We travel; we have money - so who wants our business?
PARIS - I've been in Europe for the past week, and my travels so far have left me so appreciative of those venues and destinations where the staff seems to genuinely welcome their guests' business.
We tried to enter the Wizarding World the original way - via Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross Station in London. (The Tube is wonderful, by the way, and the staff very helpful.)
I say "seems" because there's no real way for me to know whether someone truly wants me to be there, or not. But even if a person doesn't care for me, my presence or my money, if he or she can fake it and make believe I'm welcome - that's good enough for me.
That said, it pains me to see people cramming into tourist hotspots where the staff clearly isn't bothering to put on a show. They hate our guts, and aren't afraid to let that disdain show. They know that thousands more tourists will be by tomorrow, even if the ones they burn today never return.
Well, I say that as travel fans - we make those tourism employees' dreams come true. Let's resolve to speak up, and to listen to one another, so that we can make real the dream of tourists never again darkening the doorways of restaurants, museums, historic sites, attractions, and yes, even theme parks, where the staff can't be bothered even to pretend that we're welcome.
I'll name names at the end of my trip - not just of the places that shunned us, but the ones that welcomed us, too. In the meantime, though, let's use the comments to warn fellow Theme Park Insider readers of places you've visited where it seemed they'd rather you and your money went elsewhere.
Paris (Parisians) and feeling welcome as a tourist will be a tough one. Even if you try to speak their language the majority treats you as garbage. There are always exaptions but they are few.
Cirque Du Soleil's "O" in Las Vegas; the box office employee told me that my ticket was for the "yesterday" show which was untrue. Then he gave me a seat that was not wheelchair accessible. No one at the box office seemed to care. And this show ain't cheap!
I've been to Europe a long time ago. It was hit and miss then. I'm sure London is experiencing lots of rain. The inclement weather was the first downer. It doesn't get pleasant until you reach Italy.
Great idea! We should have an area for complaints /compliments about US and overseas travel. I can't stand for someone to look down their nose at me and be rude or condescending, but still take my money. When I was much younger, while living/working in a resort area, I was guilty of the "I'm a local" mentality. I see now that we were just biting the hands that fed us.
Two words: Magic Mountain.
Go to Russia next and French service staff will look very fake emotional afterwards, since showing any emotions postive or negative like smiling is considered unprofessional there.
Living in an area that is a perpetual tourist destination (Washington DC), it's hard not to grow frustrated with tourists that don't understand how things work or want attractions to be more than they are. More and more cities are trying to balance their books on the backs of tourists and only see them as walking ATMs that are going to spend their money regardless of the service provided. Between special taxes on airfares, rental cars, hotels, tolls that offer discounts for locals, and public transit that deliberately increases fares on people who don't live in the city, tourism is more about pulling everything including the pocket lint out of every single outsider that walks into your city than showing them a good time hoping they'll come back in 10 years.
Robert, I agree with the brief comment on the Tube. On my trip to London last year I fell in love with the efficiency of moving passengers/guests through the station, onto the platforms, and beneath the city. The one way queueing is a much better system than a multi-point station entry as scene in NYC.
Paris in particular is notorious for having contempt for tourists. I wonder how fast their attitude would change if tourists started to boycott them...
Nobody does customer service like the United States. This country is so demanding of its businesses that it has online reviews for
BTW, are you stopping by DLP. I would love to hear your input being a WDW Cast Member. Its a great park, but something seems off.......
I've always felt that the Parisians get a bad wrap. I've lived in France and visited as a tourist twice, once as a teenager and the second time with my wife. In the entire time I was there I ran into exactly one overtly rude person and that was in a Metro station on the outskirts of Paris. In this instance, all of the Metro ticket machines were out of order so I went to the booth to buy one from the ticket seller. He however tried to charge me a fee more than twice the correct amount. Speaking French (and savy to the fare prices) I called him on it and quoted the correct price. He wouldn't budge, so I told him off and decided to go with my gut instinct and hopped the turnstyle, got on the Metro and got off at the next stop and paid there (the proper price).
To be fair, most Frenchmen I have met openly admit that Parisians are rude to everyone (fellow countrymen included).
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