I thought I more or less had this covered in last year’s post, but now that the festive hordes have finally turned up after a Christmas presumably spent stuffing their faces at home with the family, it would appear that I was mistaken.
Once again they all arrived en masse and mobbed the ticket windows, then complained that they’d had to wait in the queue. Given France’s excellent and widespread broadband access I can only assume they do it deliberately in order to have something to complain about. Indeed I’m sure of it, given that one of them reacted to my suggestion that she might order online in the comfort of her own home by waving her hands dismissively and saying she ‘didn’t have time to play with the internet’. You’ve got two hours to waste standing in an unnecessary queue when you’re supposed to be on holiday though, I note.
I have no doubt whatsoever that no-one will take any of this advice, especially since most of this week’s care in the community cases have been French and won’t be able to read it in the first place, but here goes.
1. Don’t ask me if you need insurance. How the bloody hell would I know? Do I look like your mother? No, don’t answer that. If you don’t remember paying for ski insurance at any point there’s a fair chance you haven’t got any, I’d say. But don’t quote me on it.
2. I’m a seasonal ticket sales monkey, not an expert on the banking system. If you want to know whether or not you’ll be covered for piste rescue if you pay by card, think about asking your card issuer, not the cashier. (I do actually know the answer to this question because, unlike the rest of you, I have worked out how to use Google. But it’s company policy that I don’t tell you in case your bank wriggles out of paying and you blame us for it.)
3. Don’t go telling all your mates that you’ll pay for everyone’s pass on your card because then they’ll all be insured. They won’t thank you for the 16€ saving when they get the bill for helicopter rescue. I know it would be nice to be able to make up your own terms and conditions for your insurance policies, but I’m afraid the bank isn’t going to go for it.
4. I’m not here to explain to you how your own bank card works. When it posts up that message asking you to choose direct or deferred debit, do not put your PIN in instead and then look at me gormlessly when it doesn’t work. I can only assume you forked out the extra fee just because the colour of the card matches your handbag.
5. Do not swear at me when the bank refuses your card. It’s not my fault you’re out of overdraft limit, Mrs Fur-Coat-And-Nae-Knickers. Now push off and find some other means of paying. Yes, you will have to join the back of that queue again, mainly because you swore at me. If you want service from people, you will find that politeness pays dividends.
6. Italians – use plastic like normal adults. If you all stopped working on the black and paid some tax now and then, we might not be on the way to hell in a handcart and you might still have an elected government. Though given that the government in question consisted largely of Silvio Berlusconi, I can see where the idea of being bossed about by Brussels bureaucrats might have its attractions. And no, I don’t have change for a 500€ note five minutes after I’ve opened the ticket window. How much float do you think they give us?
7. Don’t throw a tantrum when I tell you the Diable is closed to walkers because of high winds. While nothing would please me more at this stage than seeing you stuck at 2100m looking at a closed lift in a howling gale, unfortunately the lifties won’t let you on in the first place and I’ll just get grief for selling you the ticket when I’ve been told not to.
8. You will not bully me into giving you a discount/the wrong ticket/that concession you’re not entitled to. Nor will I randomly change the company’s policies just because you want something you can’t have. Bear in mind that you’re only going to stand there and abuse me for about five minutes, whereas my supervisors have the opportunity to do so all season. They also have the power to decide whether or not I get my performance bonus, so quite frankly I’m much more interested in keeping them happy than I am in making you go away. You’re playing chicken with a train, mate, and you’re not going to win. Now bog off.
Fortunately for everyone’s blood pressure we only have a few more days of this before they all go back to whatever they do when they’re not poking customer service people with a pointy stick. Roll on January – low season shift patterns, chilled punters and from the looks of the weather, more powder than we can eat. Can’t wait.