Certain situations bring either the worst or the best out of people, the airport brings out the stupid. Maybe all the braincells were used in packing all the necessary clothes, toiletries and documents and getting to the airport in time. They clear security and some proceed to relax so much that the brain is switched off. The other day I was talking to a very nice German customer, he told me all about his stay in the South of France; he was relaxed as he had arrived at the airport very early and had time for some shopping. He went off with his colleague to enjoy a beveridge. The next time I saw the man he was shouting at the Easyjet staff as they wouldn't let him on the flight to Hamburg. They had requested him to board three times via the tannoy, now they had closed the gate and were ofloading his luggage. No matter how much he raised his voice, they would not let him on the plane; Easyjet does not wait for stupid people.
The other thing people shout about is not so much stupidity but a failure to read and being ill informed; if you read through all the information about flying you will know that the maximum amount of liquid allowed in hand luggage is 100ml. We have had this regulation for a very long time now and the frequent flyer knows the drill. So it is often an older passenger that doesn't fly that often that gets their liquids confiscated. They come into the shop and lament about that lovely bottle of champagne, wine or olive oil that they thought would be saver in hand luggage that got confiscated. At night I see the security people walking back with big bags of confiscated good that have to be destroyed.Call me cynical but I think the traders at the airport love these security measures. It's a fine excuse to sell water at extortionate prices and it has done duty free shopping no harm either.
Then there is the whinging Poms. Again it falls probably under the heading of being ill informed rather than stupid but it is a close call. The UK has been part of the European union since the 1970's so you pay European union prices not tax free prices. With every purchase I have to explain this and in 50% of the cases, they didn't know. Then usually a very unpleasant diatribe against Europe follows. The Fins who only joint recently seem to be all aware how it works and are perfectly pleasant about paying the EU prices. I have to say that the UK citizens aren't the only ill informed passengers, and all European governments could do better at informing their citizens about what it means to be in Europe including its many benefits. I said it before but I think every whinger who complained about his booze and cigarettes being more expensive than they wanted voted for UKIP in yesterdays election. All I can do is shrug my shoulders and continue to enjoy the benefits of the European union. A stable peaceful place to live and the right to live and work in a different country without permits, free movement within Schengen etc etc etc...
Friday, 23 May 2014
Friday, 18 April 2014
Europe, its nations and cultures continues to provide a rich source of inspiration for me and is also the thing that makes my job so varied and interesting. Selling perfume and may not be the most riveting of jobs in the world, but the fact that your customers have a completely different profile from hour to hour is. I’m not talking about national stereo-types but every flight has its own quirks.
For example, cigarettes must be expensive in Switzerland and as it is a tax-free destination we sell lots of cigarettes during the Geneva and Basel flights. I rather like the Basel flight as there are a number of German speaking customers on it.
During the morning we have an Aeroflot flight to Moscow, which means clear the decks and roll up your sleeves as everything must be expensive in Moscow. Wine, fine Champagne, cosmetics; basically if the Moscow flight is a bit light we won’t have a good day. It also helps to learn a few words of Russian such as Boarding card and transfer (Biljet and transit if you’re interested) I’m currently working on ‘Bon Voyage’ (Schastlivogo puti) but not managed it yet.
Being surrounded by all these nations, it is tempted to start by asking for a boarding card, but this should be avoided at all costs. There is nothing that annoys a French passenger more than being spoken to in English in their own country, so I always lead with ‘Votre card d’embarkement s’il vous plaît’ and only ask for a boarding card if you receive a look of utter panic of your passenger.
Then last there is the British quirk, like it or not you are in Europe, therefore you have to pay European union prices (not tax-free) It is best to explain this before you ring up the purchase, otherwise you end up cancelling the sale when they find out they can’t buy tax-free. Maybe it is the fact that Brits can’t buy cheap alcohol and cigarettes on their holidays to the continent that is stirring up this anti-European rhetoric. To be honest, it wouldn’t surprise me.