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Thank You For Your Patience. Seriously.

, , , , , , | Working | September 9, 2021

I get a call from a customer who booked a tour through us. She speaks very calmly and politely.

Customer: “Hello. I booked [tour]; however, the tour guide has not appeared and nobody is answering the phone. Would you please find out what happened and perhaps send another tour guide?”

Me: “Not a problem at all! Let me get a hold of the tour operator and find out what is going on!”

Customer: “Thank you very much.”

I call and find out that the scheduled tour guide found out through unconventional means that he was supposed to be let go at the end of the month, and then he simply quit on the spot and abandoned his scheduled tours in disgust. 

Me: “I’m very sorry, but due to circumstances beyond our control, the tour guide isn’t available for this tour, so, unfortunately, that will not be possible for today.”

Customer: “Okay. What are my options?”

Me: “I’m not sure what their arrangement will be, so for now, I will give you a full refund and a 50%-off coupon towards your next tour with us!”

Translation: “Thanks for not screaming my ear off.”

Customer: “Thank you. That is very kind of you. Should I just go home now?”

I looked in horror at the start time of the tour, which was 11:00; it was now nearing 2:00 pm! I had a good mind to give her another voucher if it didn’t require an explanation to management afterward!

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Let’s Just Stick To Google Earth From Our Couch

, , , , | Working | March 3, 2021

Years ago, my mother and I went on a one-week bus tour across part of the United States. We had a tour guide who was worse than useless. For example, her idea of introducing us to a new city was to hand out brochures on fun things to do in that city as we were leaving. This particular story stands out, though.

We arrived in [City], where we were scheduled to attend an outdoor play that evening.

Tour Guide: “We’re going to a very fancy restaurant before the play, so make sure you dress up!”

We all put on the nicest things we’d brought. Some people really had some expensive clothes, too — much nicer than I would have brought on a bus tour, but I digress.

The bus arrived on time to drive us to the restaurant, but there was no sign of [Tour Guide].

Bus Driver: “She said she’d meet you there.”

Okay, fine.

We got to the restaurant, only to find that it wasn’t due to open for another hour. The bus had already left, so there was nowhere to sit, and it was EXTREMELY hot. Many of the tourists were elderly and looked like they were about to faint. [Tour Guide] finally showed up as the restaurant was opening, which makes me think that SHE knew its hours of operation. Too bad she didn’t share them with us. She ignored how miserable we all looked.

Tour Guide: *Brightly* “Okay! Let’s go have dinner! You’ll love this place. It’ll probably be one of the best meals you ever had.”

We got inside, and… it was a cafeteria — the kind where you grab a plastic tray and choose your food from a cold case or order a hot entrée from the folks standing behind the counter. All of us looked at each other in our finery and raised our eyebrows. We were all thinking, “We got dressed up for THIS?”

After a very mediocre meal, we got to the play which, as I mentioned, was outdoors and therefore in the heat. At least we got to sit down! Oh, and the play was The Passion Play. Neither my mother nor I were remotely religious and hadn’t realized beforehand what it was about. We were bored to tears.

For that reason and many others, Mum sent a furious letter to the tour company when we got home, and they offered her a free shoulder bag — with their logo on it, naturally — as an apology. Mum told them politely where they could stick their free advertising.

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Tours Of The Macabre!

, , , , | Right | October 30, 2020

My partner and I are visiting a tourist attraction near where my grandparents live. Here there are some tunnels with historical significance, built in the Napoleonic wars and used in WWII. There are some rules in place to protect these tunnels, as there are in most places.

On the first tour, we catch up to a woman and overhear her being reminded not to take photos. She has that surprised look that says, “I didn’t see any of the signs or hear the tannoy announcement at all,” which makes us both roll our eyes and chuckle.

On the next tour, we find that she is in our group.

Tour Guide: “Everything is set out as it would have been in 1943, and although it may be tempting, please do not touch anything as it is covered with a protective sealant. It will not harm you, but if you then happen to put your fingers in your mouth, it will then give you a very upset tummy.”

Woman: “You should just tell them they will die; that will stop them from touching anything.”

And bless the tour guide, he plays along nicely.

Tour Guide: “Yes, you will all die a horrible death; do not touch. Also, please stick to the path that we walk and follow me; some rooms are alarmed so do not be tempted to wander off. There are four miles of tunnels, so if you get lost, it may be a few hours or even days before you are found.”

Woman: “You’ll die if you wander off; that will stop them.”

Tour Guide: “Yes, you will fall into a trap door and die. Let’s get started, shall we?”

As we end the tour, we’ve noticed that this woman has attempted to touch things and even wandered off at some points. She’s been the only person to do this, which makes us both laugh at the absurdity. It appears the tour guide noticed, as well.

