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Not Have A Wale(s) Of A Time

| Wales, UK | Bigotry, Extra Stupid, Geography, Popular, Tourists/Travel

(The football world cup is on. A lot of English ex-pats have retired to our town and are displaying their flags. A lot of the Welsh people who live in town also choose to display Welsh flags, all year around.)

Customer: “Take them down.”

Me: “Sir? Take what down?”

Customer: “The bloody flags, you idiot. Take them down!”

Me: “Sir, respectfully I’d like to know what flags? We have none on display here.”

Customer: “Not here, you bimbo. All over the bloody town. F****** Welsh flags! It’s the world cup. YOU should be supporting ENGLAND.”

Me: “I don’t control what flags residents and other businesses choose to display – besides, this IS Wales. Many people are as proud to be Welsh as you obviously are to be English.”

Customer: “Well, it’s disrespecting the Queen.”

Me: “I’m sorry you feel that way. Do you have a query I can help you with?”

Customer: “Yeah. I want these for the grandkids.”

(He hands me a fistful of souvenirs that all say ‘WALES/CYMRU’ on them, including a football with Welsh dragons on it, several Welsh flag erasers, and… a miniature Welsh flag!)

Me: “Uh… sure. That’ll be [price]. Have a great day!”

Customer: *leaves, muttering to himself* “Bloody foreigners. No respect.”

Coworker: “Welsh? Foreigners in our own country?”

Me: “Ah, [Coworker], did you not know that EVERYWHERE is foreign, even if you are English and somewhere besides England? It is everybody else and not you who is the foreigner.”

Coworker: “I hope Scotland votes ‘yes.’ Then, maybe we can think about leaving, too!”

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Refunder Blunder, Part 21

| Wales, UK | Crazy Requests, Money, Popular, Tourists/Travel, Transportation

(I am approached by an initially-pleasant elderly couple.)

Me: “Prynhawn da, good afternoon; may I help you?”

Customer: “Yes, we were wondering if you know anything about yesterday’s car crash?”

Me: “The one at [Tiny Village] about six pm? Yes, it affected my route home – I took a quick diversion through a mountain pass that runs parallel to the main road.”

Customer: “What happened, then?”

Me: “Well, I’m not privy to all the details but from what I hear, nobody died.”

Customer: “Well, that’s good. The poor dears.”

Customer’s Husband: “The poor dears. Anyway, since you said nobody died, we’d like to know how we may apply for compensation?”

Me: “Sir, if you were involved in the accident or a witness you need to contact the police straight away! You could have vital information. Your insurance company might want to know too.”

Customer: “Oh, no, dear, no! Nothing like that.”

Customer’s Husband: “The road had been closed for over an hour when we got there and we didn’t see a thing.”

Me: “Then how could you possibly need compensating? I’m really sorry, but I don’t understand.”

Customer: “Well, the policeman at the road block gave us directions.”

Me: “O… kay?”

Customer’s Husband: “He offered us two routes back to [Town I am working in].”

Customer: “One sounds like that single track road you said you used.”

Customer’s Husband: “And the other was sticking to the main roads and driving back around the mountain range the other way.”

Customer: “We didn’t want to go into the mountains, you see. Imagine if we met another car!”

Customer’s Husband: “So we went the long way. And now we’d like to claim our money back for the extra fuel.”

(I am dumbstruck and stand there with my mouth open for a good few seconds whilst I think of something useful to tell them.)

Me: “Well, sir and ma’am, I’m not aware of any council-run schemes to compensate people for inconveniences or extra costs incurred for those not involved in a roadside emergency. I can give you the number for the department in the council that deals with roadways, but if anything like this IS available, my guess is that it would take the form of an insurance payout from the companies the vehicles actually involved were insured with. I have no idea if you can even get that information, but I can give you contact details for the nearest police station, who should be able to tell you.”

Customer’s Husband: “That sounds complicated.”

Customer: “We were hoping you might have a refund button on your till for it and could just give us cash today.”

Customer’s Husband: “We don’t mind if you have to refund it on our card, though.”

Me: “Sir, you’ve come to a tourist information kiosk. The ONLY functions on my till are for the sale and returns of maps and souvenirs. On the off-chance that there IS a law somewhere that says you may claim compensation for the type of issue you had yesterday, it would be dealt with centrally anyway and you’d get a cheque in the post. As I’ve said, it is NOT something we can deal with here. You would need to contact the police, a solicitor, or perhaps our roadways department.”

Customer: “Okay, well, that’s not really what we wanted to hear, but thank you, dear.”

(I needed to go and make a very strong cup of tea after they left!)

Related:
Refunder Blunder, Part 20
Refunder Blunder, Part 19
Refunder Blunder, Part 18

Something Is Out Of Places

| Wales, UK | Extra Stupid, Popular, Tourists/Travel, Transportation

(Our tourist information centre is located within a mainline train station. As such, we have timetables for the railway line that we can give out to patrons. Most people just take them away to browse at their leisure.)

Customer #1: “Hi!”

Me: “Bore da, good morning! How can I help you today?”

Customer #1: “Hi, yeah. We want to go on the train.”

Me: “Okay, well, you’re in luck as we sell tickets here! Were you wanting to travel today, or later in the week?”

