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Saturday, April 24, 2010

You Can Trust Me. I'm a Doctor

When I opened my business I agreed to uphold the Hospitality Industries Code of Conduct to respect the rights, dignity and professional integrity of clients and guests.

As I was naïve I believed that travellers were honest until I accommodated Dr Knowles from the UK for four days.

He told me that he had only booked at Terrylin as I looked as though I needed his business, and his mate in Sandton was on holiday and they got mixed up with his arrival.

On his departure he asked me to call for a taxi immediately to take him to Kyalami Estates.

Dr Knowles then requested the following:

Three separate invoices. One for accommodation and meals. The second for internet usage and clothes washing. The third for transport.

I printed these and Dr Knowles presented me with three credit cards.

"But, I also need some cash for spending money. At least R1000. You can debit each card as follows, R200 on this one, R300 on the next one and the balance on the third," he said.

I give him R1 000 and the taxi driver arrived.

"Let him in and tell him I'll be out soon," continued Dr Knowles. "In the meantime, I will put the cards through and sign the slips just to help you."

The 'phone rang. Dr Knowles' mate. "Just tell him I'm on my way. Can't talk now", he said and told the driver to hurry up.

Later I realised that the good doctor had conned me out of R2 420 and I called him on his mate's landline.

Dr Knowles: "Where did you get this number?"

"From my 'phone," I told him.

"Ha, Ha. I didn't know South Africa was so advanced. Anyway, I knew I had scored. Tell you what you can meet me at the airport when I leave. Not sure what day yet. You can trust me. I am a doctor. Or, I can refund you from the U.K. This will be better as I can't come over to you now. And you don't know where I am."

"Yes, I do," I replied. "The taxi driver has given me the address. Tell you what, e-mail me your card details authorising the debit or I can collect this from you. Tell your mate I am on my way."

The e-mail arrived in minutes with - I hope you are happy. You overcharged me anyway. I have a good mind to send a review to TripAdvisor letting everyone know what a con artist you are.

Five years on, I am still waiting for the review.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Pissed Poppy

With unhappy and frustrated guests unable to secure flights home because of the Icelandic chaos, there were those in tears hurtling off the airport to queue and queue with one, saying:

"There has been a death in the family. We need a plane now."

Before Terrylin opened Maria told me: "I have been touting at the airport for over 10 years offering accommodation to stranded guests and earning commission."

The problem is that Maria has a daughter from hell, Poppy.

Poppy loves gambling, drinking, smoking and causing trouble all at the same time.

Maria calls Steven to fetch a guest.

Poppy: "Do you know how to order a pizza for this gentleman?"

At the same time, another guest asks for a bigger bed.

Poppy: "My mom can get a bigger commission at a place with a bigger bed."

The baffled guest asks to go back to the airport.

Steven returns again with an exhausted couple who ask him to buy them two bottles of wine. They drink one and offer the other to me.

Poppy: "No, don't worry. I'll take that. I haven't had a drop in ages."

I hand over the bottle on condition that she leaves, and off she staggers.

The following day Maria, flush with commission decides to treat herself and Poppy:

"Steve, please take us to the Mall and fetch us later, around 2. We'll be waiting."

They are nowhere to be found. Steven drives to the airport, to be told by a driver that Maria and Poppy are at the Casino gambling.

At midnight, Steven receives a call from Maria who has 10 guests willing to sleep anywhere, even on the couches or in the bath.

Steven returns with no guests only a skint Maria and Pissed Poppy cadging a lift home.

So, we learn as we go along.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Taxi Tales

Ewan asks me to call for a taxi.

Once I have done this he then asks another guest, Michael, if he would like to share the fare?

"No thanks, I was overbooked at the place around the corner. As I am a frequent guest, they offered me free transport to the airport this morning," replies Michael.

I call the place around the corner to confirm. Maggie, on morning shift and like Manuel, from Fawlty Towers knows nothing.

But she will send the driver over.

Impatient Ewan jumps into the guesthouse van and off they go.

The taxi driver then arrives.

He wants his fare from Michael who refuses to pay.

"Please, sort this out. This is not my fault," says Michael.

I call the guesthouse and the owner came over, paid the driver and Michael left.

Then Kingsley asks me to call for a taxi.

What are the odds? The same driver arrives and Mishaek says: "I am going to have a quick shower."

Later, Kingsley says: "I thought the taxi fare was included. Why can't you take me for free?"

The driver has now had it: "You asked for me to fetch you, didn't you. Get into the car and pay me."

The last couple to leave ask: "Where is the nearest petrol station? We need to fill up."

So tankful, am I.

But, with a major headache I swallowed two Dulcolax instead of Panado.

Now I still have the headache, and the runs.