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    Category: Tourists/Travel

    Never Listened In Or Outside Church

    | London, England, UK | History, Tourists/Travel

    (I work as a tour guide on an open top bus tour around London. My job is to tell tourists about the history of the city, and the landmarks that we pass.)

    Me: “… and as we continue along Fleet Street we’ll see one of the great landmarks of London coming into view, the wonderful dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral. St. Paul’s Cathedral is our next stop. St. Paul’s Cathedral was built after the great fire of London of 1666. St. Paul’s Cathedral stands 365 feet from the ground to the tip of the golden cross at the top of the dome, one foot for every day of the year.”

    Lady On The Bus: “What’s this building here?”

    Me: *pointing at St. Paul’s Cathedral* “This one?”

    Lady On The Bus: “Yes.”

    Me: *sighing* “The Sealife Aquarium.”

    Lady On The Bus: “The Sealife Aquarium?”

    Me: *shrugging* “Yeah, why not?”

    Lady On The Bus: “Thank you.”

    (She writes ‘Sealife Aquarium’ carefully on the bus tour map, next to the little picture of ST PAUL’S CATHEDRAL, underneath the words ST PAUL’S CATHEDRAL that are printed next to it.)

    Me: “Pleasure. Welcome aboard those joining us here at St. Paul’s Cathedral…”

    That Reasoning Doesn’t Fly

    | Boston, MA, USA | At The Checkout, Food & Drink, Tourists/Travel, Transportation

    (I work in a duty free shop and a customer wanting to buy a bottle of cognac comes to my register. All is well until I ask for his boarding pass.)

    Me: “All right, sir, may I see your boarding pass?”

    Customer #1: “No.”

    Me: “Then you can’t buy this cognac.”

    Customer #1: “Why not?”

    Me: “Alcohol is a customs bonded item, and as such can only be bought by people leaving the country directly from this point. I need to see your boarding pass so I can make sure you are doing so.”

    Customer #1: “But I am French.”

    Me: “That does not mean you are leaving the country.”

    Customer #1: “But this is an international airport.”

    Me: “Domestic flights go out of this airport regularly.”

    Customer #1: “Well, I won’t show you my boarding pass.”

    Me: “Than you can’t buy the cognac.”

    Customer #1: “But I want to.”

    Me: “Then I need to see your boarding pass.”

    Customer #1: “NO!”

    (This goes on for five minutes and the customer leaves in a huff without his cognac. The lady behind him comes up toting a five pound bag of pretzel M&Ms, which, like all candy, is not bonded.)

    Customer #2: “Um, I’m on a domestic flight to Phoenix. Can I buy these M&Ms?”

    Me: “Sure. Candy isn’t bonded.”

    Customer #2: “Okay.” *looks at the cognac* “After that last guy you might need some of that yourself.”

    You’re Not In Kansas Anymore

    , | San Antonio, TX, USA | Bigotry, Crazy Requests, Tourists/Travel

    (I work as a supervisor taking calls. In my center, I have the highest authority on the phones. My name is common in Spain, Greece, and India.)

    Coworker: “I don’t know what this customer wants. She requested a supervisor, got me, and said I wasn’t good enough to handle the problem.”

    Me: “Okay, send her through.” *transfers* “Hello, ma’am. My name is [My Name]. I’m the supervisor on duty, and would like to know how I can help.”

    Customer: “I want to talk to your supervisor.”

    Me: “I apologize. I’m unable to transfer you to anyone else. I am the top tier of support. How may I help you?”

    Customer: “I don’t want to talk to you. I want to talk to someone in the United States.”

    Me: “We only have call centers in the continental US. I’m located in Texas, and am waiting to know how I can assist with what you were calling about.”

    Customer: “Don’t lie to me. I am from India. You sound like me. You’re from India and the law says if I ask to speak with someone in the US that you have to transfer me.”

