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  • Category: Tourists/Travel

    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!”

    Unable To Think Independently

    | Ireland | Geography, History, Tourists/Travel

    (Years ago, I worked in an Internet cafe. We have an American tourist come in and check his email. His email doesn’t have a traditional webmail service. You have to connect through a special program and chose your location.)

    Customer: “I can’t connect. It’s not showing my mail.”

    Me: “I see what it is. You chose to use the UK access number.”

    Customer: “But I’m in the UK.”

    Me: “No, this is Ireland.”

    Customer: “But Ireland is part of the UK.”

    Me: “No, only the north is.”

    Customer: “But you all speak English.”

    Me: “Yes, but we are still a different country. It’s listed under the Republic of Ireland in the drop down menu.”

    Customer: “But that is part of the UK. People here are British right?”

    Me: “No. In America you had a war of independence in 1775 right?”

    Customer: “Yes.”

    Me: “So did we, in 1921. If we’re British, so are you.”

    You’re Through To The Fee Line

    | Scottsdale, AZ, USA | Bizarre, Pets & Animals, Tourists/Travel, Transportation

    (I do quality assurance for a travel agency. My job is to monitor the calls to make sure that the agents are being honest with the members. One day, I’m listening to a member asking questions about booking a cruise. Most of them are pretty standard, and then I hear this:)

    Agent: “Now that I have your cruise all booked for you, do you have any other questions for me?”

    Member: “Just one, and it’s very important. Does my cat need a passport?”

    Agent: “Ummm…”

    Attraction Detraction

    | Germany | Crazy Requests, Hotels & Lodging, Tourists/Travel

    (Our hotel is located in a nature park. In November, there are not many tourists around, since the weather tends not to be very good for hiking in the forest – the prime reason for coming here. Many tourism related businesses close this time of year. We are open for one more week before closing ourselves. We have an attractive ‘stay three nights, pay two’ offer. I am talking to a guest at checkout)

    Guest: “We really enjoyed our stay, but we were disappointed that most of the tourist attractions in the area were closed.”

    Me: “Yeah. This is the last week for us, too, before we close.”

    Guest: “Had I known that everything was closed, I would not have come here. Why is your hotel open when everything else is closed?”

    Me: “We do not know why our customers are here. What if you needed to go to a funeral or were here on business and you could not book any hotel because they were all closed? And is the special offer perhaps an indication that it could be low season?”

    Guest: “You should not be open. Next year you HAVE to close the same date as the other businesses. It is not fair that you stay open longer, and tricking customers in coming to stay with you!”

    Me: *speechless*

    A Truly Confusing Exchange

    | USA | Extra Stupid, Money, Technology, Tourists/Travel

    (I have a customer who is getting ready to travel out of the country. I often have people ask about using cash, travelers checks, and credit cards while abroad.)

    Me: “… Another option that is available to you is using ATMs to get cash out once you are where you are going. That way you aren’t walking around and traveling with a large sum of cash.”

    Customer: “Yeah, I can get some money and exchange it at a bank there.”

    Me: “No, you can just get the money from the ATM directly without having to

    exchange it.”

    Customer: “But the money I get from the ATM is US dollar.”

    Me: “No, the ATM dispenses the local currency.”

    Customer: “Why can’t I get money from an ATM when I’m out of the country?”

    Me: “You can. It will just be in the local currency.”

    Customer: “This is unacceptable! Why can’t I get US money from an ATM?!”

    Me: “Because the ATM is not in the US. The same reason our ATM out front does not dispense any money other than US currency.”

    Customer: “I just can’t understand why I can’t get my money when I’m traveling!”

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