Travel consultants! Prepare to clear your throats and scratch your heads as these weird customer requests- call them brain teasers or sick jokes whatsoever- could be your fill of the day; any day. Every once in a while, as you begin your day by checking the daily voicemail and other online correspondences, crammed with the regular copy-and-paste questions, there pops up a strange, rather extravagantly eccentric demand, that takes more than a mere one-hearing to understand it thoroughly.
Bizarre and absurd nevertheless, reflecting the transparent naivety of a high school student, there perhaps isn’t a set of more believable requests than the one compiled here. With ample amusement for light-hearted agents and enough of the pointed criticism for the cynics of the same field, here are a few of them from last year, brought into the spotlight solely for the correction and improvement of clients at large:
‘Can I fish off of the cruise ship?’
‘How can I get to Europe without going by air or sea?’
‘Don’t tell my fiancé this is where I took my first wife for our honeymoon.’
Now let’s give the clients something to chew on and see in retrospect. If these instances give the impression that there isn’t much thought put into the questions and requests of tourists here, to bind things together, well that’s actually because there isn’t any. And that’s quite a hurdle for consultants- figuring out the angle of the caller’s remark, considering his request to be a serious and genuine one, overcoming the embarrassment and satisfying his incredulity. Silly at times, and just pitiful at others, it would be considered ridiculous to laugh at the former ones and contemptible to crack at the latter ones, wouldn’t it?
Sandwiched in between such extremities, especially when a far-fetched request seems absurd at surface but holds a craftiness to it that hints a sarcastic design down the road, when was the last time you considered the job of a travel agent an easy one? Here’s an instance of one customer trying to drill through the common sense of an agent; asking for the impossible; I mean- ‘Can you set it up so that the whales jump in the background at the same time I’m proposing to my girlfriend?’
While it can never be stressed enough as to what to ask from a travel consultant- with a whole host of titles reminding you of the things that travel agents don’t want you to know and such know your rights stuff- the purpose of this article while celebrating Travel Agent Day, is to make clients aware of what not to ask. An agent is neither interested nor is this the place to give any irrelevant additional information.
One bloke, who didn’t somewhat understand the concept of a honeymoon asked: “Can you please book the honeymoon suite for us and another couple?” A similar one goes where the customer wanted a honeymoon plan for himself, his bride and his mother! Yet another related earshot stated: ‘Can you book two rooms in different parts of the resort – one for me and my wife and the other for my girlfriend?’Ahem Ahem…
All customer requests have their own kinds of style and comic elements and you can obviously see a lot of yourself in here as well, or that some aspects of your acquaintances might also be visible in the remarks of such nature. The comedy heightens when it sparks a pang of nostalgia. I certainly had someone in mind when I came across this one: ‘I don’t want a window seat on the plane because I just had my hair done.’
The further the agents experienced with random clients, whose admissions regarding Geography not being their strongest bent back in the days of academia, the more enlightened they got with time. Baffled that he wouldn’t be able to visit Denmark and Scotland on the same excursion, a client educated the agent with such a nugget of wisdom: ‘But they’re only an inch apart on the map!’ Ouch! One episode had too much of it and when it finally culminated, it culminated with a bang… ‘Will you watch my pet while I’m away?’ Bet that’s going to leave a mark.
Now the joke would be a saving grace, if it weren’t for the fact that the gags are just not laughable. Comprising mostly of long since overused clichés, many of the teases come off as “so what”. There is not much worth chuckling at, and it gets even worse once you realize that the weak attempts at comedy are deficient in any sort of wit, tang or presence of mind. Check this one out: ‘Do they speak English in Britain?’ That brief two- minute call is oftentimes more frustrating than the weekly performance meeting with the boss.
The fact that such strange requests even exist verifies and demonstrates that there actually is some minority that is either turned on or amused by this lowbrow kind of thing. And if you fit this demographic, hopefully you’ll find other ways to amuse yourself. As for that majority of tourists, whose modus operandi excludes doing their homework before dialling the number, causing such an incongruity between them and the consultants that they’ll hopefully be more careful next time.