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    Category: Tourists/Travel

    Bus Fuss

    | Wales, UK | Extra Stupid, Tourists/Travel, Transportation

    (I work in a train station ticket office which has two main entrances: one directly from the platform and one from the street. There is no pavement outside the street entrance and the door opens straight onto the bus stop. The pavement is a good 20 feet away in any given direction.)

    Customer: *walks in through street entrance* “Hiya. Where’s the bus stop?”

    Me: “You actually walked over it. It’s just outside the doors there.”

    Customer: *heads for platform doors*

    Me: “Sir, stop! I meant the street doors. You know, the ones you entered through?”

    (The customer stops, pauses, looks at me, looks at street doors, looks at platform doors, starts again towards platform doors.)

    Me: “Sir, NOT THOSE DOORS! You need to turn around and walk back out the way you came in.”

    Customer: “The way I came in?” *turns to face the street entrance*

    Me: *encouragingly* “Yes, sir. Those doors right ahead!”

    (The customer does another 180° and starts off AGAIN for the platform.)

    Me: “Sir, please wait right there. I’ll lock up my booth and come show you.”

    Customer: “Sorry, thanks. It’s not very obvious.”

    (I quickly lock up my booth and come around to help the customer. I lead him physically by the arm outside. I only stop him when his feet are on the ‘B’ of ‘BUS STOP’ which is painted in four-foot-high letters on the floor).

    Me: “There you go, sir. Now, can you read the floor by your feet?”

    Customer: *looks* “Bus stop?”

    Me: Yep. So all you gotta do is wait here until one shows up!”

    Customer: *incredulously* “Do the buses come to here?”

    Me: “They do at that, sir.”

    Customer: *looks painfully unsure* “So this is the bus stop?”

    Me: “Yes indeed, sir. It is.” *checks timetable* “The next bus is to [Town] at 13:54, about two minutes from now.”

    (I ended up waiting at the bus stop with him until the bus came. He was a repeat visitor for about a month, during which time I learned that his car was broken and he was using trains and buses in the interim, and that in all his 32 years he’d never once used a public bus! He worked as a teaching assistant in a nearby primary school – I fear for our nation’s children!)

    Timeshare Beware

    | HI, USA | Bad Behavior, Spouses & Partners, Tourists/Travel

    (My wife and I are forced to sit in a timeshare presentation as part of our reduced cost stay at a resort. We had already decided it would be crazy for us to buy a timeshare as we have not yet even bought our own house.)

    Salesman: “So, can you tell us your personal priorities?”

    (My wife, who is an Ivy-League educated lawyer who works in not-for-profit human rights law, speaks up.)

    My Wife: “Money… Power! RESPECT!”

    (The salesman looks surprised while I turn to my wife:)

    Me: “Well, I guess I didn’t know we had such different priorities… for me it i about the little things… blunts, bling, and b****es!”

    (They really hated us.)

    Will Need To Take A Different Beirut

    | Knoxville TN, USA | Geography, Tourists/Travel, Transportation

    (It is the late 1990s. A couple walk in. She is obviously Jewish, he not-so-much. As it turns out, he is a Lebanese Druze.)

    Female Customer: “We’d like airline tickets flying into Tel Aviv and back from Beirut.”

    Me: “Okay, let’s see what we can find.” *types into the computer* “Meanwhile, how will you get from Tel Aviv to Beirut?”

    Female Customer: “Oh, we plan to rent a car and drive.”

    Me: “I don’t think we’ll be able to find a rental car for that.”

    Male Customer: “Why not?”

    Me: “Well, right now the Israeli-Lebanese border is a war zone.”

    Pales In Comparison To Wales

    | Wales, UK | Geography, Language & Words, Tourists/Travel

    (I work in a tourist information centre in a Welsh town. As well as its regular Welsh town name, the town has an anglicised version since it is a popular seaside destination for a large swathe of people from central England. The anglicised name sounds similar to another popular seaside resort that actually IS in England, but it’s a good 350+ miles away from us.)

    Me: “Bore da, Canolfan Groeso [Welsh town]. Sut gallai helpu chi? Good morning, tourist information [Anglicised name of Welsh town]. How may I help you?”

    Caller: “Yeah. I want sailing times for the ferries to the [island near the English town].”

    Me: “I’m afraid I don’t have that information to hand, sir. I can either give you the phone number for [English Town]‘s tourist services or I can pop you on hold whilst I look it up.”

    Caller: “But people sail from [town not far from English town] all the time. Why haven’t you got it to hand? I could look it up on the Internet myself!”

    Me: “We are [Welsh town], 350+ miles from [English town]. We tend to only provide information for [Welsh town] and the surrounding county.”

    Caller: “I don’t understand.”

    Me: “You’ve called Wales, sir. The services you want are in England.”

    Caller: “Wales?”

    Me: “Yep, Wales.”

    Caller: “So you’re not [English town]?”

    Me: “Nope, we’re [Welsh town].”

    Caller: “Well, what’s the point of that? Why would you do that?”

    Me: “Erm, I’m really sorry but I don’t follow?”

    Caller: “Why would you be in Wales?”

    Driving A Hard Bargain

    | Chennai, India | Hotels & Lodging, Language & Words, Tourists/Travel

    (I am standing in line at the travel desk of a very nice hotel in Chennai. Just ahead of me is a guest with an accent from somewhere in Britain, but I cannot place it. He is being very abusive toward the young man at the desk.)

    Guest: “I’m not paying your rates for a car. I’m going to hire an auto outside the hotel. You people are thieves”

    Desk Clerk: “Certainly, sir, but how may I help you?”

    Guest: “Write this address down. Write it down in Hindi. I’ll hand it to a driver. I’m not paying you.”

    Desk Clerk: “Yes, sir.”

    (I watch him write down the address from English to Hindi.)

    Me: “I must compliment you. He was very rude and you handled it well.”

    Desk Clerk: “Just doing my job, sir. Thank you.”

    Me: “You did just what he asked…”

    Desk Clerk: *looks up smiling slightly*

    Me:“You wrote it down in Hindi. The local language is Tamil… and what are his chances of finding a literate ‘auto’ driver out there, anyway?”

    Desk Clerk: *smiling broadly* “You have been here before, sir!”

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