Work really is a pain for ticket seller

Updated: 2011-09-30 07:33

By Huang Zhiling (China Daily)

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Work really is a pain for ticket seller
Zhao Yuhua prepares change at the ticket office of the Chengdu North Railway Station. Each window in the office needs between 40,000 and 50,000 yuan ($6,250 and $7,800) worth of change a day. [Photo by Liu Yuanqi/for China Daily] 

CHENGDU - What Zhao Yuhua really wants is a shot in the back.

Make that several, like a good beating.

"There is something wrong with my back," said Zhao, who has worked as a ticket seller at the Chengdu North Railway Station in Sichuan province since 1993.

"Beating on the back is like massage."

And no time of year calls out more for a good hard massage than holiday season.

While on normal days she can sell about 1,200 tickets, that soars to as many as 3,000 as National Day approaches.

Such high demand for tickets keeps her at the booth for eight and a half hours a day (plus 40 minutes for lunch).

As a result of sitting for so many hours, all the ticket sellers have problems with their backs.

"Because of poor blood circulation, our legs are swollen when we return home," said Zhao, 39.

Most of them also suffer from throat problems because of the endless talking with buyers.

She has had two operations to have polyps removed from her vocal cords.

After her most recent operation last year, surgeons suggested she speak less and take a rest for seven to 10 days. But due to the lack of people in the ticket office, she had to resume work in three days.

Because there are now many ways to buy tickets, including online, the sellers are no longer surprised if the person who is first in a long queue cannot get a ticket.

"They may complain and curse with dirty words. In some extreme cases, they pour bottled water and spit inside the window. We always keep silent so that they can let off the steam and leave. The ticket office has a rule for us - never quarrel with a ticket buyer. If we disobey, we will be criticized and ordered to apologize to them," Zhao says.

Her husband Wang Qiang is a quality inspector for cargo transported by the railway in Chengdu. Her daughter Wang Yinnan, 16, is in high school.

As Zhao has no holidays, the family of three has never traveled together.

To make it up to her daughter, she cooks chicken soup - her daughter's favorite - when she has time.

"My daughter has lunch outside home. I want to offer her something delicious and nutritious," said the optimistic and always smiling Zhao.