Straight-Talking Travel Agency

| Tel Aviv, Israel | Right | July 19, 2013

Me: “Hello, this is [travel agency]; how can I help you?”

Customer: “Hello. I bought a tour to Prague from you a while ago, and yesterday I googled the hotel and… uh…”

Me: “Yes?…”

Customer: “Well, there’s lots of reviews online saying that the hotel is favored by homosexuals and lesbians.”

Me: “Really?”

Customer: “Yes. I’d like a different hotel, if you don’t mind.”

Me: “Are you sure? It could be fun!”

Customer: *laughing* “I’m not sure about that. I’m coming there with my wife, you know.”

Me: “Think about it. You’re going abroad for an exotic experience. Why not go all the way and choose a hotel with a difference?”

Customer: “I still think I’d be uncomfortable there. I have nothing against gay people, but still—”

Me: “There’s no reason you should be uncomfortable… Unless, of course, you’re having certain doubts…”

Customer: “No doubts, thank you. But how do I explain it to my wife?”

Me: “Just tell her that if she doesn’t behave herself, you’ll leave her for another man.”

Customer: *laughing hard* “Sold!”

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Be Chairful What You Ask For

| Australia | Working | March 28, 2013

(My colleague has been dealing with an agent who wants to book a last-minute tour for his client. Unfortunately, the tour is solid-booked and the operators have told us that there are no more seats. I get the agent on the callback.)

Agent: “You have to book this tour! She wants this tour! I want you to call the supplier right now and tell them that you only have one more client to fit on the bus.”

Me: “Sir, my colleague told you yesterday as I will tell you now: the bus is a coach and there are absolutely NO more seats available. I cannot physically book your client in.”

Agent: “Give me my rep’s number!”

Me: “I’m telling you, he won’t be able to get you a seat, either.”

(I give the agent their rep’s number. The agent reads the number back to me.)

Agent: “I called that number last night and he wasn’t answering. I want this tour!”

Me: “Sir, here’s the thing: say by some miracle I DO manage to book this in for your client. She is going to be standing in the aisle of a moving coach, travelling at high speeds, over some very unkempt roads between Johannesburg and Cape Town. Now, are you going to be the one to take the blame when she comes back to you after being away for nearly three weeks demanding her money back?”

(There’s a pause while the agent considers what I’ve said. Eventually, they come to their senses.)

Agent: “…Do you do custom-made itineraries?”

He’s Not All Aboard

| Tel Aviv, Israel | Right | December 13, 2012

Customer: “Hello, I’m calling to make sure that my flight back to Israel departs as scheduled, and that my request for a kosher meal has been approved.”

Me: “Sir, your ticket has already expired. Your flight was on May 15th.”

Customer: “What?!? That’s not possible! I am absolutely sure that my flight is on May 29th!”

Me: “Sir, have you perhaps changed your ticket’s return date?”

Customer: “No way! I would remember that! I’m not senile. My flight is on May 29th and I did not change my ticket!”

Me: “The computer says your flight was on May 15th. Could you look at the printout of your ticket and tell me what date appears there?”

Customer: “Oh, my God…”

Me: “Sir?”

Customer: “I forgot! I completely forgot! I am calling you from Netanya! I already am back in Israel!”

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Have Ambiguity, Will Travel

| Fort Collins, CO, USA | Right | October 21, 2012

Customer: “I need some maps.”

Me: “Maps of what?”

Customer: “Places.”

Me: “What kind of places?”

Customer: “Other places!”

Giving Customer Service A Bad Name

| USA | Working | August 17, 2012

(I overhear my coworker speaking to a customer.)

Customer: “Hi, I’m Ms. Cheng. I’m looking for an Alex?”

Coworker: “Oh, yes. That’s me. Please sit down, Mrs. Cheng.”

Customer: “Oh it’s just Miss. I’m not married.”

Coworker: “You aren’t Chinese, but your surname is.”

(Note: the customer indeed doesn’t appear to be Chinese, but looks white.)

Customer: “I get that a lot. One of my great grandfathers is, so I’m actually part Chinese. Guess I’m too far down the tree to look like it.”

Coworker: “Well, good thing you’re a girl. Your children won’t have a misleading surname.”

Customer: “…Excuse me?”

Coworker: “I hope you don’t have a brother to carry on that misleading surname.”

Customer: “Uh, can I get someone else to do my travel?”

(Luckily, the manager overheard all this and called the employee to the back for a talk, and had someone else take over!)

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