On the tram back from lunch. In the corner seat was a bloke in a shirt and tie, carrying a folder. After a stop or two gazing out the window, he reached into his pocket and got out a 10x ticket and validated it, just as a gaggle of inspectors got on. (For out-of-towners, this is a sneaky manoevre designed to avoid paying a fare unless you think you’re about to get your ticket checked.)
A couple of stops later, someone who looked like a haggard old woman (but in fact turned out to be a haggard old man… at least I think) dressed in what could loosely be described as a collection of clothes, dragged from a cigarette, then dropped it and came up the steps and sat down. The smell of stale cigarette smoke emanated. The lady unfortunate enough to be sharing the seat squirmed a bit and shuffled over.
The inspectors nodded to each other. The bravest one stepped forward.
“Excuse me, you didn’t validate your ticket.”
“No, nobody does.” (Correct. Few people re-validate their ticket every time they travel. The first time is essential, it timestamps it. Subsequent re-validating, unless it’s a 10x ticket and needs a new timestamp, is largely pointless.)
The inspector then made gentle noises that he’d appreciate seeing a ticket validated or bought.
The reply was short and sharp. “Hey, I don’t go around without a ticket, you know!”
And with that, he (or she, I’m still not sure) stood up, took out a ticket and put it in the validator. EXPIRES: 09 MAY it reported back. Obviously a weekly or monthly ticket with plenty of time left on it. I don’t even think it double-beeped to signify it was a concession.
The inspectors looked surprised. I couldn’t help but smirk as I got off the tram.
You can’t judge a book by its cover.