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    That’s What You Get For Choo-Choo-ing Me Out

    | Coventry, UK | Top, Tourists/Travel

    (I work as a maintenance man for the top railway maintenance company in the UK. I’m maintaining buttons on the station platforms—important buttons that station staff use to let the signalman know the train is boarded and ready to leave. I must also add that to test these buttons, we need a train to be present.)

    Customer: “Excuse me lad, can you tell me when the next train to Euston is, please?”

    Me: *looking up at information boards* “I can see that it is due any minute now. Should you need any more help, you can just refer to the digital screens above you.”

    Customer: “Don’t lie to me!”

    Me: “E-Excuse me?”

    Customer: “I checked on my phone half hour ago, and it said the train was due at 22 minutes past. It is now half past.”

    Me: “I’m sorry, sir. Usually, the station staff can tell you why the delay has been caused, but I can tell from the screen…” *points* “…that it is expected in a couple of minutes. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you any more, as I’m just here to make the trains safe to run.”

    Customer: “F***ing typical! Won’t help no c***!”

    Me: “I’m sorry?”

    Customer: “You railwaymen are all the f***ing same! Whenever I see you ‘working,’ you are just standing about!”

    Me: “I assure you, sir, we work very hard, but currently we are waiting for a train so we can test the station’s communication with the signalman. Without a train, the button panel won’t communicate with him.”

    Customer: “Bull****!”

    Me: “Well, I—”

    Customer: “Whenever I pass you guys on the train, you are always standing at the side of the track, doing nothing! No wonder train fares increased because YOU b******s are leeching the system!”

    Me: “Are you talking about when the train is moving and you see men like us on the track?”

    Customer: “Yes!”

    Me: “Well, if we were maintaining things on the track…how are we meant to do that if a train is driving over it?”

    Customer: *turns red*

    (He runs off, mumbling, before catching a station attendant and ripping into him as well…and missing his train in the process.)

    Too Provincial With Provinces

    | Niagara Falls, ON, Canada | Tourists/Travel

    (As employees exit the train they are divided and reboarded to a new train based on their destination. At this point, we determine where they are traveling and forward them there. A train has just arrived from USA and is making it’s first stop in Canada.)

    Me: “Hello, ma’am, what is your final destination today?”

    Customer: “Canada.”

    Me: “Where in Canada will you be traveling?”

    Customer: “Ontario, Canada.”

    Me: “What is the final stop in Canada you will be going to today?”

    Customer: “Ontario.”

    Me: “Ontario is a province, like New York State or Florida. Where in the province of Ontario are you going?”

    Customer: “Canada, but you obviously don’t know as well as I do. I’ll just talk to someone else!”

    Me: “Have a good day!”

    It’s Never Too Late To Say You’re Sorry

    | Torino, Italy | Top

    (I work at the main train station information desk. An angry customer storms up to me after trying to get a ticket out of the automatic machines.)

    Customer: “Your g**d*** machines are broken, as usual!

    Me: “What seems to be the problem, sir?”

    Customer: “I wanted a ticket for the 9:15 train to [city] and your stupid machine won’t sell it to me! It’s broken, as usual!”

    Me: “Uh, sir–”

    Customer: “You guys are so useless! This is hopeless! Every time I come here, there’s a problem! You’re all a bunch of stupid f****!”

    Me: “Well, sir–”

    Customer: “All I want is a ticket for the 9:15 train! I get it every f***ing day, and there is always a problem!”

    Me: “What I’m trying to say it that–”

    Customer: “Oh, don’t you even try! Don’t you even try giving me that s***! Now, you’re going to tell me you don’t sell tickets. You don’t have control over the machines and everything, huh? You’re just a stupid information desk! Well, you know what? I’m not queuing up to the f***ing ticket office because you’re a g**d*** idiot!”

    Me: “If you just–”

    Customer: “You’re going to say you’re right, aren’t you?”

    (This goes ahead for a good five minutes. In the end, I just stare at him while he rants about how terribly stupid I am and how horrible the service is. I just keep silent and stare at him until he’s finished.)

    Customer: “So, are you going to give me that ticket or not?”

    Me: “Sir, it’s five past ten.”

    Customer: “What?”

    Me: “It’s five past ten. That’s why the machine won’t sell you a ticket for the 9:15 train–that train is gone almost an hour ago.”

    Customer: “What the h*** are you talking about?”

    Me: “Sir, last night we switched back from daylight savings time. It means the clock went one hour ahead. It is not five past nine right now, but five past ten. That’s why you can’t buy a ticket for the 9:15 train to [city]. However, if you hurry up, you’ll manage the 10:15 one.”

    (The customer looks at me in disbelief, then looks at the time on the main train timetable, then at his own watch, and eventually back at me.)

    Customer: “Yeah…uh…I think I’ll try and catch that 10:15 one, then. Thanks…uh…and sorry.”

    Hugh Grant & Julia Roberts Would Disagree

    | London, UK |

    (Two tourists are buying London Underground train tickets to Notting Hill.)

    1st Tourist: “Where are we going?”

    2nd Tourist: “Notting Hill. It’s where Robin of Sherwood is from.”

    Shogun The Way To Go Home

    | Tokyo, Japan | Language & Words, Tourists/Travel

    (I work at the local train station. Having spent half my life living in Los Angeles, and the other living in Tokyo, I speak both English and Japanese. The other station masters tend to bring tourists to me, since their English isn’t as good as mine. A tourist approaches me and speaks loudly, slowly, and with very large hand gestures)

    Tourist: “I’m trying to get to [station]! Can you help me?”

    Me: “Yes, ma’am. I actually grew up in Los Angeles, so I can speak English.”

    Tourist: *still speaking in the same way* “No, I’m not from Los Angeles! I’m trying to get to [station]!”

    Me: “No, ma’am, I just meant that I spent a lot of time in Los Angeles.”

    Tourist: “No! Not Los Angeles! [Station]!”

    (The woman’s husband, hearing his wife shouting, joins us.)

    Tourist’s Husband: *to his wife* “What’s going on?”

    Tourist: “This dumb guy keeps asking if we’re from Los Angeles!”

    Tourist’s Husband: “Why would he think that?”

    Tourist: “I don’t know!”

    Tourist’s Husband: *to me, speaking clearly, but not extremely slowly* “We’re trying to get to [station].”

    (I provide directions to the station.)

    Tourist’s Husband: “You speak English very well!”

    Me: “Thank you sir. As I tried to explain to your wife, I grew up in Los Angeles, so I speak English.”

    Tourist’s Husband: *sighs* “I’m sorry you had to put up with her. Thanks for the directions.”

    (As they are walking away, I hear the woman proudly tell her husband, “I told you those Japanese lessons we took would pay off!”)


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