Having emptied the ISA of your annual savings in order to take the family skiing for a week over Christmas, no doubt you’re looking forward to the sort of thing you see in all those Sunday supplements – blue skies and fluffy powder, vin chaud in front of roaring log fires, luxury chalet complete with outdoor hot tub, gourmet meals served by Hilton-trained staff whose perma-smiles obviate the need for electric lighting.
Unfortunately, what those supplement lifestyle hacks don’t tell you is that this kind of stuff costs a lot more than you’re ever likely to find in your measly ISA, and unless you too can wangle a press freebie, you’re going to have to settle for the standard mass-market catered-by-monkeys deal.
Not that I’m suggesting all TO staff are airhead barrel-scrapings by any means, but let’s be realistic here – £200 a month and a bed in an erstwhile linen cupboard with no window isn’t going to have the brightest and best lining up to play nursery games at a patronising assessment centre interview, is it?
So while you might get lucky and score for one of the hardcore returners, you’re more than likely to find that the youth cooking your dinner has been watching Jeremy Kyle on his mum’s sofa since he left school last summer and was more interested in Facebooking his mates on his iPhone than paying attention during his rudimentary food hygiene training. With predictable results vis a vis the quality of your Christmas dinner.
Of course it’s always possible that in this post-crunch world of less TO accommodation, fewer staff and piles of unemployed graduates, the calibre of resort staff will be impressively high and you’ll find yourself being looked after by someone with common sense, social skills and a comprehensive understanding of the importance of personal hygiene in a food handler. Unfortunately, though, a quick glance through the staff Facebook group for one of the UK’s bigger tour ops would suggest that HR departments have targeted their recruitment efforts even lower down the left hand side of the bell curve than usual. I could let them off with the nitwit “Sooooooo exciteeeed!!!” stuff, but some of the questions have to be seen to be believed. As does their grasp of their native language.
“It says during the day jeans must not be worn ……. what are we meant to wear? Im confused. Xx” How about a sequinned tutu? Or just possibly the navy trousers you were told to bring for work. A wild stab in the dark, that one, but you never know.
“i havent bought anything i dont no what coach Im getting and i dont know how im getting to the meeting point …” Looks like you’re not going then, doesn’t it? Come on, you do actually have to get there in the first place if you’re going to stand a realistic chance of completing the season.
“Any idea for navy trousers n where to get them? Still stuck.” Is there really still a place in the UK with neither shops nor internet access? Where is this person living, St Kilda?
“Is it possible to buy a helmet while in Austria?” No, there’s a blanket ban on sales of all wintersports equipment in Austrian resorts. It’s a health and safety measure.
“ok so random question in our accommodation do we have a tv and dvd player???” Bless. As one of the Natives veterans said: how to break it to her that where one would normally find a TV her employers have instead put another set of bunkbeds?
“Is there anything we can’t take into France? Like aerosols or lighters or food or razor blades? I don’t really know, x x x x” Which just goes to show how easy it is throw the travelling public into blind confusion with a few mindless rules about what you can and can’t take on an aircraft. In fact, this girly is going by coach.
“can we where nailvarnish on the coach lol i no its a stupid question cos i no we arent allowed it for workkk bt jst for are travels xx” Men may wear nail varnish as long as it is some shade of pink. Female employees are required to wax their beards into little curly shapes before getting on the coach.
“started packinnn today ahhhh the xmas tree n chocoalte calandar are innn ohhh n of cors the ski stuff” Well there’s nothing like getting your priorities right is there? Though you might find that packing a tree rather than, say, knickers and shampoo, might turn out to be a poor strategy. Just a thought.
Not only are these star turns likely to be cooking your dinner, they will also be dealing with your lost luggage at the airport, making sure you get the expensive lift passes you ordered, organising your transfer home and looking after your children. Yes, it is far too late to cancel your holiday and go DIY.