I’m just about to put the kettle on when in walks a man in shorts and a T-shirt which, considering it’s Baltic outside, makes me immediately conclude this is a grade-A time-waster.
“I’ve been told you know your stuff,” he tells me, getting a huge file out of his Lidl carrier bag.
“How can I help you?” I respond, despite knowing where this is heading.
“I’ve been looking online,” he tells me. To an agent, that’s is right up there with: “I’ve found a price on Skyscanner” or “I’m looking for a late deal leaving in about six months.”
He’s researched what can only be described as a Frankenstein holiday, cobbled together using the afore-mentioned Skyscanner, plus booking.com and Airbnb and would like me to beat it. Beat it? At this point, I want to beat him.
I explain slowly what we do as qualified travel agents, ignoring the file he’s sliding across the desk – thinking that if I even touched it I would have to get involved .
He then makes the mistake of telling me that ‘no-one’ uses travel agents anymore as they are too expensive, and, with the wonders of the interweb (yes, interweb), why would you need to? I resist asking him why he was sitting in mine, then.
Turns out that, despite finding his perfect dream holiday, his mate down the pub – who does book everything with me – suggested he ask me to look over it to make sure he won’t get ripped off or stuck somewhere.
I decide that, if I ever want to have that cup of tea, I need to play along, so I take a look at his plans.
The first flight is to Istanbul and is a one-stop affair using a Ryanair and Pegasus combination.
Managing to contain the urge to burst out laughing, I quickly glance over the rest of the itinerary and say it all looks like it works, as his face lights up in an I-told-you-so smile. It seems to have done the trick as he repacks his hard work into his Lidl bag.
“Yes,” he tells me: “I knew it was all alright. It’s hardly rocket science putting together holidays, is it?”
“No,” I replied, smiling, as I remembered the packet of biscuits to go with my tea that a grateful client had brought in the day before…
Read more Tales from the Secret Agent here.