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A Hair-Raising Experience

, , , , , | Right | October 31, 2021

My family and I are at a landmark house in Gettysburg doing a ghost tour.

Guide: “Okay, so we are all aware, the ghosts do love to play with long hair, so ladies, unless you want some spectral attention, you may want to put your hair up in a ponytail. Also, it should be noted that they particularly love curly hair, and often those with curly hair report the most activity.”

At that moment, all eyes on the tour group turn to twelve-year-old me as I have very long hair and am the only one on the tour with curly hair.

Me: “Mom give me a ponytail holder. Now!”

Thankfully, I did not have anyone play with my hair.

Sadly, Notes Like This Are Very Foreseen

, , | Right | October 1, 2021

As a student, my sister had a job at a small tourist information center. During graveyard shifts, only one or two people were scheduled there.

Once, the graveyard shift was being covered by a couple who both had to call off due to the unexpected death of a relative or friend. Since no one could be found to cover up in time, the center had to be closed early. Management put up a note on the door.

Management: “Due to unforeseen circumstances, we are unfortunately closed today. Our apologies for any inconvenience.”

The next day, when the center opened up again, it turned out someone had put a second note next to the first one, from the outside.

Guest: “This is a very big disappointment for us. We really planned to come in here today to make some purchases and get some information. So, yes, this is very inconvenient for us. I hope you take note of that!”

Two pieces of advice to people who write notes like this. First of all, “unforeseen circumstances” is a euphemism for an unexpected family crisis or illness or whatever. The point is, it is for something very serious and private, which is NONE of your business. Respect that.

Secondly, putting up this kind of note doesn’t make you smart or noticed; it makes you seem entitled and arrogant. Your business will not be missed.

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.

We Have No Barrier In Asking You To Leave

, , , , | Right | September 30, 2021

I work as an interpreter at the house of a very famous historic individual. Not all the furniture in the house was owned by that historic individual, but those pieces that were are both valuable and fragile. There are barrier bars that keep people away from them, but as the interpreter, I am on the protected side of the barrier. It is a small house, but it is often filled with quite a few people because it is a popular tourist stop. While talking to visitors in one room, I’d have to keep an eye on another room, too, and, through a small, 250-year-old doorway, it wasn’t a perfect line of sight. 

In particular, I had to watch out for kids, as they could slip under the barrier. Once, while I was talking to a mother in room one, we both noticed that her three-year-old had disappeared. Rushing into the other room, we found that he had gone under the barrier, politely taken his shoes off, and crawled into the bed. I got him out of there, assuring the mother that the bed was a replica, but the little guy got an appropriate talking-to from mom. This was the normal way that went.

However, once, while I was talking to visitors in room one, I could see a woman in room two motioning at the barrier and talking, holding a camera. Photography was prohibited there, so that was already a problem, so I excused myself from the other visitors and rushed over. What I found is a sad-looking kid past the barrier, sitting in the famous person’s authentic and fragile rocking chair, as the mother tried to get the girl to pose for a photo. From what the mother was saying, it was clear she sent the girl under the barrier for the photo.

With an “Oh, no!”, I gently lifted the girl out of the rocking chair and set her on the other side of the barrier with her mother. As I started to explain the obvious, that the warnings to not touch were serious, the mother proceeded to yell at me for touching her child — a child she couldn’t reach because of the barrier. I’m a gentle mommy-aged woman. She really, really yelled. I asked her to try and imagine how much money she’d be on the hook for if the chair had broken, but the yelling continued and I had to insist that she leave. The other visitors did not mince words about how they felt about how that person conducted herself. 

Outside, she yelled until my boss appeared who, of course, told the woman who sent her child under museum barriers, past no touching signs, when staff were in another room, only to freak out at getting caught, to leave.

Their Observation Skills Will Be Wasted Up That Tower

, , , | Right | July 14, 2021

I’m a volunteer at a public building in the centre of our city. Part of the building is a tower, which is one of the tallest structures around, and tourists can buy a ticket to climb up and see the view of the city from the top.

It’s opening time, so while a colleague unlocks the exit doors and mans the counter inside, I throw the entrance doors wide open and take out the two giant A-frame advertising boards which we place on the plaza outside the building. Each side of each board has the exact same thing: the words “Climb the tower!”, a picture of the view, and the ticket price. The bottom third of each is taken up by the giant text, “TOWER OPEN,” and an arrow pointing toward the entrance.

A family of tourists has watched me putting out the boards. They wander over, study one of the boards, and then look over at me, now standing by the open entrance ready to welcome visitors. They walk round to the other side of the board and read that, and then they move over to the second board and read that one, as well. Finally, they approach me.

Tourists: “Is the tower open?”

Me: “…”

This conversation occurs at least a dozen times a day. I don’t know what more we can do.