Passwords are not good for my blood pressure. Passwords and me don’t mix.  Invariably I have bad experiences with passwords.  I’d go so far as to say, I HATE passwords!  Most times I don’t even understand why a password is required.

Here are two recent examples.  I wanted to buy two advanced tickets for a trip to Oxford to visit friends.  Naturally (wait, is it natural?) I went online and to the Rail Journey Planner and found the perfect train (wait, is there such a thing a perfect train?).  I clicked on all the right things; two people, two senior rail cards and clicked ‘Buy’.  To my horror, before I could pay the rail company any money (my card was at the ready), which I expected them to be keen for me to do, I was asked for my email address,  Fair enough, they might want to send me a confirmatory email to say how pleased they were I had chosen to travel with them (despite there being no choice!) and to assure me that the train of my choice was being prepared, a driver scheduled, a platform selected and so on.

However, instead of any reassurances of this kind, I was asked to repeat my email address.  Why?  Presumably to see if I had remembered it in the few seconds that had elapsed?  Or a cunning plan to surreptitiously check for early signs of Alzheimer’s?  Anyway, I’m pleased to say that I passed this test.  Then, appalling news this, I was asked for my password.  I had no idea that I had ever given this rail company a password.  So, irritated but, as ever keen to cooperate, I invented a password.  It was ‘tktsoxford’ which I thought was (a) sufficiently passwordy (b) relevant and (c) perhaps even memorable (only perhaps).

Alarmingly, just as I was feeling triumphant and reaching joyously for my credit card, I was told that my password hadn’t been recognised.  At this point I lost patience (as you’ve gathered, when it comes to passports, I have a low patience threshold) and did what I should have done in the first place; went over to Waterloo Station (five minutes away) and bought the tickets from a real human being who calculated a significantly lower fare than I was going to be charged online.

The second example happened just a few minutes ago (writing this blog is therapeutic).  A 13 year old grandson, Sam, is saying for a couple of days and one of the adventures he has selected from a list of 10 possibilities is to go on a London Duck Tour.  No problem I thought I’ll go online and book two tickets in a flash, in fact important to do so to impress young Sam that I am computer literate.  But, as you are no doubt anticipating, I quickly ran into trouble.   This time the site refused point blank to believe my email address and/or to accept the on the spot password I invented; quackquack.

So, what did I do?  Yes, that’s right; I walked over the road and bought a ticket from a real human being – cheaper too because there was no booking charge.

My conclusion?  To hell with needless passwords!


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There is no such thing as a non-learner, only inappropriate learning opportunities.