Sometimes customers are great.

Posted on Sunday August 24 2014 in life

As you may know, during the summer I have a job selling tour bus tickets. Tourists are an odd bunch. You'd think that people on holiday would be happy, relaxed, not in a rush...or is that just me?

You do get some tourists like that. Then there are the other 90% who are rude, impatient, and think you can pull buses out of your arse. Cities have traffic, we can't control that, no you can't get a refund because you've been waiting ten minutes for an every eight minute service that's pulling up right now!

Then there are the ones where you just wonder how they managed to actually organise themselves for long enough to pack some clothes, get on a plane and get to a hotel. The clueless ones. Examples:

Tourist: "How far away is Glasgow?"
Me: "About forty miles, I think. It takes fifty minutes on the train, I know that."
Tourist: "Oh, I used to live in Glasgow, about 25 years ago".
[Conversation moves to other things for maybe three minutes]
Tourist: "Are we in Glasgow just now?"
Me: "...no."

Me: "So your ticket is valid on the green buses for 24 hours-"
Tourist: [Pointing to the red bus and the green bus parked behind me] "Which bus is the green bus?"
Me: "See this green one to your left? That one."
Tourist: "Aaaah, the green bus is green!"
[That one happens at least once a day]

Tourist: [points to hotel] "Is that the castle?"
Me: "No, that's a hotel."
Tourist: [Points to monument before I can point out the massive castle right behind them] "Is that the castle?"
Me: "Look behind you, the castle's over there."
Tourist: "I wondered what that was, it was on all the brochures!"
[Tourists being unable to recognise the main attraction in the city they've generally paid a lot of money to visit never ceases to amaze me. Variations of this exchange also happen at least once a day.]

But my favourite customers this year were not clueless. (I say that like I've finished for the year, I haven't, I have four more shifts...nobody's beating these guys though.) They were a choir, from Poland, who had put their money together to go on a tour but didn't quite have enough. My manager let me put some of them through as children (they were all students, 35 in total) so that they would have enough money to cover the fare. In return, while I was printing out 35 long tickets (which takes a while), they sang me a song. I have no idea what it was, it was in Polish, but it was very cheery and they were all smiling and everyone around us was smiling. It had hand clapping and waving actions involved and everything.

The best customers are the unexpected customers!


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