Not Quite A Navy Seal

| ME, USA | Romantic | November 17, 2014

(My husband and I are kayaking in Maine. My husband is not what you would call an outdoorsman.)

Me: “Oh, look! Seals! Look!”

(There are about 20 seals that have just appeared and are swimming along with us and being extremely cute.)

Me: “This is so great. Isn’t this awesome?”

(I look back at him, to find that he looks extremely anxious.)

Husband: “We should probably get back to shore, right?”

Me: “Why? This is amazing!”

Husband: “What if they try to knock us out?”

Me: “What? Why would they do that?”

Husband: “To eat us!”

Me: “…babe, seals don’t do that. Seals don’t eat people.”

Husband: “Well, maybe these ones do. Maybe they’ve gone carnivorous.”

Me: “They’re already carnivorous. They eat fish. They’re not going to hurt you, they’re just curious and looking at us. Oh, look, a baby one!”

Husband: “Well, what if they got the taste for mammal blood somehow?”

(Long pause while I consider what he’s just said.)

Me: “Honey, are you scared of the seals because you’ve subconsciously internalized a subplot from Arrested Development?”

(Another long pause.)

Husband: “Maybe.”

(We stayed out with the seals for another hour. They did not try to eat us.)

You Can’t Get Llanfairer Than That

| Wales, UK | Working | November 10, 2014

(A young-ish Australian couple come in. They are keen as beans to try EVERY attraction in the area and I spend a good half hour helping them plan an itinerary for their camping holiday, choosing maps and guide books. They’ve paid for all their purchases and are about to leave, when…)

Customer: “I have to apologise to you, for what I am about to ask you.”

Me: “Um, well, I can try and help. What’s the question?”

Customer: “Can… oh, sorry, but please, can you say it?”

Me: “Say what, sorry?”

Customer’s Husband: “Leave the poor lady alone. We’ve taken enough of her time.”

Customer: *pleadingly* “Please, can you say the town with the long name?”

Me: “Since you asked so nicely… it is pronounced


Customer: *jumping up and down with excitement* “Oh, yay! OH, YAY! THANK YOU! A real Welsh person speaking real Welsh!”

(My colleague chooses this moment to walk back in from her lunch break and inflict her dry humour on the room.)

Colleague: “[My Name] is English. She moved here five years ago. AND Llanfair PG is made up. It’s not proper Welsh at all.”

(I have never seen anybody’s face drop so quickly as the poor customer’s!)

Colleague: “But she DID pronounce it correctly.”

(Customer cheers up again, and leaves with her husband.)

Colleague: “What, you were going to let her live a lie?! You animal!”

In A Muddle Over The Mobble

| Wales | Right | October 22, 2014

(Most of our visitors are from England, and although we’re familiar with the ‘tourist’ pronunciations of a lot of town names, sometimes they manage to pronounce something so crazy that we have to ask them to spell it, which for us, usually spells trouble…)

Customer: *a smartly-dressed older lady* “Hi. I want to get to Mobblegarnith.”

Me: “Mobblegarnith? I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of it. Did you perhaps mean [Town Name In Cheshire]? It’s a good two-and-a-half hours from here.”

Customer: “It must be near here; I think we passed a sign for it on our way in.”

Me: “Well, the nearest town to here that begins with ‘M’ is [Town Name].”

Customer: “No. Not there.”

Me: “Well, how about [another nearby town name that begins with ‘M’]?”

Customer: “No. Not there either.”

Me: “What about [town that doesn’t begin with ‘M’ but roughly rhymes with the ‘garnith’ part]?”

Customer: “No, no, NO, stupid! It’s not there. It’s Mobblegarnith!” *slowly and louder* “MOBBLE. GARNITH!”

Me: “I’m ever so sorry, but could you spell it for me? Or perhaps tell me a name of another town you passed by where you saw the signs?”

Customer: “Oh for crying out loud. M. A. C. H. Y—”

Me: “Oh! You mean Machynlleth?! That’s a good hour from us, and it’s back the way you came from [Their Hometown].”

