We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Over the transom. I can't say, but I'd believe it. THESE ARE ACTUAL COMPLAINTS RECEIVED BY "THOMAS COOK VACATIONS" FROM DISSATISFIED CUSTOMERS:
1. "I think it should be explained in the brochure that the local convenience store does not sell proper biscuits like custard creams or ginger nuts."
2. "It's lazy of the local shopkeepers in Puerto Vallarta to close in the afternoons. I often needed to buy things during 'siesta' time -- this should be banned."
3. "On my holiday to Goa in India, I was disgusted to find that almost every restaurant served curry. I don't like spicy food."
4. "We booked an excursion to a water park but no-one told us we had to bring our own swimsuits and towels. We assumed it would be included in the price."
5. "The beach was too sandy. We had to clean everything when we returned to our room."
6. "We found the sand was not like the sand in the brochure. Your brochure shows the sand as white but it was more yellow."
7. "They should not allow topless sunbathing on the beach. It was very distracting for my husband who just wanted to relax."
8. "No-one told us there would be fish in the water. The children were scared."
9. "Although the brochure said that there was a fully equipped kitchen, there was no egg-slicer in the drawers."
10. "We went on holiday to Spain and had a problem with the taxi drivers as they were all Spanish."
11. "The roads were uneven and bumpy, so we could not read the local guide book during the bus ride to the resort. Because of this, we were unaware of many things that would have made our holiday more fun."
12. "It took us nine hours to fly home from Jamaica to England. It took the Americans only three hours to get home. This seems unfair."
13. "I compared the size of our one-bedroom suite to our friends' three-bedroom and ours was significantly smaller."
14. "The brochure stated: 'No hairdressers at the resort.' We're trainee hairdressers and we think they knew and made us wait longer for service."
15. "When we were in Spain, there were too many Spanish people there. The receptionist spoke Spanish, the food was Spanish. No one told us that there would be so many foreigners."
16. "We had to line up outside to catch the boat and there was no air-conditioning."
17. "It is your duty as a tour operator to advise us of noisy or unruly guests before we travel."
18. "I was bitten by a mosquito. The brochure did not mention mosquitoes."
19. "My fiancee and I requested twin-beds when we booked, but instead we were placed in a room with a king bed. We now hold you responsible and want to be re-reimbursed for the fact that I became pregnant. This would not have happened if you had put us in the room that we booked.
From my perspective as an old backpacker, I found these comments rather amusing. I suspect that those whingers are like the people who hiked the Inca Trail with guides who carried everything for the tourists, including china. I hope the tourists who dined on china got charged an arm and a leg. Like most hiking the Inca Trail, I carried my own 35 pound backpack.
I will add one I heard many years ago. At a cheapo hotel in La Paz, which at the time charged about $1.50 a night [now $5-10?], a patron complained that the hotel didn't provide towels. At that price you want towels?
Here was one of my complaints: "That cheapo restaurant food becomes monotonous." [One disclaimer- cheapo restaurant soup was always tasty.]
Instead of writing a complaint to a travel magazine, I went to the local open air market, bought an East German portable kerosene stove for about $10, and commenced cooking my own meals. Alpaca stew with potatoes, tomatoes, and chilis- that's the ticket!
And sold the stove to some other tourists before I flew back to the States.
We need to put some perspective on these complaints. Thomas Cook is one of the world's biggest travel agencies. It would not surprise me that over the years, it has received feedback from millions of customers. While this is the worst of the lot, it is probably indicative of a rather small percentage of travelers.
There is a website titled People of Wal-Mart. It emphasizes the comical - some would say grotesque- appearances of Wal-Mart customers. While these are definitely photos of people who shop at Wal-Mart, it is probably not a good representation of the average Wal-Mart shopper, as it emphasizes the comical- or the grotesque.
A similar argument follows for Thomas Cook customers.