtrak. Let's do the math real quick to end this thing. If I'm spending $100 for an hour and a half trip, I'm either wasted and way further from home than I originally thought when I got in the cab, or I've paid for road pleasures during a drive. At the very least, I'd accept a comfortable seat with good space, a bathroom that I can actually walk in to without vomiting, and a GUARANTEED arrival time. A semi-competent and polite employee wouldn't hurt. Instead, I get today.
So fuck off Amtrak. You may not get the same attention for sucking as the Comcasts or TWCs of the world, but when they give out the award for Craziest Inability To Live Up To Your Cost Standards, you make those two shit heel companies feel like they have 1 inch cocks.
* Can a time interval be used as a signifier of distance? Yep.
P.S. I don't know why but ever since I typed that last sentence I can't stop thinking of this scene, so I'm just going to say it works in the context of this blog to include it...