Customer #1: “We don’t know. Can you tell us what times the trains are going?”

Me: “Well, trains run roughly every two hours. Northbound trains run at converse hours to southbound trains.”

Customer #2: “Slow down a minute. Opposite hours?”

Me: “Yeah, so if the trains run roughly two-hourly – give or take ten minutes. One way is on the odd hours, so 9, 11, 1, 3, and 5 – the other way it’s 8, 10, 12, 2, 4, and 6.”

Customer #1: “I don’t get it. Can you write it down?”

Me: “I’ve got a printed timetable. Would you like that?”

Customer #1: “Sure, that’d be great. Thanks!”

Me: *hands customer a timetable*

Customer: *squints at timetable for a minute* “What does all this stuff MEAN?”

Me: “Well, this page is northbound trains, we’re here at [Town], and this page is southbound trains, and [Town] is here. So you just pick where you want to go from there really.”

Customer #2: “Sorry, but how does this help us find the train times?”

Me: “Well, the rows running directly to the destinations have times printed, so if you see here –” *pointing at [Town] again and moving my finger along the row* “– you’ve got 08:50, 10:05, 12:00, 13:55, 15:57, and 17:59.”

Customer #1: “So those numbers are times when trains go?”

Me: “Yep! You got it!” *beams widely*

Customer #2: “But what are all the words?”

Me: “These? These are destinations at which the trains may stop on their way to their destinations.”

Customer #2: “So are those like… train stations?”

Me: “They certainly are, sir!”

Customer #2: “In, like, towns or something?”

Me: “Towns or villages, yes.”

Customer #2: “Whoah! So the trains can, like, STOP there?”

Me: “Yes indeedy!”

Customer #1: “So if we wanted to, we could go on the train from [Town where we are] to [Random Other Town]?”

Me: “Certainly you could! You’d just need to hop on the next southbound train and you’ll be there in 35 minutes!”

Customer #2: “But how do you know how long it will take to get there?”

Me: “Well, on the timetable, the rows designate stops, and the columns represent the journey, so from [Town] to [Next Station Down] is seven minutes. If you follow this column  then you can see the times for the journey. [Other Town] that you asked about is six stops after [Town] on here, and the arrival time on this row here is 35 minutes after the departure time on this row here.”

Customer #2: “We don’t really get it.”

Me: “It might be easier if you decide when and where you want to travel, and we can print you a sheet with just your personal journey details on. That way you won’t have to worry about other times or destinations.”

Customer #1: “But we want to know about those other places. They’re all, like, PLACES places?”

Me: *not even sure at this point what ‘places places’ might mean to them* “Yes, sure they are!”

Customer #2: “Well, we’ll take this and see if we can get to grips with it later.” *waves timetable at me*

Me: “Okay, then. Well, I hope you have a pleasant holiday, and remember you can always pop in and see us during [opening hours] if you need more assistance!”

(They left. I went into the back to make a STRONG cup of tea.)

Have No Old Faithful In Humanity

| West Yellowstone, MT, USA | Extra Stupid, Tourists/Travel

(My family and I go to visit my aunt and uncle in West Yellowstone, Montana, which is about an hour north of Yellowstone National Park. There are painted bison statues around town that are been part of a contest. My mom and I stop at a tourist information center.)

Mom: “Excuse me; do you have a map of where the buffalo are?”

Employee: “Oh, they’re all over the park. You just have to drive around and keep an eye out for them.”

Mom: “…No, the painted ones around town.”

Employee: “Oh! Yes, I do have a map of those.”

Mom: “Do people seriously ask you that?”

Employee: “Yes. They also ask when Old Faithful is turned on and when the bears are let out.”

Speaking American Is A Country Diction In Terms, Part 3

| Torino, Italy | Language & Words, Tourists/Travel

(As the city is hosting a big international event, we’ve been having a lot of people asking for information about venues, transports, and such. For guests’ convenience we set up two different lines, one for information in English and Spanish and one for information in French and German, as these are the four main languages our guests require. We used flags to represent languages, with a standard UK flag standing for English. A third colleague is standing by the door, answering questions in miscellaneous other languages and directing people to the lines. A couple walks in and addresses him in English.)

Guest: “Excuse me, sir?”

Coworker: “Yes, sir? How can I help you?”

Guest: “We need information in American. Which one of these lines is the correct one?”

(My coworker points to the English speaking line.)

Guest: *pointing to the flag* “That’s an English flag. There’s no American flag here. Are you sure this is the correct line?”

Coworker: *trying not to laugh* “Yes, sir. Yes, I’m quite sure it is.”

(At this point the couple cuts the entire 20-something people line and simply walks up to me while I’m busy with another guest.)

Guest: “Good morning, we would like to know if—”

Me: “Sir, I’m sorry, but you can’t just cut the line like that.”

Guest: “But your colleague said this was the American speaking line.”

Me: “It is sir, but as you can see there’s a lot of people waiting for information. You’ll have to wait like everybody else. I promise you it won’t be long.”

Guest: “But… but… I’m AMERICAN!”

Related:
Speaking American Is A Country Diction In Terms, Part 2
Speaking American Is A Country Diction In Terms

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