Do You Have Clients Who Need a Sign? | TravelResearchOnline


Do You Have Clients Who Need a Sign?

Maybe it’s me.  Maybe it’s the hot weather we’ve been experiencing in Nashville that’s fried my brain.  Maybe it’s the law of numbers.  But, somehow, we seem to have gotten our fair share of local yokels lately.  Bill Engvall is a good ole’ Southern boy, who is part of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour.  He does a set called “Here’s Your Sign”.  His philosophy is that there are some people in this world who are just too stupid to go outside.  These people need a sign that warns others:  “I’m Stupid!”           

A few years ago, Charlie, my husband and business partner,  was demonstrating a new software package, and one of the people looking at it saw some of the comments Charlie had put in for the client.  It read:  “Your cruise has been cancelled because you are just too darned stupid to go out of the country.”  The guy looking at the software got a real chuckle out of it.  The problem is, it’s true.

Here’s just a few examples of our clients who need a sign.  I’m sure you have your quota of them also.

  • Charlie came into the office early on a Friday morning.  The phone rang at 7:30.  He answered it, and could tell from the first words of this lady’s voice that she was in an excited state.  She informed him that she was leaving on vacation on Saturday and had forgotten to renew her passport.  With a knot in his stomach, while trying to remain calm as he pulled the client’s record up, the client hastened to inform him that the reason she had forgotten her passport was that she was a middle-school teacher, it was year-end, she had been busy with final exams and report cards, and had simply forgotten to do it.  Charlie pulled up her record and discovered she was indeed leaving on Saturday.  When he said to her, “Ma’am, you’re going to Hawaii” and she anxiously replied, “I know, and I don’t have my passport”, Charlie explained to her that Hawaii was like Kentucky.  She didn’t need a passport..  CLICK.  Here’s your sign.  And, she is a – drumroll, please –  SCHOOL TEACHER!!!  Sure hope it’s not geography.
  • A lady called our office in March. “I need to know what time my flight leaves on Sunday for my cruise.”  Our agent looked up her record and told her the departure time.  The lady said, “Oh, I know that.  But, Sunday the time changes to daylight savings time.  What time do I need to be at the airport?”  Again, our agent gives her the time.  This time the lady got frustrated, and said, “But is it the same time as today?”  Finally, our agent tells her that the time change occurs at 2:00 am on Sunday morning, BUT, she can move her clock ahead BEFORE going to bed so she will be on the correct time.  Here’s your sign.
  • We got a call for an Alaskan cruise in September.  Our agent told the customer all about the cruise and ports.  The woman stopped our agent in mid-sentence and said, “I’m not giving you any money unless you will guarantee me that the glaciers will still be out then.”  Our agent put her on-hold so she wouldn’t laugh out loud over the phone.  She buzzed Charlie and told him the story, Charlie’s response was “Take her money and GUARANTEE her that if the glaciers are not out, then we have a lot bigger problem than her payment of her cruise.  Here’s your sign.
  • A client called wanting to go someplace warm.  Our agent suggested somewhere in the Caribbean.  The client said, “Oh, no, we don’t want to fly.  What about Hawaii?”  Here’s your sign, and a hint.  To our knowledge there isn’t a bridge that stretches between the Western United States and Hawaii.
  • One of our agents keeps getting calls from a man who only calls her from a phone booth.  Seems he can’t afford a phone.  Yet, he still wants to go on a cruise, and wants her to assure him that the rates will still be valid when he has the money – in about six months.  Here’s two signs.
  • A couple of years ago, there was some severe flooding in the mid-West.  The Mississippi River was flooding everywhere.  We got a call from a lady who had an Alaskan cruise booked who was afraid that this flooding was going to affect her cruise.  She just knew the ship couldn’t get up the river to pick her up.  Never once did our agent ever say anything like that to her, but she just knew she was not going to be able to get to Alaska – two months later.  Here’s your sign.
  • We are constantly getting people who call and when our agents ask if they need air with their land package or cruise, are very upset and will say, “Of course, I want air.  It’s hot down there!”  Here’s your sign.
  • A number of years ago, a man called me one afternoon to book a cruise.  I asked if he preferred an inside or outside cabin (this was before we began calling them oceanview).  He was shocked that I’d even ask that question.  “I definitely want a cabin INSIDE the ship.”  Oops.  Here’s your sign.
  • We once escorted a group on a Southern Caribbean cruise.  One of our clients came through San Juan customs on the way back to the U.S. drinking a beer.  When I tell you they searched his luggage, I not only mean they took everything out, they removed the lining from his luggage as well.  Here’s your sign.
  • We once did a group on a popular date and the ship had sold out.  A man called our office to inquire about the cruise, and when we told him the ship was sold out, he inquired plaintively, “Hey, man, cain’t they just get a bigger boat!”  Here’s your sign.
  • Charlie mystery shopped a competitor that was promoting a group cruise on one of our local radio stations.  He told the agent who answered the phone he was 63, his wife was 59, and asked what she recommended.  She replied that a cabin with upper and lower bunks on the bottom “layer” of the “boat” would be best.  When he asked her about the “boat”, she told him there were seven “layers”, and that being on the bottom would be better because if the ship turned over, then we’d be closer to the top.  To a fellow travel agent, here’s your NEON sign!!
  • And, here’s my favorite.  A woman called us to book a cruise and asked, “If my boyfriend can’t get out of jail before the cruise, can I change the name and bring someone else?”  Here’s your sign – and I truly think she needs more than just a sign for the type of help she needs.

  6 thoughts on “Do You Have Clients Who Need a Sign?

  1. Linda Furlan, MCC says:

    Outstanding article…and, unfortunately, all-too-true! There really ARE clients out there that are THAT stupid… some of them even teachers (and assorted other such “educated” people). I know: I get them, too! I also CRINGED when you described that other so-called “agent” referring to ships as “boats,” and decks as “layers.” Yikes! A big, bright NEON sign for them, indeed!

  2. John Frenaye says:

    Great stories. I am in the BWI market and one that we get all the time is the BWI-ORD and the time change.

    They can’t grasp that the flight is 2 hours yet the time is only one hour later—one client insisted we did not know what we were talking about and huffed out claiming that if it was only an hour, he could drive it!

    Another client would not understand it and finally we just said the plane goes really really fast and that seemed to appease her!

  3. Beth says:

    When I was a newbie, I had an elderly woman come in for a ticket to Florida. When I asked her what city, she replied, “Do I have to tell you now? Can’t I just get off when I feel like it?” She thought it was like a Greyhound bus.

  4. Zuberi Yara says:

    This really sounds funny, but sadly it’s true. I called a client to get her cabin location preference. I gave her several suggestions like close to elevator, middle of the ship to give her ideas on locations. She stated she wanted to be close to the kitchen since she liked to eat, but not too close since she didn’t want to hear pots and pans banging. HUH?

  5. Oh no, my favorite is the 20+ year veteran travel agent that told a middle school group that they need passports for their school trip to ….. Washington, DC!!!!

  6. As an agent who has escorted a great many tour groups myself, my all time favorite story belongs to a tour company owner I know who was escorting a group to Cancan. Less than ten minutes after arrival at their luxury resort, one woman marched up to her and angrily demanded to return to the U.S immediately. Why? “Nobody told me there’d be Mexicans staying at this hotel!” I’ve had my own share of inane questions and “unusual” responses, but this one was in a class by itself.

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