Saturday, April 27, 2013

"That was rather a stupid thing to do, wasn't it?"

I am in Scotland, and thought that this year, the logistics -- even my heavy luggage would be easier because I would know how to do things. I had the port of Oban all planned:

-go straight from the train to the luggage lockers (they still have those here)
-walk to hotel
- fun etc.
-next morning take only and early ferry to island

I put my luggage in the locker, closed the door, paid- - and THEN noticed a sign saying that the train station didn't open until 10.45 a.m. on Sunday, two hours after my ferry's departure. I asked at the ticket window about workarounds, refunds -- none. So I decided to take everything to the hotel with me, in a taxi.

I scratched off the black strip on the  locker ticket which, I assumed, would reveal the code that  opened the locker. It didn't. So I went back to the window. The man behind it was outraged.

"If you had read the instructions which are posted in large letters....[much longer than I am putting it] you would have seen that you don't scratch off the bar as though you're holding a national lottery ticket. You open the ticket -- the code is on the blue side underneath. [Note: Nowhere on the ticket does it say this, only on the sign on the wall, towards the end of many steps].....But you just scratched it off and destroyed the code.

That was rather a  stupid thing to do, wasn't it?"

I always react badly to this kind of thing, wherever I am; but in the UK, it instantly makes me revert to being an 8 year old -- though at my boarding school, the phrase was usually more like:

"That wasn't very sensible, was it?"

I felt my face grow hot, knew I was blushing, muttered something-- and STILL he kept lecturing me! He eventually got someone to open the locker (he said he couldn't possibly do it himself as he had to sell tickets --not that anyone was waiting to buy any).

Finally I got into the taxi, flustered - and told the driver all about it. He was friends with someone on my island destination, instantly took my side, apologized for his countryman, and said various soothing things. I said my country men were often rude, too, and apologized for them. Americans are rude, often; I just don't expect the British to be -- and usually, they aren't. I guess it's good for me to realize that they aren't perfect: I (like many who love English and Scottish novels?) do tend to idealize things here. So often, being here IS like living in a favorite novel; though come to think of it, they always include characters like Lady Catherine and Mrs.Ferrars and Mr.Elton.


Anna Dickinson said...

Oh dear. Can I apologise too?

Anna Alter said...

I'm sorry you had such a rude welcome Libby! There is always some kind of snag when traveling- maybe this will be yours and now it is all out of the way and it will be smooth sailing from here.