A regular client with bad walking issues calls in with his no-nonsense Glaswegian wife, who quite frankly terrifies me.
They have come in to sort out their cruise for next year.
There are numerous requirements, including assistance for both of them as – even though she’s fit and healthy – the last time they flew, the special assistance staff at Bristol airport tried to whisk the husband away in a wheelchair, leaving her behind.
She was having none of that and, like a bulldog chewing a wasp, she insisted that she accompany him all the way to the ambulift.
This time I’m informed she will limp all the way to check-in to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
The holiday is a cruise-and-stay and the hotel they have chosen for the stay is what we in the trade would lovingly describe as ‘at the top of cardiac hill’.
I explain this to them and, while the husband is showing concern, the wife has decided that, as she likes the look of the pool, he will just have to put up with it.
A mumbled ‘Yes, dear’ and the deal is done.
My afternoon is then disturbed when two young ladies descend on the office with four children and a baby in a buggy.
Already, I’m not liking where this is going.
“How can I help you?” I ask, as they plonk themselves down in front of my desk with faces made up like they have been to a painting-by-numbers class.
Two of the children start fighting, another one sits motionless like something out of a horror film and the other starts pulling brochure after brochure off the racks.
“I’ve been online and found a deal and want to see if you can beat it,” says one of the ladies in between noisily slurping a huge Slush Puppy.
I try not to notice when most of it misses her mouth and drips down her Primarni top.
Needing to restore some order as soon as possible for my own sanity if nothing else, I ask for the details.
She starts giving me the info.
“It’s mid-August for seven or 10 days…”
“Hang on,” I say. “This is not beating a quote. This is creating a quote, which will take a lot more time.”
They look at each other and I get the full-on side view of two magnificent trout pouts.
In an effort to stop my office resembling a war zone, I ask for all the details and tell them I will send them an email later in the day with the options.
It’s a popular four-star luxury hotel they have decided fits the bill and I do advise that the budget they have is very tight for what they are aspiring to do, but I will have a look.
“But if we can get five free child places, that would bring the cost right down,” comes the retort.
“Yes,” I say, having lost the will to live at this point. “I will see what I can do…”
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