Tuesday, 15 March 2011

El Cotillo: Finale

This could well Timothy Belmont's final letter from Fuerteventura, Canary Islands; and regrettably I end on a slightly negative note (poor weather etc excluded).

During this holiday, unless I am under a misapprehension, there have been two unsuccessful attempts to "short-change" me: On an airport bus, when I noticed that the driver had sold me a ticket for two (thereby charging double the fare); and last night, most disappointingly, at the Casa Rustica restaurant, where I have been a "regular", when the waitress (or owner?) short-changed me by €10 when she brought my change.

I thought I'd built up a rapport with her on the four visits. She knew it was my final night there; had even helped me with their Internet password key for the Mini 9; and yet, when I handed her a €50 note for a €22 bill, she gave me a plate with one €10 note, one €5 note and coins - €10 short. This person was not stupid and it's hard to believe that it was an innocent mistake.

Of course I caught her eye, beckoned her over and she knew, so apologised and exchanged the €10 for a €20.

It makes one wonder how frequently this practice occurs throughout the "tourist industry", cheating and thieving vulnerable or gullible tourists who may be unfamiliar with the currency or have even indulged in a "drink" too many?


Sharon Owens said...

Tim, I've been short-changed so many times I think there must be some sucker vibe about me. I've paid £795 rent in advance for what turned out to be a student slum-house in Whalley Range - no refund. I've signed contracts giving away 35% of advances, plus tax etc, plus various expenses. I've given money to people pleading poverty only to find out they used my money to go on holiday. The list is endless. I've come to the conclusion everybody in the world is obsessed with money except me and my nearest and dearest and yourself, of course.

Happy journey back to Belfast. Next time book yourself in to the Merchant etc for the weekend???

Timothy Belmont said...

Hi and good to hear from you, Sharon. I can stay in my bedroom till 2pm, which suits well.

Gosh, your experiences of dishonesty put mine in perspective! The bus-driver was crafty enough to retain the ticket when he reimbursed me; I felt slightly betrayed by the waitress, though - she perhaps took me for a fool because I'd had trouble with their pass key on the netbook confusing the zero with nought keys! If I'd had a few drinks (which Ihad not) she might have been €10 richer.

Stay at the Merchant? As long as I am collected in the Rolls and the tab is picked up by the hotel. ;-)

Sharon Owens said...

Hi Tim,

Yes, I've been ultra-busy lately trying to finish a book before the school holidays. I've also been toying with the idea of setting up my own company as I hate having no control over my career.

So far, in terms of losing money, I think it adds up to more than £75,000 (not counting taxes in this as they are non-negotiable). A person I gave £2,000 to is now not speaking to me because I can't give them any more money.

I also had to pay £2,500 recently to get out of something that wasn't my fault at all - can't say too much - but yes, I've been suckered so often it's depressing.

Recently my favourite cafe gave me a limp salad and it was very disappointing!!! I thought they liked me there!!!

I'm keeping my head down in future.

How can Simon Cowell get so rich? I can't even get a discounted advert in a local magazine.


Timothy Belmont said...

I guess folk like Simon Cowell are ruthless and exceptionally tough, unlike us.

A better example might be Richard Branson, who seems a genuinely decent fellow (perhaps delegating the ruthless bit to others!).

Sharon Owens said...

Hi again,

Yes, I'm tempted to set up my own company - with a very small outlay. I think I'll look into it and check out some business courses. At least with my company people would be guaranteed a polite phone manner at all times.

I'm going to toughen up generally, Tim, and stop being so nice!!! I will continue to be nice to people who have been nice to me, of course.

By the way, well done you for travelling so often. I can hardly be bothered catching the bus into town these days. I think writing has made me into a recluse. Maybe it's time for a change?

Anonymous said...

My advice is...
Forget about religion, politics, nationality, etc. They don't matter. There are only two types of people in this world: good and bad.
In life, make every effort you can to seek out the 'good' and ignore the 'bad'.

R Wombat

Sandy said...

Sound advice, Mr. Wombat.
Straight from "Desiderata".

Anonymous said...

I just got back from Israel last week and encountered the same thing - it is "just normal" pretty much anywhere tourists go.
I remember this happening in Spain 20 years ago, and in Paris 30 years ago. Sad but true. I'd love to believe that its different in NI, but I suspect that's wishful thinking.