Customer: “Yes, finally! Mobblegarnith. I don’t get why you Welsh people have to pronounce it differently just to wind us English up. It’s CLEARLY Mobblegarnith.”

Me: “I assure you it’s not deliberate. The Welsh alphabet is just a tiny bit bigger than the English one. We actually have 28 letters versus your 26, so we have to combine some of the letters in the alphabet to finish making up our alphabet. The pronunciations are all right once you get used to them, though.”

Customer: “Don’t lecture me, young lady! Your alphabet is nothing more than silly lies; if you’d been properly educated you’d know how to pronounce all these places. Now, could you please, very kindly, if it is not too much trouble, tell me how to get to Mobblegarnith?”

Me: “Right, okay. I can print you some map directions if you like?”

Customer: *sarcastically* “Thank you, you are most kind.”

Me: *prints maps and hands them to customer* “Here you go! Road directions to Machynlleth. Since you had such trouble getting here, I’ll waive the printing fee.”

Customer: “For goodness’ sakes, girl, say it PROPERLY.”

Me: *dying a bit inside* “I hope you have a safe journey to Mobblegarnith.”

Customer: *gives a satisfied nod, and turns on her heels to leave*

1 Thumbs

Has No Reservations With Her ‘Babies’

| Wales, UK | Right | October 21, 2014

(As part of the tourist information service, we offer to arrange accommodation for visitors. Mostly these people turn up on the day, but occasionally we do get a few phone calls ahead of time. Usually these callers are elderly and therefore without Internet to look for their own accommodation.)

Me: “Bore da, Canolfan Groeso [Town]. Sut ga’ i helpu chi? Good morning, [Town] Tourist Information. How may I help you?”

Customer: “Oh, yes, please. I need a bed and breakfast for a week.”

Me: “Sure, I can try and find you vacancies. I can either pass on accommodation details or complete the booking for you, for a small fee deductible from the overall accommodation cost.”

Customer: “Great. I’d like to book through you if I can.”

Me: “Well, I’ll do my best. I’d like to know a little more about your itinerary if I may. I’ll need your name and phone number first of all, and then the dates you’d like from and to, as well as the number of your party.”

Customer: “Well, my name is [Customer] and my contact number is [Number]. I’d like anything for a fortnight in August, really. And there’s seven of us.”

Me: “Okay. I will just let you know now, that I may have to call you back the following day, rather than within the hour, unless you’re willing to compromise. Most accommodation for [Town] gets booked up over a year ahead. Placing seven of you for a fortnight may be difficult. If you don’t mind self-catering I can see if any of our larger registered properties have had cancellations.”

Customer: “Oh,dearie; they’re only small.”

Me: “Wait a minute… the seven. Asides yourself, are the other six in your party adults or children?”

Customer: “It’s me and my six babies.”

Me: *nearly choking since the customer sounds to be in her 70s* “Excuse me, just to clarify; you did say SIX babies?”

Customer: “That’s right, dearie. They’re only small. We’d all fit in one room. I usually let them sleep in my bed.”

Me: “Um, ma’am, just so you’re aware, most accommodators will not take more than two children per adult, particularly with infants, since if there were unfortunately a fire it might be that you could not get all of your children out safely. I really think you’d be best off searching for self-catering in a bungalow or chalet where it’s all on the ground floor.”

Customer: “Nonsense, dearie; their little legs work just fine. I often get a wrenched shoulder when I take them for walkies.”

Me: *twigging* “Ma’am, when you say seven in your party, do you mean yourself and six dogs?”

Customer: “Of course I do, dearie! But not just ANY dogs. They’re Westies you know. They’re all so sweet.”

Me: “I appreciate that they probably are, ma’am, but I can tell you now that none of the accommodators in [Town] will take six dogs. We have to push to get them to accept two or three per room. I honestly feel you’d be better off trying to self-cater. We have some farm accommodation that runs bed, breakfast ,and self-catering. You could try booking into a self-catering for a fortnight and then paying for breakfast by a separate arrangement?”

