October Theme Of The Month: Halloween!

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!”