Saturday, June 17, 2006

Adventures of a travel agent

True Stories From My Desk

Yesterday, I received a call from a man: "I'm Dr. G... I want to take a luxury cruise to Bhutan."

Me: "Can you hold the line for a minute?" I placed him on hold, fell on the floor laughing. My collegues rushed to my desk -- was I having an epileptic seizure? No, just stupid client call. You see, Bhutan is a small kingdom in the Himalayas, completely landlocked, between India and China.

Me: "Thank you for waiting, Dr. G. There are no cruises that would be suitable, nothing goes to Bhutan. It is surrounded by China and India."

Dr. G: "Look, I'm an American Express Platinum member. I am a member of Andrew Harper's Q Club, and I'm a very busy man."

Me: "I understand. But, sir, there are no cruises that can accommodate you. I do have a guide in Bhutan who is amazing. I can arrange a trip with him."

Dr. G: "I've already contacted Aman Resorts. Give me his name."

Me: "I don't think so. If you want me to plan and book a trip for you, I am happy to supply his name. But otherwise, not."

Dr. G: "Look I contacted you because I thought you could get me a deal. Keep me posted."

Me: "Oh, yes, absolutely. Buh-bye." Arrogant prick. I deal with a lot of luxury clients, and most of them know geography. At one point, I thought he was going to tell me to build a ship and a canal to get him to Bhutan. He wants a cruise and that's that.

People have called me to see if they can rent a car and drive from Los Angeles to Hawaii. They ask if they need to exchange money to go to Alaska, or if they speak English in Alaska.

The clients I just fired a couple of months ago were geographically challenged, and also booked their travel based upon which of their A-list friends have stayed where. I'm sure that now that Brad & Angelina have gone to Africa, the ex-clients will have to go. But she'll want to be sure that no animals harm other animals while she's there.

For a while, I worked for a company that only worked with travel agents. An agent called, upset. Her complaint? No one told her the Great Barrier Reef of Australia was under water. She said she would never have sent her clients there, because they couldn't see it. Sigh.


The Fat Lady Sings said...

Thank you my dear for my first really good laugh of the day! Take a cruise to Bhutan! God almighty - how in hell did these people ever make the kind of money that allows them to flaunt their stupidity with such aplomb! Sometimes it just gets my goat that such stupid people are swimming with golden fishes. And about Africa? Brittany Spears is currently in talks with the COUNTRY of Namibia about having her baby there. No lie. I heard it on Olberman. Now please excuse me while I go bang my head against a wall!

robin andrea said...

Perfect depiction of why the world is going straight to hell on a very expensive cruise ship. Forget re-arranging the deck chairs, they're line dancing on the Titanic.

DivaJood said...

Thanks, TFLS, I'm glad I provided a good laugh. In my secret life, I do improv comedy (well, I really am taking classes) and the world is my looking glass. This guy is an MD.

And you're right, robin andrea -- they are line dancing on the Titanic indeed. Another doctor told an agent friend of mine that he knows that at low tide, you can walk from the North Island of New Zealand to the South Island. She, being from New Zealand, said "You are an idiot, don't ever call me again." Doctors!

Sigrid Jardin said...

These are priceless, your travel agent anecdotes! But all too believable. I've had people ask me, in all seriousness, if that "island" over there was Hawaii. We were standing in Santa Cruz looking across the 40 mile wide Monterey Bay at the Monterey Peninsula! Ummmm, sure - can't you see the palm trees waving??

DivaJood said...

SJ, you mean that's NOT Hawaii? -- hilarious. Just some people should not leave their houses, let alone the country.

Alanna said...

I have a degree in Tourism (from the geography department) and it is a definite pet peeve of mine when people are so oblivious to the world... how do they navigate through life???

DivaJood said...

Alanna, it amazes me how blind people can be. I send a lot of people to Australia. But I get a lot of calls from people who want to go to Australia to visit Vienna. I just scratch my head.

Helen Wheels said...

HIlarious!! Not for you, though :)

It's like my stories of clients when I was a helpdesk tech. Oh lordy.

These people are much more clueless though. Good lord!!!

DivaJood said...

Helen, yes, money does not necessarily breed intelligence, does it?

pohanginapete said...

Unbelieveable. At least, I wish it was. Maybe every bit of brain he had was directed towards making money?

And it's not limited to geography. A doctor once told a friend that the ulcer she'd sought treatment for was caused by a spider bite (almost certainly a wrong diagnosis), and that these spiders lay their eggs under your skin.

But maybe doctors are good at their profession: after all, laughter is the best medicine.

DivaJood said...

Kia ora, Pete. You must love the doctor that told that agent that he knows at low tide you can walk from Wellington to Picton. Just between you and me, I want to retire in Nelson and be a potter -- best clay I've EVER worked with.