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Getting A Grilling About The Huts

, , , , | Right | CREDIT: Lale Wallbaum | February 10, 2022

In Germany, we have these things called “grill huts” in some places. They are very simple little houses somewhere out in nature, and you can have barbecue parties there. They are public and can be rented from the town for a small fee and with a deposit.

Three years ago, I worked at the front desk in a holiday resort in Belgium, and we had little holiday houses that we rented out. There was a maximum of eight people, and you had to pay extra for more than six people. You could NOT rent them for just one night because we had to have the whole little house cleaned before the next guests came anyway, and that just doesn’t work. We had rooms and a camping site open to people who only wanted to stay for a night, but not those holiday houses.

Because we spoke German, many people didn’t understand that this site was in Belgium and assumed that everything worked the same as in Germany.

One day, I took a call from a German woman.

Customer: “How much would it be to rent one of those grill huts for one night?”

Me: “Do you mean the holiday houses? We don’t rent those out for single nights.”

Customer: “But I just want to have my barbecue party there one evening! How is it fair that I have to rent it for two days?”

Me: “Excuse me. What do you mean by ‘barbecue party’?”

Customer: “I want to have a barbecue with my friends. We wouldn’t even sleep there! Can’t you make an exception?”

Me: “I am very sorry, but no, you have to rent it for two days if you would like to have your barbecue here. Also, how many friends are you bringing? Because we do have an eight-person limit per house.”

Customer: “Just eight people? But I want to bring twenty! What kind of a grill hut is that?”

Me: “Ma’am, they’re not grill huts. They are holiday homes. And we can’t have twenty people in one holiday home. I am very sorry.”

Customer: “But we don’t even want to use it as a holiday home! They are not even sleeping there! This will be way less effort for you. Why can’t we have it for just one night?”

Me: “Because we don’t rent them out for one night and because they aren’t grill huts. I’m sorry but this won’t work that way.”

She continued on and on, and at some point, thankfully, my colleague took over.

We had to explain to her several times that they were not grill huts and she still did not get it. She also had the audacity to be upset about our rates. Yes, obviously, a fully furnished holiday home with bedrooms, bathrooms, and a real kitchen would be more expensive than a grill hut. And also, why would we make an exception and rent it to you for one night, if we know you are going to bring at least twenty people when only eight are allowed, it is probably going to be loud and other guests will complain, there will be alcohol, and you don’t want to use our restaurant OR hire our cook who can prepare sides and barbecue for you in our paved area (where it is SAFE to barbecue) because you are cheap? We know people probably WILL sleep there, even if you say they won’t, and even if they don’t, we will still have a lot of cleaning to do with twenty people walking in and out of the house to use the fridge or bathroom, so NO, it would not be less effort for us.

It was the middle of a very hot summer, and it would be a fire hazard to have twenty probably drunk people just barbecuing probably somewhere in the middle of our area. IT WAS JUST NOT A FREAKING GRILL HUT!

I just don’t know what some people are thinking.

Isn’t That Against The Geneva Convention?

, , , , | Healthy | January 20, 2022

My mother was pregnant and about to give birth at the hospital. It was early in July and my mother was sweating profusely due to the effort of labor and the heatwave. A nurse gave my father a wet washcloth, assuming my father would wipe my mother’s face with it. Instead, he pressed it on her mouth and nose and started screaming:

Father: “Breathe! Breathe!”

A few minutes later, my brother was born safely. The nurses were still laughing. To this day, my father claims he doesn’t remember.

We’ll Also Gloss Over What Happened In His Thirties

, , , , , | Related | December 24, 2021

It is Christmas and my five-year-old niece just learned about baby Jesus. She is the only kid at the table; the rest are tweens or adults. Although my niece is mostly very well-behaved, she doesn’t always feel the need to sit and be quiet when it is required.

Aunt: “[Niece], you need to be good now, just like baby Jesus.”

I mutter very quietly to my dad so the little one doesn’t hear.

Me: “Didn’t he go missing at the age of twelve so that his parents had to look for him?”

Dad almost choked on his food.

Insert The Dutch Words For “Adorable” And “Awesome” Here

, , , , , , | Friendly | November 18, 2021

The tram I was on going to work announced the next stop. A little girl — she was three, as it would turn out — repeated one of the words as kids of that age so often do. Carefully and slowly, and with a little roll of her hand, she repeated, “De volgende” — Dutch for “next” — over and over again. Then, I caught on. It was actually the mother repeating the words that the little girl so patiently uttered.

As I overheard the mother explaining to a fellow traveler in a very understandable Dutch, she was of Spanish descent and learning Dutch from her daughter — or with her daughter; the mother certainly could express herself in Dutch but did not grasp as yet the full extent of the language. Being Hispanic, she had problems distinguishing “v” and “b” and when she finally got it (almost) right, the little girl awarded the mother with a thumbs-up.

It was the cutest start of the day, and whenever I needed a little pick-me-up during the rest of the day, I just had to think of the solemn thumbs-up and smile the little girl gave her mother and I had to smile, as well. Apparently, the little girl spoke already three languages and if the little Dutch I heard is any indication, on a level that few three-year-olds have in one. Kudos to her and kudos to the mother, as well, for willing to be taught by her daughter to acquire a new language faster and for raising such a polite and gentle girl.

Love In A Handbag

, , , , , | Right | October 28, 2021

There is only one bookstore in the village I live in, and they sell more than books — scarves, cups, toys for children, handbags, aprons, etc. — so it’s quite popular, even if it’s a bit expensive. It’s a slow day and I’m browsing aimlessly when a young teenager with an obvious disability comes in. She looks through the handbags and excitedly goes to the cashier.

Teen: “It’s my birthday today. My parents gave me 15€ to buy myself something I like! I want a new handbag. Can you help me find one?”

Cashier: “Oh, happy birthday! I’m sorry, I’d like to help you, but I’m the only member of the staff present right now and I can’t leave the counter unattended…”

I can see the cashier’s a bit embarrassed, as the handbags are pretty expensive, and it would be hard to find one below 30€. The teen looks through the bags and brings some to the counter, only to bring them back because they are too expensive. Eventually, the cashier does leave her counter and has a quick look around with the teenage girl. Together, they find a beautiful royal blue handbag. I’m waiting for the cashier to ring her out and see the price: 22,5 €. Still, the cashier smiles.

Cashier: *Happily* “Your total is 15€, please.”

The teenager pays and leaves, excited and happy. The cashier greets me and rings my stuff.

Me: “Sorry, but I have to ask… I saw this girl’s total was twenty-two something, but she paid fifteen?”

The cashier just smiles and shrugs.

Cashier: “Today’s my last day, and I happened to have a bit of cash in my pocket. At least I made someone happy today.”

Wherever this cashier is now, I hope she found her dream job that makes her happy.


This story is part of our end-of-year Feel Good roundup for 2021!

Read the next Feel Good 2021 story!

Read the Feel Good 2021 roundup!