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  • Category: Tourists/Travel

    Trying To Encourage Independent Thought

    | Paradise Island, The Bahamas | Holidays, Tourists/Travel

    (I’m decorating our storefront for Independence Day, which is July 10th. In 1973 we gained independence from Britain, though we are still part of the British Commonwealth. The glass doors are decorated with American colours for July 4th and the whole front of the store is decorated with Bahamian colours for July 10th. An American tourist walks up with her husband.)

    Tourist: “Miss! You’ve got the date wrong, and why are you using those colours?”

    Me: “Oh, yes, ma’am. Bahamian Independence Day is the 10th. These are the colours of the Bahamian flag. I’ve decorated the front door with red, white, and blue for Americans like yourself!”

    Tourist: *looks puzzled for a moment* “But Independence Day is on the 4th…”

    Me: “Yes ma’am, in the US it is, but here it’s the 10th.”

    Tourist: “But it’s July…”

    Me: “Yes, ma’am. A strange coincidence that they are both in July, isn’t it?”

    Tourist: *finally looking resolved* “No! This isn’t right; you should have the right date and colours like every other state, even if you’re on an island!”

    Me: “But we aren’t a state… We aren’t even part of your countr—”

    Tourist: “State, member, province, whatever, that is no excuse to act un-American! Darn islanders…” *she walks off as her husband glares at me over his shoulder*

    Broken Eastern Promises

    | Hay, AB, Canada | Extra Stupid, Geography, Tourists/Travel

    (There is a smaller highway that ends in the city, and another one that starts. I work at a gas station between the two so we get a lot of people driving through.)

    Customer: “Excuse me, but how do I get back on Highway #3?”

    Me: *gives directions*

    Customer: “No. I mean the other way. We just came from [City Two Hours Away].*

    Me: “No, that’s the only way. Highway #3 ends here. Did you want Highway #41?”

    Customer: “I don’t think so. I’m headed to [Destination].”

    (My dad has just walked in to pick me up from work.)

    Me: “And you said you came from [City Two Hours Away]?”

    Customer: “Yes. Why, what’s wrong?”

    (I’m speechless at this point, but my dad helps her, and the owner confirms what he says.)

    Dad: “You turned the wrong way. You have to head back; you just lost about seven hours driving time…”

    (What should have been two hours turned into more than seven hours driving and an overnight stay. Guess they didn’t know when the sun is setting BEHIND you, you aren’t traveling west…)

    The Currency Of Understanding

    , | Germany | Bizarre, Money, Tourists/Travel

    (The year is 2010. The euro has been introduced as a common currency throughout Europe in 2002. An elderly lady approaches me, picks some items, and wants to pay.)

    Me: “That is 28.50.”

    Elderly Lady: “Oh, so little? Are you sure?”

    (I notice her picking out some old Austrian schillings from her purse.)

    Me: “I’m sorry. ma’am. You can’t pay with those here; this is outdated currency.”

    Elderly Lady: “No, no! I have always paid with them!” *picks out some more* “Look, I have money!”

    Me: “Lady, I’m sure you have enough, but… I simply cannot accept Austrian schillings. We have the EURO.”

    Elderly Lady: “Yes, yes, I understand. You want deutschmarks? I don’t have any deutschmarks. Schillings, you take?”

    Me: *suddenly understanding* “Yes, ma’am. That would be… 280 schillings, please.”

    (I pack her things, she hands me 250 old Austrian schillings, but I go with it. She seems to have disappeared with her travel group, when a younger lady, also speaking Austrian dialect, turns up.)

    Younger Lady: “Hey, there. Did my grandmother bother you?”

    Me: “What grandmother? Do you mean…”

    Younger Lady: “Yeah, my granny. Did she try to pay with schillings?”

    Me: “In fact, she did. And I sold her something.”

    Younger Lady: “Well, you shouldn’t have sold her anything. What’s her bill?”

    Me: “28.50; but as I said, she already paid. I took her schillings. Maybe I can exchange them for something.”

    Younger Lady: “No! Give them back to me. She’ll be mad about not having them! How much did you say?”

    Me: “€28.50.”

    Younger Lady: *hands me over two 20 Euro bills* “Keep it, for goodness’ sake!”

    Me: “No way, ma’am. That’s far too much.”

    Younger Lady: “Well, then give me 10 back.”

    Me: “Fair enough; thank you.”