Tour Guide: “That was the end of our tour; thank you for joining us. And to you, missy, I noticed you’d have died at least twice, touching the plates of food, and—”

Woman: *Cutting him off* “But it looked so real! I just wanted to know if it was real!”

Tour Guide:And wandering off into other rooms!”

Woman: “I just wanted to know what was in there!”

Tour Guide: “To all that survived this tour, have a safe journey home. And to all that died on this tour, I hope it’s peaceful. Thank you.”

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Ghastly Miscommunications

, , , , , , , | Working | September 17, 2020

One vacation, we arrived at our hotel to find out that they had way overbooked their property and had “walked” dozens of guests to another property owned by the same property group on the other side of the city. We weren’t happy but we rolled with it. 

Unfortunately, this required us to contact all of our tour excursions and have them reallocate our pickup points to be closer to our new hotel. For the most part, this went well, but one company had some issues.

We walked to the pickup point at another nearby hotel for a nighttime tour, and we waited. No one arrived. As this occurred in the pre-smartphone, pre-international roaming cell phone era, we asked the hotel there if we could use their phone to call the tour company, but they did not answer the phone since it was outside of daytime business hours.  

Fortunately, the hotel had an awesome concierge who was familiar with the tour company, and even though we were not guests at his hotel, he tracked down the dispatcher for the company and assured us that we would be picked up soon. He was correct, and shortly a minibus with two other ladies on board arrived along with a harried-looking driver. The only problem was that we weren’t on his schedule, and while we had booked the ghost walk tour, the other two ladies had booked a pub crawl. The tour company had apparently never put the tour we booked onto their roster, and they had never told us when we contacted them about the new hotel or contacted us on the new number we gave them.

So, with the cooperation of his four passengers, the tour guide commenced to go completely off-script and concocted an ad-hoc haunted pub crawl. The tour actually turned out really well in the end thanks to the awesome tour guide, but I’ll never book another tour through that booking company — nor have I ever booked with the original hotel group again.

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This Boss’s Attitude Doesn’t Add Up

, , , , | Working | August 24, 2020

I work in one of our local tourism companies as a tour admin. Work is relatively okay and all, except we work under a husband and wife duo. The husband is a fickle, indecisive man, and the wife is an absolute control freak and, quite frankly, a b****.

And for some weird reason, she seems to particularly not like me, probably because I am the youngest member of the team and she thinks I’m incompetent because of that.

She hovers over me from time to time, trying to catch me screwing up. At one point, she accuses me of installing Skype onto the office computer to chat with friends instead of working, when in reality, the app was already in there before I started working there, and I use it to chat with our dealers.

She then decides I am not to be trusted with the computers anymore and makes my supervisor give me menial jobs like cleaning out desks and sorting out their outdated files in order to keep me away from using the computer. After a while, my supervisor says she needs all hands on deck with their latest tour promotion, so I am back on the computer doing admin like I should be doing, much to her displeasure.

Finally, during the upcoming Chinese New Year season, my lady boss decides to take me off admin duty to sort out raincoats for the tourists, as we are also approaching the rainy season. She tells me to count all the raincoats, sort them by colour, and match them with the number of guests — under the watchful eye of the lady boss’s sister, who is also part of the top management.

I soon find out after I am done that the numbers don’t tally, so I make my way to her desk to tell her so.

Me: “Ma’am, I’ve checked all the raincoats. We’re short of about twenty.”

Boss: “What?! That’s impossible! I personally bought those raincoats following the exact number on the packaging! You must’ve counted it wrong! Do it again!”

I oblige and count it twice, and the results are still the same. Needless to say, she is livid.

Boss: “That is impossible! I don’t believe you!”

Me: “Ma’am, I have counted them twice. [Boss’s Sister] also watched me do it. We really are short of twenty raincoats.”

Boss: “There is no way we are short! I bought those raincoats myself! How can we be short?! There is no way! I don’t believe you!”

Me: “Ma’am, as I’ve said, I counted it twice. If you like, you could count along with me to verify it.”

She did, even with the help of her sister, and sure enough, I was right; we were short of twenty raincoats. She huffed and puffed and grumbled audibly in disbelief, and even her sister tried to imply behind my back that I must’ve lost the missing raincoats while I was counting — “That’s because she’s on that d*** phone of hers.” All I did was reply to an urgent text from my husband regarding my daughter’s school issue. It was two against one, so I couldn’t speak up even if I wanted to.

Later that day, I was called into the husband’s office, with both husband and wife there, and the wife told me that she was very unhappy with my work performance and that I was fired. The husband just sat there without a word as he handed me my last paycheck — didn’t even bother to even ask my side of the story — while the wife just sat there next to him with a smug look on her face.

I took the paycheck and thanked them and never went back, not even to book a flight for future holiday plans.

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