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Dealing With American Tourists Is Always A Gamble 

, , , , , , | Right | October 1, 2021

The big Victorian-era seaside town I grew up in draws tourists from the UK and abroad. There was a massive building on the seafront that was a bit of an eyesore. It had little independently owned shops at the very bottom that were accessible from the promenade and an arcade — not a games arcade but a penny machine arcade which was essentially gambling for kids — on the town level.

When I was fourteen, the whole building burnt down when one of the independent store owners attempted an insurance scam.

The company asked for our opinion as to whether or not they should rebuild it for everyone over the age of twelve, and the answer was overwhelmingly no. I also put no. They ignored us and built a really ugly glass and metal modern building that didn’t suit the Victorian town.

Two years later, I’m working in a tourist attraction that’s in the village next to the town. It’s the summer and it’s just gone from glorious sunshine to a rainstorm — normal for England in summer. This usually means people from the town end up in the building, as it’s got a very large tearoom, so we get busy.

I’m working in the tourist information desk when a very grumpy man comes in and pretty much charges up to the desk, yelling at me in a strong American accent.

Tourist: “How long is this rain gonna last for?!”

Me: *Taken aback by the yelling* “Er, could be five minutes, could be five days?”

Tourist: “Five days?! Is it that bad?! Does it always rain in England?”

Some random Scottish older lady who is checking out the leaflets chimes in.

Scottish Lady: “Yup, but not as much as Scotland.”

The tourist stares at her, realising he’s not going to get anywhere complaining about the weather. He stays stood there and seems to clock I’m at the information desk. He leans down toward me all conspiracy-theory-like, ready for his next complaint.

Tourist: “You know, there’s a gambling place for kids.”

Me: *Thrown by the change* “I’m sorry?”

Tourist:Gambling. For kids!

Me: “The penny arcade?”

Tourist: “It’s gambling.

Me: “It’s got a cap of £5 per day, and you have to get your change from an actual person so they can monitor it.”

Tourist: “Still gambling.

Me: *Pauses* “Okay.”

He looks expectantly at me.

Me: “What about it?”

Tourist: “What are you gonna do about it?”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Tourist: “What are you gonna do about it?! You just gonna let them kids gamble?!”

Me: “Sir, I’m sixteen. I can’t really do a lot about it. And they wouldn’t care anyway; the locals told the company we didn’t want them to rebuild it when it burnt down but they rebuilt it anyway.”

Tourist: “Protest to your government!”

Me: “We tried that.”

Tourist: “Get an American to help you; you lot are too reserved! And this place is too wet!

The man strode off to the tearooms, muttering to himself. The random Scottish lady that was now intently staring at the leaflets burst into giggles as soon as he was out of earshot.