Letter: Waterloo shops

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Bill Bryson's vision of corporate hypocrisy ("No service today, for your convenience", 15 November) may well be alive and well at Waterloo, which used to be a station but is now a shopping mall.

Apparently Railtrack asked us if we wanted our favourite shops and apparently we said, "Yes." So we can now visit more of the same boring chains which pervade shopping centres the length and breadth of the country.

This, together with encroaching seating areas from coffee and burger bars, means that the concourse is even more crowded than ever. This has not escaped the attention of the announcer who recently apologised for severe delays, shorter trains and the overcrowding on the concourse, where we were asked to remain pending further announcements.

They must have asked a statistically valid sample of commuters if they would be happy that it takes several hours to negotiate the concourse during rush hours and that from many vantage points it is impossible to see the indicator board. The answer must have been, "Yes, as long as I can buy a pair of knickers, a suitcase, a new watch and some marrow and sweetcorn anti-stress lotion."


Hampton, Middlesex