    Me: “Ma’am, I have never heard of such a law. I’m physically unable to transfer you to anyone else, and have been patiently waiting to know how to assist you. Please let me help you with the reason you called, or I will have to end this call.”

    Customer: “Transfer me to who I was speaking with before.”

    Me: “Ma’am, as I said before, I can not transfer you anywhere else. Now, either tell me what I can do to help, or you can call back if you no longer wish to speak with me, as I can’t transfer you. Fair warning, though. We currently have a 30 minute hold time.”

    Customer: “I would like to know what time I leave tomorrow.”

    Me: “You depart at 0430, and land at 0625. What is your next request?”

    Customer: “That was all.” *click*

    (Exhausted with dealing with the caller, I look over to the only other person who has the same level of authority that I do.)

    Colleague: “Aren’t you the one who everyone always confuses with the recorded message because you have such a generic sounding accent?”

    This Customer Is A Train-Wreck

    | Wales, UK | Bad Behavior, Family & Kids, Technology, Tourists/Travel

    (A woman comes in with her daughter.)

    Customer: “Hi, I’d like to collect some pre-booked tickets.”

    Me: “Sure! Have you got the booking reference printout?”

    Customer: “No.”

    Me: “Oh, well, never mind! If you have it written down in another format or maybe saved in your phone, I should still be able to find it.”

    Customer: “No. I don’t have it. The girl who served me last time didn’t ask for it. I just put my card in the machine.”

    Me: “I’m sure you must have misunderstood. We cannot issue tickets without some type of secondary reference. Do you know the postcode associated with the billing address, and could I have your surname?”

    Customer: “I don’t see why I need to give you those details. Look, I just want to print my daughter’s tickets and go back to work. You’re costing me money here.”

    Me: “I’m sorry, but unless you can give me more details such as name, postcode, and destination, I can’t print your tickets. Look—” *swivels computer screen so the customer can see* “—here are the search fields I have for when there is no collection reference number available. Unless I can fill in two of these, I cannot print your tickets.”

    Customer: *turning to daughter* “WHY DIDN’T YOU SAVE THE REFERENCE NUMBER?”

    Customer’s Daughter: “Sorry, mum, you said I shouldn’t waste paper and the ticket people didn’t need it.”

    Customer: “Well, clearly they do. YOU’RE ALL COSTING ME MONEY HERE!”

    Me: “I’m sorry, but one of the terms is that you provide a reference for collection. Could you please let me try and help you with some of your other details?”

    Customer: *snappily* “FINE! It’s [Surname] and [postcode].”

    Me: “I’m sorry; nothing’s come up.” *shifts screen around again so she can see* “See? Could you have used a different postcode?”

    Customer: “No. Look, this really isn’t good enough. Why won’t the destination work on its own?”

    Me: “I’m sorry, but hundreds of people travel every day from [Our Station] to [Major London Station]. I’m just thinking: whose email did you put in? Since it’s quiet in here, I could let you around the back to use one of the staff computers to log in and find me the reference number. I should tell you though, that this is against company policy and that I am doing this at my own risk. I could face disciplinary action.”

    Customer: “It’s [Daughter]’s email. Can she just do it? Can I go? I need to get back to work.”

    Me: “If yours was the payment card, then I am afraid you will need to wait until your daughter has accessed her emails since the reference number is useless without the payment card and vice versa.”

    Customer: “Fine. [Daughter], go in the back with this idiot and see if you can’t find this bleeding reference number between your half-a-brain-cell each.”

    (The daughter nips around to my side of the booth, accesses her email, and within 30 seconds I have the tickets up. The woman inserts her card and collects her tickets, and before she leaves decides to have one more dig at me for how slow I was to get her tickets up on the system.)

    Me: “I’m sorry it took so long to resolve your issue, but perhaps next time you might consider writing the reference number down? You needn’t print it; in fact [Train Company] offers to send a free SMS containing the details to your phone. It would save an awful lot of problems.”

