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    Category: Tourists/Travel

    Lost On The Train And In Translation

    | England, UK | Language & Words, Tourists/Travel, Transportation

    (I work in the ticket office at a train station. One night a customer with very poor English comes up to me.)

    Customer: “Cawidge.”

    Me: “I’m sorry, where are you headed?”

    Customer: “Cawidge.”

    Me: “Cambridge?”

    Customer: “No, I go Cawidge.”

    Me: “Can you write that for me?” *I hand him a piece of paper and a pen.*

    Customer: *shouts something in a foreign language to someone on the other side of the station, who comes running up.*

    Customer’s Friend: “He go Cawidge.”

    Me: “Yes, can you write that for me please?”

    Customer’s Friend: “Uh… Cawidge. Brummum?”

    Me: “Birmingham?”

    Customer’s Friend: *excitedly* “Yeah, yeah! Brummum! Brummum Cawidge!”

    *it suddenly clicks*

    Me: “Oh, University of Birmingham?”

    Customer: “Yeah, cawidge!”

    Me: “Sure, that’ll be [price]. In future though, don’t ask for the College, ask for University of Birmingham. Okay?”

    Customer: “Yew… nee… verse… Brummum!”

    Me: “… Yeah, that’ll do.”

    Doesn’t Have The Laws Of Physics In The Bag

    | Dallas, TX, USA | Extra Stupid, Tourists/Travel, Transportation

    (I am getting in line at security in the airport. In front of me is a middle-aged lady reading the sign stating that the TSA does not allow any bottles of liquid larger than three ounces through security. Underneath the sign is a box of quart-sized plastic bags. She has a plastic bag in one hand and a large drink bottle in the other hand. I watch her look between the plastic bag and the large bottle. She puts the large bottle in the quart sized plastic bag so that over half of it is sticking out and puts the whole thing into her backpack. My travel instincts kick in and quickly walk to get ahead of her in the security line. Sure enough, as I am packing my stuff up outside of security I hear her screaming.)

    Lady: “But it’s in the bag! It should be fine! I put it in the bag.”

    TSA Agent: “Ma’am, it doesn’t work that way!”

    Lady: “I PUT IT IN THE BAG!”

    (Apparently in her mind a quart sized plastic bag makes a 16 ounce drink magically become less than three ounces!)

    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?”

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