Customer: “What do people have against my babies? They’re all so sweet. How could anybody turn them down?”

Me: “Ma’am, I am sure they are great dogs – and please do not take offence – but I’m afraid not everybody is a dog lover, and some people have allergies. I also think that the majority of B&B accommodators may worry about noise with that many dogs. If you self-catered you’d have a whole cottage or bungalow to yourself. If you booked into a farm then you could leave them in the apartment whilst you went over for breakfast. Some of our farm accommodators even provide dog food for your stay, for an extra charge.”

Customer: “Nobody will hate my babies! Leave them in the apartment? No! They must have places at the table for every meal! EVERY meal!” *click*

Me: *down the now dead phone line* “Oooookay, then. Good luck finding somewhere.”

(She never called back, I’ve yet to hear from any of our accommodators as to whether she tried to book!)

1 Thumbs

Desist The Tourist Assist

, , , , | Bali, Indonesia | Right | October 6, 2014

(I’m Indonesian and I live in an area where there are lots of tourists. Being Bali itself, there are barely any traffic laws enforced and lots of tourists tend to rent out scooters and treat them like toys. I’m turning into my favorite restaurant at a T-junction with no red light and my blinkers on, and today I felt like being extra cautious since the scooter I borrowed is my friend’s. I slow down and see a tourist and her son far away in the opposite direction but as I cross from the other side of the street, I see her actually speed up in her attempt to pass me when clearly there is a hump coming up. It’s rainy season so the roads are wet and of course when she tries to brake while going 40 miles/hour the bike violently slides. I am watching the whole thing since I have already parked my motorbike. Luckily no one was badly hurt.)

Me: “Are you all right, lady?”

Tourist: “This is your fault, you stupid girl! That was an illegal turn!”

Me: “Well, no, that wasn’t illegal. This is a two-way road.”

Tourist: “You apologize and you go pay for my bike!”

Me: “No, you were going too fast on rainy day. I had my blinkers on and clearly about to turn in. I saw you and you were far away.”

Tourist: “I don’t care! I have an international license!”

Me: “I’m sorry, but that doesn’t mean anything, especially when you drive like that! I’m sorry this happened though. I suggest you go to the mechanics. They’ll fix up the scratches and it’s really cheap. Don’t go to the place where you rented the bike or they’ll make you pay $100.”

Tourist: “So you admit it? It’s your fault!”

Me: “I meant sorry this had to happen to you, not sorry my bad. Lady, I did nothing wrong. In fact I was actually trying to help you out!”

Tourist: “No, this is your fault! You owe me money! YOU OWE ME MONEY!”

(I look at the bike, it’s brand new but with a few scratches because of the crash. While the argument just goes back and forth, her son is clearly huddled under a tree crying and also he was wearing NO helmet while riding on the back with his mother.)


Me: “Lady, go ahead. I’m not worried. But clearly the money seems more important to you than your son who could be injured.”

(She looks at her son who is in shock. She asks him if he’s all right and takes a second to check for any bleeding and then goes back to me.)

Me: “If you’d like I can point you towards the closest hospital or clinic.”

Tourist: “NO! You owe me money! You are just a stupid girl! I’m calling the cops! Give me your address, phone number, and the money!”

Me: “Lady, I have no money! Not on me and certainly not enough in the bank and if I did I wouldn’t give any of it to you! I’ve offered to go to the mechanics with you but I’m not paying a cent for your own negligence! I’m a painter, lady! I’m broke!”

Tourist: “Well, I’m broke, too!”

Me: “Right, you’re so broke you rented a brand new bike during your vacation in Bali. Here let me call the police for you.”

(At this point I decided to call my boyfriend’s mom, a cop who is head of the district we’re in. As I’m calling I began to tear up a bit from all the frustration. I wait on the phone for a good five minutes until the tourist gave up and asked me for my number to show her a good mechanic. And after that full hour of arguing, she didn’t even feel it important enough follow through on the mechanic BECAUSE SHE WAS LATE FOR A MASSAGE!)

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