    Customer: “Or, you know, they could just hire competent staff who don’t need reference numbers!” *to Daughter* “Look at all the money you’ve cost me! I’m selling your Xbox when I get home!”

    (She stormed out. Fortunately I haven’t seen her since, although the daughter stopped by on her return journey to thank me for helping her.)

    Dead On Arrival

    | San Jose, CA, USA | Tourists/Travel, Transportation, Wild & Unruly

    (My husband and I are flying on a late Friday evening flight on a major air carrier and have just pushed back from the gate when the plane stops. We sit for less than five minutes when the pilot comes on the intercom and announces that we would be delayed slightly.)

    Pilot: “I thought I saw something odd with one of our engines as we started to pull out. It’s probably nothing, but we want to check it to make sure. It will be just a few minutes, folks.”

    (At this point, the passenger behind us, who is dressed in a business suit, starts making comments.)

    Passenger: “I hate this f****** airline! I’ve been late twice in the past few months, and they can’t ever get their act together. Now we’re going to be late again. They need to get this f****** show on the road!”

    (Less than ten minutes go by, with the passenger behind us swearing and commenting loudly and rudely to the man next to him, as well as calling a couple of people on his cell phone and roundly abusing the airline in very foul-mouthed language. Then the pilot comes on the com again.)

    Pilot: “Folks, we’re spraying gas from our number two engine, and I’ve called the mechanic to come look at it and see if it’s serious, or is something that can be fixed. I’m afraid there will be about a half hour delay while we determine what’s going on with the engine.”

    (At this point, the obnoxious passenger behind us calls one of the flight attendants over and starts ranting.)

    Passenger: “Your f****** airline is such a piece of s***! I’ve been working hard for two days and I need to get home to my wife, and now this f****** flight is delayed! My time is valuable, you know!”

    Attendant: “I’m very sorry, sir. We prefer to be safe, and hopefully it will be something that is easy to fix.”

    Passenger: “Yeah, always excuses! You people are such a bunch of f***-ups. My wife is going to be livid when she finds out we’re delayed! Get that f****** mechanic out there now, and get this plane moving! That f****** pilot is making me late! I’ve got places to be!”

    Attendant: “Everyone on this plane has somewhere to be, sir. I daresay that the pilot would like nothing better than to be done with this flight and getting to bed. I and the rest of the crew would like to be getting through with this flight and going off to bed, as well. I’m going to be late going home to my own family.”

    Passenger: “I’m an important businessman, and I need to get home! Your screw-up is what’s the problem, and I’m going to file a complaint against this f****** airline! Who cares about you, anyway? You’re just a bunch of pathetic losers who work for a f***-up airline. I’m never going to fly with your f****** airline again, because I won’t get in until after midnight at this rate! Thanks for screwing up the start of my weekend, a**hole! You can take your f****** airline and shove it!”

    (My husband, at this point, has had enough, and stands up to glower down at the obnoxious businessman. I’ve rarely seen him angry, but when he finally reaches that point, he can be intimidating.)

    Husband: “Look, this airplane has a mechanical problem, and the crew are doing everything they can to resolve it. Stop acting like an a-hole to the attendant, because he’s in the same boat we all are. And I’m SICK of listening to you whine and swear about how you’re going to be late. Fine, we’re all going to be late. I would rather be late landing in our destination than end up DEAD wherever we land when the PLANE FALLS OUT OF THE SKY when the ENGINE SELF-DESTRUCTS! GOT IT? Good!”

    (The attendant smiled and a couple other passengers flashed a thumbs-up at my husband. The obnoxious passenger got very quiet from there on out. The engine turned out to have a serious problem. We exited the plane shortly after the mechanic took a look at the engine, and the airline found us another aircraft. We were several hours late, but we didn’t hear from the obnoxious guy again, because my husband was right. Better to arrive in the middle of the night than not arrive at all!)

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