Its likely you’ve experienced a completely ridiculous moment or two while travelling for pleasure or business. Not the ‘lost my luggage’ or ‘the airline overbooked my flight’ type of moments. Those are annoying. Rather, something that happened, which, for various reasons, seemed completely ridiculous at the time. And still seem rather ridiculous.
Like the time I was travelling in southern Europe, before mobile phones were as prevalent as they are today. You had to go to the ‘phone company’ to make a long distance call. So I attempt to call back home and, while I don’t get through clearly, the ‘money meter’ states I owe, 50, let’s call them, ‘credits’. I proceed to the cashier and he says “That’s 75 credits..” Puzzled, I state “The meter states 50?!” “Ah… 50, 75, what’s the difference??” he protests. What’s the difference? How about my phone bill says 50 bucks and I’m not going to pay 1 red cent?
Or the time I was waiting in line for some food at a small take out only restaurant run by a single surly looking guy behind the counter. As I moved closer and closer to the front of the line, I searched but failed to find a price list or even a menu. The person in front of me ordered, and the guy behind the counter looked the customer up and down, paused for a split second and eventually named a price. I then proceeded to order the exact same thing as the person before me. The counter guy looks me up and down, then names a price, a bit higher than the previous customer. Puzzled, I pay, and don’t protest, but linger about to see what the next person will be charged. Again, they order the same thing, but this time are charged a bit less than I and the person before me. I think ‘What the heck is going on? This guy is making up the prices as he goes along…’ And then, the lightbulb went off. The counter guy was charging customers based on how each customer looked and what they wore. You wear nice looking clothes? You must have money. Pay more. You wear old looking or torn clothing? You unshaven? You must be down on your luck. Pay a little less.
Or the time I was at the local farmer’s market, buying some tomatoes. I had eyed some really nice red, ripe tomatoes. “I’ll take 2 kilos of those, please,” I say, almost salivating. The farmer shakes his head ‘yes’, and with a smile, stoops down and proceeds to fill a bag with tomatoes that don’t look nowhere near as appetizing, from a hidden location underneath his carriage. Classic bait and switch. “I don’t want those,” I state, as I point to the bag. “I want the tomatoes on top”, pointing to the red juicy ones on top. “Those aren’t for sale,” he replies, smugly. “What do you mean?” I ask, rather sharply. “They’re not for sale,” he repeats cooly. “Then why are they there?” I protest. He looks at me blankly. I glare at him. He stares back. I stare at him. I walk way. Annoyed. Double jerky!