A Different Kind Of Stockholm Syndrome

(I am taking a train from Stockholm to Malmö, a five-hour ride. About an hour after departure, a very upset middle-aged woman storms up to a conductor.)

Woman: “This is outrageous; you need to help us right now! I spoke to your colleague but he was completely useless and didn’t help us at all!”

Conductor #1: “How may I help you?”

Woman: “Well, you need to fix us somewhere to sit. Apparently our seats were double-booked and your colleague got us other seats but not together. I refuse to sit there. I want to sit with my family in the seats we booked.”

(The woman goes on complaining for about ten minutes, while the conductor tries to find her family other seats, only to be yelled at when those aren’t acceptable. The woman does not want to sit near other children, she does not want to sit too far from the bistro, and she does not want to ride backwards, etc. After a while, another conductor comes up to them and tries to solve the situation.)

Conductor #2: “Sorry. I will try to fix this for you, but there are no more available seats than the ones you have already been offered.”

Woman: “Well, this is just unacceptable; I can’t believe you let the other people have our seats just because they got here first, when CLEARLY they cheated somehow to manage to book the seats I had already booked!”

Conductor #1: “But you did say they offered to move?”

Woman: “Well, yes, they… two of them did offer to move but then the seats they moved to also turned out to be booked, and the people who had booked them got on at the last stop, so now it is still a problem. I AM going to complain to your company and I WILL get compensation for this, and I WILL get you fired too for being this unhelpful!”

Conductor #2: “May I see your ticket, so that I can see which seats you had originally booked?”

(The woman hands her a sheet of paper.)

Conductor #2: “No, not your return ticket to Stockholm, I need to see the ticket for this journey.”

Woman: “What do you mean? This is the ticket for this journey, to Stockholm.”

Conductor #2: “This is the train from Stockholm. We are southbound. If you are going to Stockholm, you are on the wrong train.”

Woman: “…oh. Well, this train showed up first. How was I supposed to know?”

(She was very quiet for the rest of her journey, and she and her family left the train at the next stop to find a train heading for Stockholm.)

-> A Different Kind Of Stockholm Syndrome

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