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    Category: Tourists/Travel

    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!)

    Leaving Your Luggage Baggage Behind

    | Kansas City, MO, USA | Bad Behavior, Tourists/Travel

    (I work at one location of the world’s largest retail chain. My department carries luggage, furniture, lamps, and photo frames. Although known for a lower-class clientele, my particular store was in an affluent suburb. A woman comes in and approaches for help with duffel bags.)

    Me: “I’ll be happy to help you with that. They are right over here with our luggage. Are you looking for any specific features?”

    Customer: “It’s going to be an airline carry on, so it can’t be too big, and I’ll need to carry it around a lot, so it has to ride well on my shoulder.”

    (I point out the bags that fit the carry on restrictions. There are six. She proceeds to take the paper and inflatable stuffing out of all six and walk up and down the aisle with each. Then she picks one.)

    Customer: “I’m going to take this one. Thank you.”

    (She looks down at the pile of trash she left littered up and down the aisle.)

    Customer: “Looks like you won’t be bored for a while.” *she leaves*

    The Poster Child For Unreasonableness, Part 2

    | USA | Crazy Requests, Family & Kids, Tourists/Travel

    (This customer has spent 10 minutes complaining about minor things from her recent cruise from the weather to the color of the carpet.)

    Customer: “Also, every night at dinner the unruly children we sat with would cry, whine, and pitch a fit. It wasn’t the upscale experience we expected and ruined our entire cruise.”

    Me: “I’m sorry to hear that. As you are traveling again this year, I can certainly have a bottle of wine sent to your room for the inconvenience.”

    Customer: “I hope you’ll do the same for my sister and her family. She always travels with us, so it would only be fair.

    Me: *pulls up reservation* “I see you were scheduled to sit with her and her three children on the last cruise. Did they not accommodate you to dine together?”

    Customer: “Oh, yes. We had a table of six.”

    Me: “… So the unruly children?”

    Customer: “Her bratty kids should never have been allowed in the dining room!”

    Related:
    The Poster Child For Unreasonableness

    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!)

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