Whatever you’re doing, Deutsche Bahn will be happy to screw it up

I managed to spontaneously get a doctor’s appointment today (spontaneous because, although I emailed him last week, the doctor only wrote back to me last night and I didn’t see the message til I was at work this morning), so I had to leave an hour early than I had intended to catch the train back to Karlsruhe.

For about 45 minutes, I kept an eye on the Deutsche Bahn website, watching my train arrive at and leave each stop along its route punctually. By the time I had to leave, the train was at the station before mine, but still on time and preparing to leave. So everything was hunky dory, or so I thought!

Arriving at the train station pretty early, I decided to treat myself to some chocolate before heading to the platform (don’t look at my like that, I know you would too!). Once on the platform, I saw that my train was displayed on the board with no extra messages. Woo hoo! 4:24 p.m. then arrived, the time the train was meant to arrive, but no train to be seen. Still, I wasn’t worried  this particular train hangs around for 8 minutes so it still had plenty of time to catch up. Down ticked the minutes, and still no train until finally, two miutes before it was supposed to leave, the display was suddenly updated. “Approximate delay 10 minutes”. Right, a 10 minute delay. That would leave me 20 minutes to get from Karlsruhe train station to the doctor’s surgery. It mightbe possible, if I could get a tram straight away. Hmm, dountful. Then the thought struck me that there was another train due to leave for Karlsruhe shortly after mine. Relief! I dashed off to the other platform with four minutes to spare only to find – have you guessed it yet? Yep, that one was also delayed. By ten minutes. So back to the original platform I went, where the delay had now gone up to 15 minutes. Chances of making it to the doctor’s on time with either train? Zero!

Zeitverschiebung
Zeitverschiebung (Photo credit: thosch66)

At 4:52 p.m., the train finally pulled in and, once everyone had taken their sweet time getting on, we were off! The announcer promised faithfully that we would arrive in Karlsruhe on platform 2 at 5:13 p.m. Actually, it was 5:17 when we got there. The door I was right next to was on the correct side of the train though. At least he got the platform right! I was at the front of the queue, so as soon as we pulled in I opened the door, leapt on to the platform and dashed down the escalator. Outside I saw a number 4 tram and literally ran over to it, hitting the open door button while said door was still a tiny bit open. The door did not open all the way. Instead, it closed completely and the tram waited a few seconds, while I pounded on the open button over and over, before driving off. Thanks tram driver! That was the point where I almost broke down in tears (I should probably mention that I had approximately 3 hours sleep last night and my head has been aching all day. I’m not always this pathetic… honest!). There were no more trams heading in that direction, so instead I got one going the other way, changed at Marktplatz (in the rain!) and finally made it to the doctor’s 7 minutes late – practically a capital crime in Germany (unless you’re Deutsche Bahn. From them, it’s expected!). Luckily the nice receptionist was on today, so instead of ebing shouted at I was told not to worry as the doctor was still in with a patient and instructed to take a seat in the waiting room And so, despite Deutsche Bahn’s best efforts, I was able to get my pill – which I had come for (yes, I am a sinner. Good job I’m not religious…) – and also my first ever flu vaccination, which hadn’t been part of the plan. But when the doctor said “Here’s your prescription and I’m going to give you the flu jab as well. It won’t cost you anything!” what could I do but agree? It’s actually the first injection I’ve had since we got given the meningitis injection in school (about 12 years ago) and, while the jab itself didn’t hurt, I’d forgotten about the after effects. My arm is currently sore! But at least I won’t get flu…

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8 thoughts on “Whatever you’re doing, Deutsche Bahn will be happy to screw it up

  1. Oh, I know what you are talking about. Deutsche Bahn made me miss DANIEL CRAIG on the Skyfall premiere!! My friend won tickets for that event and the bl**dy train was late—grrr.
    Glad you did not miss the appointment though, yeah, Germans can be quite special about punctuality, ha ha. I don’t know where this comes from but I have never seen nor heard of a place that is similar on that, have you?

    1. Haha, yes the punctuality thing is defintely German. Even the Austrians aren’t as bad! (They are pretty punctual but being late isn’t like the end of the world to them).

      Ooh, that sucks that you missed Daniel Craig. Grrr, Deutsche Bahn!! They are never late when it doesn’t matter!

  2. I’m glad you made it to your appointment! Whew! Wow, I haven’t had a terrible experience with DB. Then again I guess it’s also because I wasn’t going anywhere where I needed to be on time. LOL

    When I was there I keep forgetting to pull the door open. Whenever I got to the door first and wanted to get off or on, I would just stand in front of it like a dummy waiting for the door to automatically open (because it’s like that in Singapore). I remember feeling annoyed that the stupid door wouldn’t open and couldn’t believe they’d have such faulty doors in Germany. I crack myself up every time I think about that experience.

    1. My train is an ICE, so you press a button to open the door. I hate the ones you have to pull open! I always try to make someone go before me so I don’t make a fool of myself failing to actually open the door. Haha.

      My train is regularly 10-15 minutes late, but usually it’s not too much of a problem. I just wish they would tell you sooner so you might actually have a chance to go and get a different train!

      1. The worst situation is if you have to pull open the train from the INSIDE. i don’t remember how many times I a) embarrassed myself big times in front of other people, b) tried it and all my handbags (neatly prepared to step out the train without complications) fell down or c) tried so long that the people behind me went swearing and in fear the train will roll out the station before actually leaving the train!

  3. Can I “like” this a thousand times, just for the title alone? We’ve been pretty systemically disappointed with Deutsche Bahn. So much for that cultural punctuality we keep hearing about…

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