A tweet from UK rail operator Thameslink backfired spectaularly this week, after an attempt at humour resulted in high street retailer Poundland threatening to sue.
The incident comes after four million trains across Britain were rescheduled from Sunday in a shake-up designed to increase overall frequencies and reliability, resulting in cancelled trains and delays. Many services across the country suffered “Meltdown Monday” on 21 May when the new timetables came into force.
Thameslink’s Twitter team had put out a tweet comparing its own bad service to ‘Poundland cooking chocolate’.
The savage Twitter response from Poundland was to post a picture statement (to accommodate more than the allowed 240 characters) outlining why Thameslink should delete its offending tweet.
The social media spat started when a south east commuter called Kevin tweeted ThamesLink to complain about several trains being cancelled.
A social media spokesman for ThamesLink quickly replied: ‘Very sorry Kevin appreciate at the moment the service is less Ferrero Rocher and more Poundland cooking chocolate. We are working our best to help stabilise the service.’
As the tweet gained more attention Poundland spotted it and quickly released a scathing statement from its retail director Austin Cook, addressed to Charles Horton CEO of Thameslink, threatening to bring in lawyers if it wasn’t removed.
It read: ‘@TLRailUK ‘You’re off the rails’ #TLfail #Proundland.
— Poundland (@Poundland) May 30, 2018
The rail operator’s spokesman ‘Neil’ removed the tweet, adding: ‘Very sorry for using your name here. I have removed the offending tweet. Neil.
Very sorry team for using your name here. I have removed the offending Tweet. ^Neil
— Thameslink (@TLRailUK) May 30, 2018
Poundland’s tweet was widely praised across the social network, while Thameslink’s response was largely met with more anger from commuters who had suffered delays.