Tales from the Secret Agent: The day trip to Sydney

By Lisa James
Home » Tales from the Secret Agent: The day trip to Sydney

We’re in an enviable position that most of our clients are repeat bookers and, with regular customers popping in, the office atmosphere is usually fun and laid back.

This afternoon a lady arrives. Judging by the way she badly parks her Range Rover over two spaces outside, she is in a rush and is clearly annoyed that she has to wait 10 minutes while I’m finishing up with another customer.

While she’s waiting, she makes a big thing about looking at her watch every couple of minutes and huffs and puffs constantly, just to let me know, in no uncertain terms, that she is not very happy.

It’s her turn and she throws herself into the seat in front of me and tells me she’s been recommended by one of my favourite clients.

In that case, I’m keen to work with her.

Her daughter is in Australia and she’s now in a position to go and visit her.

So far so good. This sounds like a great booking.

However, that feeling lasts about another 30 seconds as she starts reeling off her list of demands.

“I’m on a very tight budget,” says Mrs Range Rover driver.

I don’t believe her, but I let her carry on.

“I’ve been on Skyscanner, so I know the flight prices to Brisbane,” she barks at me.

“What I need is YOU,” she says, as she points her finger into my face, “to get me a better price”.

“Then a flight to Sydney for a day so I can see the Opera House and a show if they are not charging outrageous prices.

“I want to see Melbourne, Tasmania and possibly New Zealand,” she adds.

I decide to see if I can work with her and start by saying a day is not really enough in Sydney, but she interrupts me.

“Well, that’s why I’m here. To use your ‘apparent’ expertise,” she retorts, using ‘air quote fingers’ to underline the word ‘apparent’.

I try again a couple of times to explain she needs more time in Sydney – to no avail – so I decide not to take it any further.

“Madam,” I say: “We offer a very personal service as your friend who recommended you will confirm, but  I don’t think we can offer you what you are looking for and we are not the right agency for you.”

This is obviously not what she wants to hear and she replies: “Well, you can just give me a quote and I’ll decide if you’re the right agency for me and I’ll decide if I want to give YOU my business.”

Realising I need to bring this to an end and, grateful for once that the shop is empty, I say: “Listen, you’re not understanding me.

“I do not want to deal with you or your enquiry. Your attitude stinks and I’m not prepared to be treated like s**t on your shoe.

“You might get away with your behaviour elsewhere, but it won’t work here. Now get out of my office.”

With her face now looking like The Scream by Munch, she tries to get some words out but realises she’s met her match and gets up and leaves.

Now, before I’m criticised on Twitter, or X, or whatever it’s called this week, can I just say that I hate confrontation and I’m actually shaking, but I know I’ve done the right thing.

I can already imagine the calls from Australia at two in the morning from her, demanding all sorts, so I’m confident I’ve dodged a bullet.

Unlike the boomerangs they have Down Under, I really hope this client never comes back.

Onwards and upwards….

Read more Secret Agent tales here.

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