A Customer That Drives You Round The Bends

, , , , | Right | August 27, 2020

I have just finished booking an overseas tourist who is a certified diver into one of our day dive trips. This particular trip is an all-day trip, with a good three hours of diving throughout the trip, with small surface interval times — breaks — on the boat as it moves between sites. This particular customer, a much older gentleman, just walks in and, already knowing exactly what he wants, announces that he wants to book this trip for the day after tomorrow.

Me: “All good to go! Here is your booking voucher; simply present it to the crew upon boarding and they’ll take care of you from there. Hope you have a great time out there!”

Customer: “Great! Just one last question: what time does the boat get back? It’s just that our flight leaves at [time roughly two hours after the boat returns].”

Me: “Certainly! As mentioned, it is an all-day trip so the boat will be returning at roughly five pm… Wait.” *Alarms bells ringing* “Sorry, did you say that your flight leaves that night?”

Customer: “Yeah! Five pm, hey? Oh, I didn’t realise it got in so late. Do you think we’ll make it to the airport?”

Now, our nearest airport is roughly an hour away, so while I do think the customer will be pushing it to make it to his flight, that’s not why I suddenly went quiet. You see, regardless of which SCUBA organisation you are with or which dive company you book with, they all say that, for medical reasons, you are not supposed to fly within twenty-four hours of your last dive. This customer’s flight is due to leave only two hours after the boat so he is certainly within the twenty-four-hour exclusion period for flying after diving. As a certified diver, he should definitely be aware of this rule.

Me: “Well, sir… I’m sorry, but you can’t dive on [Day].”

Customer: *Taken aback* “What?! Why? Is it because we won’t make our flight?”

Me: “Well, no. Unfortunately, you need to wait twenty-four hours after diving before flying. Knowing now that you are flying after your dives, I’m going to have to cancel your trip. I can’t allow you to dive when you are flying out so soon. I will, of course, refund your trip right now, or if you are available, move you to tomorrow?”

Customer: *Getting visibly angry* “What?! I can’t do tomorrow; I have another trip booked! I don’t want a refund, either; I want to dive! Why can’t I dive?!”

Me: “It’s a health issue, sir. Flying so soon after diving leaves you susceptible to decompression sickness, or the bends.”

Customer: *Sarcastic tone* “Oh, really? Well, missy, I’ve been diving since before you were even thought of. Since when did this become a thing?”

I am not putting up with the sudden rudeness.

Me: “Since we realised the debilitating effects, both short-term and long-term, of decompression sickness, sir, usually resulting in a painful death. Now, you have two choices: either move to tomorrow where you will be outside the twenty-four-hour exclusion zone, or if that’s not possible, I will certainly refund you.”

The customer is now getting supremely irate.

Customer: “This is ridiculous! Back in my day, we didn’t even have this sort of regulation! I came all the way from [Country] to see [Dive Destination] and I demand to see it!”

I am initially stunned, but then I compose myself.

Me: “Certainly, sir, I understand that coming all this way only to be told no would be incredibly frustrating. But right now, you have only one choice: leave, make up your mind, and come back when you have calmed down. If I don’t see you by [closing time], I’m simply going to take your name off the booking, no refund.”

The customer storms out of the shop, seething. I just shake my head and return to my work. It is nearly closing when the same customer comes walking back in, a smug smile on his face.

Me: “Good to see you again, sir. Did you decide what you would like to do?”

Customer: *Smugly* “I want the refund.”

Me: “Of course.”

As I’m processing his refund, he asks me this:

Customer: “If I didn’t tell you about my flight, would we be doing this right now?”

Me: “Well, no, but at the same time it’s good you did tell me. It’s not a good idea to keep things like that hid—”

Customer: *Cutting me off* “That’s all I needed to know.”

I finish processing the refund. I hand him back his receipt.

Me: “All sorted, sir. Once again, I am sorry that you couldn’t go out—”

Customer: *Cuts me off again* “I just want you to know as soon as I left I booked with another company for that day. They were very happy to serve me. I look forward to giving them amazing reviews while you get one-star.”

I do not care about reviews, but I am more shocked that he was allowed to go diving even after his flight times make it dangerous.

Me: “Really? They booked you on even with your flight leaving so soon afterward?!”

Customer: “That’s the thing! I didn’t tell them! I’m going to have a great time, and I’m going to personally email you the bad review I leave!”

And he proudly strolled out of the store. I was amazed, and I wish I had found out which company he ended up with so I could’ve called them myself to warn them. I really hope he missed his flight, and if he didn’t, that he didn’t suffer ill effects.

We get that he spent a lot of money coming here, and that this particular area is a dream destination for a lot of people. But it is NEVER worth your health! Still waiting for that bad review, by the way.

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