A gentleman I’ve booked before comes in with his latest girlfriend to book a holiday to Malaga.
He’s obviously trying to impress her as it’s a ‘five-star, money-no-object’ conversation.
It’s quickly established that he’s your typical ‘champagne taste and beer money’ kind of guy. We opt for a nice four-star property on a half-board basis, with a reasonable price of £780 per person, and I can see his face change immediately.
“Maybe I can drop down a star if pricing is an issue?” I suggest. “There are some good three-star hotels I can recommend.”
Of course, that sounds perfect. “Let’s do it,“ he says.
And so we do it.
Fast forward to today and a call from him confirms he’ll not be travelling after all. Instead, his lady friend will be holidaying with a girlfriend and I’m given permission to make the necessary change.
I tell him I’ll get him a price to amend the name and get an all-too-predictable response. “Why are they charging me to change?” he rants. “It’s still a bum on a seat and this is a very expensive holiday.”
He tells me that his lady friend will come in to sort it out.
Five minutes later she storms into the shop with a face like thunder. Luckily, I’m in the midst of a serious bout of man flu so I’m ready.
“I can’t understand why they are charging to change the name,” is her opening gambit.
Considering she didn’t pay a penny for the trip, I’m surprised she’s bothered, but I explain the wonders of holiday bookings and the complex change fees.
“Well, I’ve seen Malaga holidays a lot less than ‘we’ paid,” is her next comeback.
Silently, I think: I’m sure you have, and if you would have been more at home staying at the one-star banana apartments round the back of the bus station, I’m sure we could have booked that for you.
“We better have a good room with views at this price,” she says, wind ebbing from her sails. I tell her it’s a standard room, but that the hotel does have sea view rooms, suites and even a penthouse if she fancies upgrading?
This shuts her up for a while. Every time she opens her mouth again, the amendment fee – including our service fee – is increasing in my head.
Defeat admitted, she rings the lucky friend who she plans to spend a week with (looking at a brick wall from her hotel balcony) and puts her on speakerphone. Sadly, the pal has come to her senses and can no longer go.
“Oh dear,” I tell her, “you’ll need to find someone as soon as possible as the charges will only increase…”
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