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Perhaps Further Train-ing Is Required

, , , , , , , | Working | August 10, 2022

This is not my story, but that of a friend who was a computer engineer back in the 1990s. He was regularly shuttling from NYC (where he lived and generally worked) down to DC (where his company had a major client). They paid for travel. If I recall correctly, they were required to spring for First Class. He was paid something like $150 an hour at the time.

Normally, [Friend] flew, but one time, the weather went to heck and he had to take the train. He wound up in First Class on the Metroliner (high-speed train) with a nice dinner and drinks included. He liked it, so he opted to take the train the next time; it turned out that it was actually cheaper than a last-minute ticket flying from NYC to DC.

The client threw a fit, saying that their travel reimbursement system couldn’t handle train tickets and they really only dealt with the train the prior time because it was a weather emergency. He checked his contract and the following exchange ensued.

Friend: “So, you’re saying that you cannot reimburse me for the train tickets?”

Company: “That’s right. You’ll have to fly.”

Friend: “All right. In that case, if I have to fly, you can reimburse me for door-to-door travel time, which will be about three hours each way, if New York traffic cooperates.”

Company: “What?”

Friend: “Well, I’m entitled to travel time in our contract. If I have to fly, you can pay me for the travel time. Or, if you can reimburse my train tickets, I will happily waive that clause.”

Somehow, in the face of having to fork over an extra $900 per trip, their system was “suddenly” able to handle reimbursing train tickets.

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