Literally Expecting You To Move Mountains

| Haines, AK, USA | Right | February 15, 2016

(I am picking up a new set of tourists from the docks to take on a walking tour and notice one standing off to one side staring out across the water at a rather impressive mountain range.)

Me: “Pretty great view, huh?”

Tourist: “Well, it WOULD be if you got rid of those mountains.”

Me: “I’m sorry?”

Tourist: “Seriously, have you spoken to anyone about it? They really block the view.”

English Names Are Not To Blame

| London, UK | Working | December 9, 2015

(I am a freelance technical writer and my clients pay me through a very popular online service. As such, I have a credit card through this service that first taps into my balance with them, and then into my bank account as back up should my balance run out. One month before I am scheduled to leave my home in the United States to visit the UK, I call the company and let them know so that they do not freeze my card. The representative tells me he has made a note on my file. I call to confirm two weeks before, and again the day before I leave, since I’ve been a victim of “foreign transaction freeze” before. I am assured that everyone is aware of the dates that I will be in London. I also take out about $300 and have it changed for GBP just in case, so that I do not get stuck without transportation, etc. The day after arriving in the UK, I visit a popular tourist attraction and, after a tour, choose some souvenirs. I’ve only brought about £40 since I don’t want to carry around a lot of cash, so I plan to use my card for this. I attempt to settle up and the following occurs.)

Employee: “Oops, it’s saying your card cannot be processed.”

Me: “Oh, no. They’ve frozen it. I called THREE times before I left the country! I can’t believe it!” *check my phone* “And now my battery is dead from taking photos, and I can’t call them! Drat!”

Employee: *very sympathetic* “As it’s a U.S. number on the card I’m afraid you can’t call the direct line. However, let me see if I can use our kiosk computer to look up their UK branch.”

(She does this, and I call the UK branch of the company that issued my card and explain the situation.)

Card Company Employee: “Of course, ma’am, I apologize. If you would just put the account holder on the phone, we can confirm his identity and get the freeze lifted.”

Me: “It’s MY account.”

Card Company Employee: “No, Madame, the name is [My very unisex first name and very British last name]. We need to speak with him.”

Me: “I assure you, that is I. I am the account holder.”

Card Company Employee: “Don’t be silly. [Name] is a man’s name!”

Me: “I assure you, it’s a unisex name.”

Card Company Employee: “We have no such thing in England! This is a man’s name. Furthermore, [Surname] clearly belongs to a British citizen! I believe you are trying to perpetrate a scam, and I will report this to [Company]! Good day!” *hangs up*

(I hang up and relay what has occurred to the helpful employee and two others who are now interested in the exchange after seeing my face.)

Helpful Employee: “Oh, no! That’s terrible! I would be glad to put your items back and hold them until close tomorrow, so that you can go back to your hotel and call the U.S. branch of the company and get things straightened out.”

(I thanked her profusely, went back to the hotel, and charged my cell phone. I called the U.S. branch and explained everything, and while they were very apologetic, it took 36 hours to get everything processed and the hold lifted. I didn’t get any souvenirs from the #1 attraction I was there to see. I now never leave a hotel room without a fully-charged backup battery.)

There Should Be A Sign

, | Watson Lake, YK, Canada | Right | October 29, 2015

(I work at a little retail store beside our town’s main tourist attraction, the Signpost Forest, which has over 75,000 signs to date, right beside the Alaska Highway. A customer walks into the shop.)

Customer: “Where do I go to see the Signpost Forest?”

Me: “See right behind the shop, the hundreds of posts with the countless signs all over them?”

Customer: “Yah?”

Me: “See how they look like a forest?”

Customer: “Yah?”

Me: “That’s it.”

Customer: “…Are you sure?”

Independent From Your Day

| Vancouver, BC, Canada | Right | October 8, 2015

(Vancouver sees a lot of American tourists. Just like American businesses, we are concerned about counterfeit bills, so typically $50 and $100, US or Canadian, are rarely accepted and there are signs to this effect. This story takes place on a July 4. Exchange rates [generally quite unfavorable] are posted in case they use USD.)

Box Office Box Office Attendant: “Your total is $25 for 2 tickets.”

Customer: “Can you break this $100(USD)?”

Box Office Attendant: “I’m sorry; sir, but we cannot accept bills of that denomination. Do you have anything smaller?”

Customer: “No, and no one takes them. What can I do?”

Box Office Attendant: “You could take it to a bank and exchange it for Canadian.”

Customer: “How? Banks are closed today.”

Box Office Attendant: “Why would they be closed?”

Customer: “It’s a holiday!”

Box Office Attendant: “July 4th is not a holiday in Canada, sir. Today is a regular weekday.”

Customer: “I can’t believe you don’t celebrate Independence Day! Why don’t you?”

Box Office Attendant: “That’s your holiday; we have Canada Day on July 1. Banks are closed that day.”

Customer: “It would be lot easier if you followed our holidays.”

Box Office Attendant: “We’ll keep that in mind. Perhaps you have a credit card?”

Guide And Seek

| AL, USA | Working | September 1, 2015

(My husband and I are on a group tour through a cave.)

Tour Guide: *at the beginning* “Now make sure you stay behind me! Don’t try to get ahead of me or wander off.”

(We reach the end of the cave and we’re just standing around, admiring it. After a while…)

Me: “Um…” *looks around* “Where’s the guide?”

Other Tour Members: *look around* “Wh… where’d he go? He’s gone!”

(We stood around for a bit waiting to see if he was hiding or something to scare us. He never re-appeared. Fortunately the path was easy to follow, so we all ended up walking back through the cave on our own. I heard he wasn’t working there long after that.)

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