London Underground commuters have proven that the ‘grumpy’ stereotype is still well and truly alive, by taking issue with a new incentive that encourages strangers to talk to each other.
‘Tube chat’ badges were released on Wednesday, inviting commuters to don them on their jackets and talk to others doing the same on public transport.
”Wear the badge to let others know you’re interested. You’ll benefit from a daily chat,” a promotion read.
The badges use Transport for London branding, but a spokesperson from the authority confirmed to The Huffington Post UK: “This is not anything that we’ve been involved in.” They appear to be the work of filmmaker Leo Leigh and and artist Toby Leigh, the two sons of Mike Leigh and Alison Steadman.
Typically, though, London commuters were having none of the friendly approach, and took to social media to bemoan having to engage any more with those they stand shoulder-to-shoulder with in a packed metal can.
Some even had their own inventive suggestions for other badges TfL could release to counter chat invitations.
A social media user even discovered that Googling ‘Tube Chat’ threw up some interesting search results.
While another claimed he had met the creator of ‘Tube Chat’, claiming that when he heard of it in 2004, the initiative was just an art project. “Today, it has triggered an uprising,” he said.
But the badges may do some good, as one traveller revealed. Ryan Love said there were “many times” he would have broken into tears on the Underground had it not been for the kind support and conversation of strangers.
But on the down side, the badges might also encourage men who enjoy trying to talk to women wearing headphones.