As a travel agent I took part in some of the most anticipated times of my customer’s lives. They dreamed of going on holiday to a secluded beach, a romantic city, or a hell raising stag or hen weakened to see out their days as a single person. It’s a dream job – or so it’s perceived. What you also get are customers who return from holiday when things didn’t go as dreamingly as predicted.
There are all kinds of customers, customers with no money who know they will end up with something cheap and cheerful, there are also the ones who truly do have enough money to travel round the world in luxury, and then, there are the ones who feel the need to elevate themselves on just a meager budget. They enjoy nothing better than to turn their friends green with envy at their long haul holiday in the sun, what they don’t divulge however, is that they went with a charter airline to a three star all inclusive hotel where they didn’t dare venture outside the complex for two weeks. One such lady took a holiday to the Caribbean with the company that started the travel revolution.
She travelled to Barbados in September, the hurricane season, and although she had been advised about the possible weather conditions, it did rain rather more than she had expected. However, that was not the cause of the compliant letter on her return. The letter arrived in a padded envelope; perhaps she had included a gift of appreciation? No, in fact, it included a pair of socks, blue socks.
The socks were part of the ‘amenity pack’ issued by the airline on her return flight home – you know the ones, they have earplugs, eye mask, wet wipe, and socks. In all my time travelling I’ve only ever seen a handful of people actually use these socks, the one size fits all philosophy doesn’t seem to ‘fit’. But, this lady had used every single amenity she could get her hands on; after all, she’d paid for it. The subject of her complaint wasn’t that the socks had cut off her circulation causing her feet to go blue; no, it was that because her feet were hot and sweaty, the colour had come out of the socks and had stained her feet. She had included the socks so they could be sent away to a laboratory for testing.
She felt that some compensation was in order because of the stress having blue feet had caused her. There were two reasons for the distress, firstly, on her return she had to visit the chiropodist which was terribly embarrassing with blue feet. Secondly, she had to buy a new pair of shoes, because despite scrubbing and using bleach, she had been unable to remove the blue dye from here feet, and the colour simply didn’t go with her pink strappy sandals.
You see, the life of a travel agent is not as glamorous as you think, apart from a shoe shop assistant, who else comes into contact with worn sweaty socks? That wasn’t in the job description.