    (The rest of the day, I wondered why my supply of ‘free’ coffee and food worked so fine. Later on, I realized that the young lady had left some money at every booth near mine because I was so friendly to her grandmother, who suffered from Alzheimer’s, which I didn’t realize immediately. Thank you, ladies, you were amazing!)

    In A Muddle Over The Mobble

    | Wales | Extra Stupid, Funny Names, Language & Words, Tourists/Travel

    (Most of our visitors are from England, and although we’re familiar with the ‘tourist’ pronunciations of a lot of town names, sometimes they manage to pronounce something so crazy that we have to ask them to spell it, which for us, usually spells trouble…)

    Customer: *a smartly-dressed older lady* “Hi. I want to get to Mobblegarnith.”

    Me: “Mobblegarnith? I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of it. Did you perhaps mean [Town Name In Cheshire]? It’s a good two-and-a-half hours from here.”

    Customer: “It must be near here; I think we passed a sign for it on our way in.”

    Me: “Well, the nearest town to here that begins with ‘M’ is [Town Name].”

    Customer: “No. Not there.”

    Me: “Well, how about [another nearby town name that begins with 'M']?”

    Customer: “No. Not there either.”

    Me: “What about [town that doesn't begin with 'M' but roughly rhymes with the 'garnith' part]?”

    Customer: “No, no, NO, stupid! It’s not there. It’s Mobblegarnith!” *slowly and louder* “MOBBLE. GARNITH!”

    Me: “I’m ever so sorry, but could you spell it for me? Or perhaps tell me a name of another town you passed by where you saw the signs?”

    Customer: “Oh for crying out loud. M. A. C. H. Y—”

    Me: “Oh! You mean Machynlleth?! That’s a good hour from us, and it’s back the way you came from [Their Hometown].”

    Customer: “Yes, finally! Mobblegarnith. I don’t get why you Welsh people have to pronounce it differently just to wind us English up. It’s CLEARLY Mobblegarnith.”

    Me: “I assure you it’s not deliberate. The Welsh alphabet is just a tiny bit bigger than the English one. We actually have 28 letters versus your 26, so we have to combine some of the letters in the alphabet to finish making up our alphabet. The pronunciations are all right once you get used to them, though.”

    Customer: “Don’t lecture me, young lady! Your alphabet is nothing more than silly lies; if you’d been properly educated you’d know how to pronounce all these places. Now, could you please, very kindly, if it is not too much trouble, tell me how to get to Mobblegarnith?”

    Me: “Right, okay. I can print you some map directions if you like?”

    Customer: *sarcastically* “Thank you, you are most kind.”

    Me: *prints maps and hands them to customer* “Here you go! Road directions to Machynlleth. Since you had such trouble getting here, I’ll waive the printing fee.”

    Customer: “For goodness’ sakes, girl, say it PROPERLY.”

    Me: *dying a bit inside* “I hope you have a safe journey to Mobblegarnith.”

    Customer: *gives a satisfied nod, and turns on her heels to leave*

    Emotional Blackmail Was Worth A Shot

    | Townsend, TN, USA | Crazy Requests, Health & Body, Pets & Animals, Tourists/Travel

    (I own a kennel which provides both boarding & grooming services. I answer the phone:)

    Me: “Good morning, [Kennel]. May I help you?”

    Caller: “I need to board my dog. We’re here on vacation.”

    Me: “Very good. What dates would you like to board your dog?”

    Caller: “We need to bring her in today. We wanna go to Dollywood!”

    Me: “We do have space for her, but we require proof of vaccinations: rabies, the distemper shot, which includes several other vaccines in it, and also bordetella, which is kennel cough.”

    Caller: “WHAT?! We don’t have that with us! You HAVE to take our dog!”

    Me: “I’m so sorry, but we’re required by law that every dog has to have current vaccinations. It protects not only your dog, but all the other dogs here as well. You could have your vet call us and confirm that your dog is protected. If you don’t have a vet, I can give you the number of several veterinary practices near you, and they can administer the needed shots today.”

    Caller: “NO! You WILL take our dog! You don’t want to make my children cry!”

    (I can then hear the woman talking to her family:)

    Caller: “This mean woman just told me that she won’t let you go to Dollywood! She’s going to ruin our vacation!”

    (I can then hear wailing (as if on cue) from several children.)

    Caller: “Now look what you’ve done! You made my children cry! I hope that makes you happy! Now are you going to take our dog or are you going to ruin our vacation?!”

    Me: I’m sorry, but without proof of vaccinations, I can’t take your dog.”

    Caller: “Well f*** you! You ruined our vacation!” *hangs up*

    Me: Well, all righty then!

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