And This Person Works In A Museum?

| Leiden, The Netherlands | Working | October 15, 2016

(I’m working for a tourist information where I am head of the group activities. One day, a customer from Belgium who comes back every year with her school asks me for a tour in one of our museums. They are only here for one day and will visit two museums and have a guided walk for the students. The museum of their choice is closed that particular day so I decided to e-mail another one.  In the mail I write about the school-classes from Belgium who are in town for one day and requests a guided tour for approximately 90 students. The answer I get back:)

Reply: “Thank you for your request. Wow, 90 students is a lot… All of our guides are university students and I’m not sure if I can have enough guides for that amount. It is better if we split the group and have them visit us in three groups spread over three days. Can you ask if the group can stay three days instead of one?”

Me: *head on desk*

Tour Cried

, , , | Bucharest, Romania | Right | September 23, 2016

In order to visit the Presidential Palace (former Royal Palace), you need to make a reservation at least two days earlier. My mother and I arrive on time and wait for the tour to start when an American family of three women and four children, all related, arrive. The first sign that this is going to be fun is that, despite the receptionist telling them about the rule, they make a scene about having traveled from far, wanting to visit, etc. The tour guide decides to bend the rules for the kids and agrees to take them on. Meanwhile, the children practically pick the Reception Hall apart. Since the museum is inside a functioning Government building, you are not permitted to leave the tour without announcing to the guide and waiting for an escort.

Kid #1, around 14 years old, the first chance she gets, takes her shoes off, lies down on the floor, and reads her book. Throughout the whole tour, not once did she look at the building or listen to the guide. But, hey. At least she was quiet, I guess. Still, would she have been allowed to do the same in the White House?

Kids #2 and #3, aged between eight and ten, make a point of touching every single item labeled with a “do not touch” sign.

And my personal favourite, Kid #4. The sweet little darling is about three, obviously way too young for a 100 minute-long tour. She is running around like crazy, getting behind the cordons, climbing up on the delicate historical furniture, while not a single adult from her family, including her own mother, pays ANY attention to her. After the tour guide pleads with the accompanying adults for the hundredth time, the little hellspawn’s mother drops this pearl, saying that Kid #4 doesn’t listen to her and that the kid will just scream if she tells the kid anything, so YOU do something about the kid. She then questioned why should she leave the tour when she paid for it?!

The poor guide, and every other visitor in our group — also paying customers — had to put up with an increasingly hysterical toddler and her entire entitled entourage for the rest of the visit, except the Royal Church. By that time, our guide had finally had enough and forbade them from entering. We asked her if we’d be allowed to buy her a drink on us after all the ordeal.

False Colors

| Malta | Right | July 13, 2016

(We sell a lot of flip flops and they’re on stands helpfully organised by style and size. Most people sort themselves out but some require a little help.)

Customer: *points at shoes* “You have this in 41?”

Me: “Yes, it should be there.”

(I get up to check when she doesn’t move to take them, thinking they may have run out. However, they’re where they should be, so I hand it to her and she tries them on. They’re slightly small.)

Customer: “Give me another.”

Me: “I’m afraid we don’t have that one in a larger size.”

Customer: “No, not larger, another!” *she points towards identical ones in different colours*

Me: “Those are the same brand; they’ll fit the same…”

Customer: “Yes! Yes! Same brand!”

(I give up and give her a different colour that fits her identically.)

Customer: “Yes, perfect. I’ll take them.”

Not Have A Wale(s) Of A Time

| Wales, UK | Right | May 11, 2016

(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!”

Refunder Blunder, Part 21

| Wales, UK | Right | April 26, 2016

(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!)

 

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