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A Bunch Of Red Flags

, , , , | Right | November 23, 2022

I am a guide on a tour bus company in Washington, DC. We are driving past the Washington Monument.

Tourist: “How do they get all the flags to fly in the same direction?”

Scary Tours To Take In The Dark

, , , , , , | Working | September 16, 2022

I was on a guided tour of a cave system that was used as a bomb shelter in the War, and it still had some of the old furniture and fittings. The caves were long and twisting, and the entire tour was lit by oil lanterns that we carried.

At one point, the guide wanted to show us how sound carried and just how dark it was, so he showed us a large metal oil tank and told us to remember it. Later, at a very deep part of the cave, he had us leave our lanterns in an alcove. Then, with just his one small lantern to light our way, he led us to a cavern and left us there, in the dark.

It seemed like we were there for an eternity, standing in the pitch black with no sound, just the odd drip of water. In reality, it was a few minutes later that there was a resounding BOOM that made us all jump, and the echoes trailed on forever… until it was silent again. And it stayed silent and dark until, in the distance, we saw the guide’s single lantern slowly approaching. We all fixated on this one point of light, waiting for it to get closer, when suddenly, right next to us, the guide loudly announced:

Guide: “So! Dark, isn’t it?” 

Cue much screaming and laughter. He’d left his lantern on the floor and crept up to us.  

Well played, sir.

This Is Why Locals Hate Tourists

, , , , , , | Right | August 2, 2022

I went to China with my parents in 2017. We took a coach tour and most of the experience was good. When you booked with the company, there was a booklet that had the name of the provinces and cities you’d visit. Most of them also had “extra” stuff one could pay for. For example, in one city, you could pay to go visit the pandas at the zoo. The provided booklet had information about exactly what you’d experience with these extras.

One extra thing was a rickshaw ride to a noodle place for lunch. The rickshaw ride occasionally made me think of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride which was at Walt Disney World back when I went in 1997.

My parents and I were enjoying the noodle dishes we were given for lunch. While we were eating, one of the other tourists on the trip started complaining very loudly.

Tourist #1: “There’s no fried rice! I want fried rice!”

Our tour guide and the restaurant owner’s niece told this tourist that they didn’t eat rice there, but the tourist just kept demanding it. My parents and I were confused. Did he not read the information about the extras? It was right there in clear print.

And that was after, much earlier on in the trip, someone told my mom and me this:

Tourist #2: “I don’t eat Chinese food. I only came because someone asked me to.”

I Want To Answer But I’m Drawing A Blank

, , , , , | Right | March 9, 2022

I recently went on a tour of a slate mine. Once we got deep into the mine, the guide asked everyone to turn their lights off so we could see how dark it was. He then lit a candle, which was all the light the miners would have had, but before doing so he told us a question a tourist had asked him a couple of weeks prior that he still didn’t have an answer to.

Tourist: “Can I take a photo of the darkness?”

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!