I ride the Long Island Rail Road to and from work. I've been doing this since 1991 so I consider myself somewhat of a veteran but something happened tonight that amazed even me. I was taking the 7:11 train home, went down to the track at Penn Station at 7:10, and found the train doors closed and the train pulling away. I was dumbfounded. The train left early. I looked around and while the train was pulling away I took this picture of the train and the clock.Since I now had time to kill while I waited for the next train that was scheduled to leave at 7:44, I found the customer service office to complain that the train left early. I expected no satisfaction beyond venting a bit but the conversation went like this between me and two of the crack LIRR customer service staff:
Me: I wanted to take the 7:11 but the train doors were closed and the train left at 7:10
LIRR: Maybe your watch was wrong.
Me: No, this was based on the clock on the platform.
LIRR: Are you sure?
Me: Yes, I have a picture of the train leaving and the clock showing 7:11.
LIRR: Well, you know the clock might be wrong.
Me: If the clock is wrong, shouldn't someone fix it?
LIRR: The train leaves when the dispatcher tells it to leave. It really doesn't matter what the clock says.
LIRR: Dispatching trains is very complicated. They have a large console room and the time in their command center may be different than the time on the platform.
Me: Again, why would there be a different time? Should your clocks tell the same time?
LIRR: They are allowed to tell the train to leave before the time it is scheduled to leave by up to three minutes. We are sorry you missed the train but you should get there earlier.
Me (realizing that I was dealing with morons): Is there an email address that I can complain to?
LIRR: No. There is a phone number that you can call tomorrow. Why would you want to email anyone?
Me: To send them a copy of the picture of the clock and the train leaving.
LIRR: Well you could call them and ask if they have an email address. They might.
Who says customer service is a lost art?