Monday, 20 August 2007

Day Forty-Three - Crystal Palace Station, SE19

This week is I Hate Free Newspapers Week here at Commuted to Life.

I was buying a cup of tea from the chap in the kiosk at Crystal Palace station this morning, and I asked him why his usual table of newspapers wasn't there. After telling me that actually they'd been missing for a few weeks (I thought doing this blog would make me more observant...) he said that the installation of the bins for the free Metro paper earlier this year had caused his newspaper sales to go down from £125 a day to £35 a day, and that what with the small profit he made out of that anyway and the £30 a week he had to pay to get them delivered in the first place, it was no longer worth his while to offer newspapers for sale. "People coming through here in the morning are in a hurry, " he said, "and they just want to grab something. If it's free they'll just take it. Same thing's happened at Streatham Hill and Penge East".

This incensed me. Metro, part of the Daily Mail/Associated Newpapers stable, let's not forget, is a forgettable, trite newspaper, chewing-gum for the eyes if you will. And because of their ability to get their bins into every railway station in London (thanks, yet again, John Major for privatising the railways in the pursuit of mammon over integrated infrastructure) it leads to more than one negative consequence:

a) the livelihood of the independent kiosk owner is threatened, leading to the possibility of him closing down. Apart from the effect on him, that would mean that the users of the station would be denied his other services, such as a cup of tea for 70p and a friendly chat of a morning. No doubt if/when he goes, Southern Railway will offer his pitch to one of the coffee chains, leading to sullen service and the two-quid latte being the only options.

b) making quality papers less available, dumbing down the entire populace. From the last few years of commuting I know that it was actually the quality papers that sold out most quickly at the kiosk. Convenience leads to no choice but to read people-hating trivia tripe.

Yes, I know people can buy proper papers from newsagents near the station. Yes, I know they can bring a book. But as the kiosk guy said, most people are in a hurry in the morning. By usurping the choice of papers at the station with the monolithic moronity of Metro, the only winners are the odious Associated Newspapers and those that take their shilling.

And I shall be ranting about the evening freebies over the next few days too, don't you worry.

On the discman today: AM and PM - Kevin Drumm Sheer Hellish Miasma


Richard Pinnell said...

Oh boy, bad day at the office? ;)

I'm with you on Metro though, illiterate rubbish and the easiest Sudoku imaginable. Even worse recently the appearance of The London Paper and the suitably named London Lite shoved in your face twenty times before you can make it onto a station concourse. beyond me how they make money, but I guess they do.

When is I Hate Surly Station Staff Week by the way? ;)

Alastair said...

One of the joys of having an annual season ticket is that you avoid too many encounters with the surly station staff...