And another festival has passed away and I can proudly say that I’m still alive! At least I’m in better condition that I thought I would be!
As you can imagine from the publishing date of this post it took me a while to get into the routine again, but I managed to write my words down! Also I think that a Franny’s news post is in order at this stage!
Let’s go back to the post and, before I say anything else, let me impress you with the figures.
A festival was held in my workplace from the 14th to the 17th of March and we counted over all the four days 24.790 visitors.
There is no mistake, I really mean twentyfour thousand seven hundred and ninety visitors.
I have to say I was pretty lucky this year because I worked only two days out of four, Saturday and Sunday, which were actually the busiest: we had 7.255 visitors on Saturday and 8.557 on Sunday.
I’d say, with a pinch of regret, that this is the end of my luck, as this year I wasn’t at the core of the action, the entrance door, but back to the second line, the audio guides. It wasn’t that busy and hence not that fun. Also the way they built the new desk prevents you to see the atrium and so the thousands of people flowing into the place.
This explains why I have only one post for you this year. Although we weren’t that busy, I couldn’t go around as I wanted. The best I could do was staying outside the little office to taste some of the atmosphere for a few minutes.
And let’s try to put some order.
I was scheduled in the opening shift at 7.30 and the first customers started to arrive at 8.30. (We open 9.30)
At 8.45 I saw the first group of girls sat at the beginning of the queue waiting for the tills to be opened.
At 9.15 there were already 20 customers waiting for the place to be open. Some of them bought the ticket at the credit card machines and tried to get in before the opening time.
I wonder, why they cannot wait, why? They’re on holiday! And most of all, on the program we specified that the festival wouldn’t start before 12, so why bother to be in so early?
And when you thought that the entrance couldn’t be more jammed anyway before the opening time, a huge group came in and of course everybody needed the toilets.
Dear tourists, toilets in museums aren’t the Tardis, they’re not bigger inside. There are 4 stalls, and if you put 50 people there all together they’re not going come out so soon.
At the same time the phone was ringing continuously.
Ok, you can say that it was a busy day but it’s my job and I should do it. I know, but sometimes all I would ask would be a pinch, not much, just a pinch of common sense. If you see me on the phone, you don’t talk to me anyway to know information about the tour. And you, third person, if you see me talking at the phone and trying to gesture the idiot talking to me to wait one second, don’t start talking. But you do, because you’re the tour guide, you’re the master of the universe!
You see, writing down all these things I realize that this kind of episodes happen in my workplace all the time, but in occasion like the festival they present more often in just one day.
After I joined my mini team in audio guides I realized that I could relax for a few minutes, and at least for that day we didn’t have almost any waiting queue at all. An American gentleman came over and asked “Do you usually have line here?”
No, we usually use this queuing layout for fun…but you cannot be ironic! So you just smile like an idiot and you let it go!
One of the most frequent episodes was:
Customer: “Audioguide in Italian!”
Me: “Oh ciao! Di dove siete!” (Which part of Italy you’re from?)
M: “Fino lì c’ero arrivata” (I got that bit!)
But even after that some of them tried to speak English anyway.
As I said the fun was at the entrance door. At 13.30 there were two queues outside, one for paying visitors and the other one for bookings online.
At 14.15 there were already 4.260 people in.
At 15.50 they started to slow down the flow of people coming in.
Of course, you are in a nice position because you don’t have to queue but you cannot help to think of the reason why so many people are doing that. So I had a sentence I fidgeted in my head with:
“Keep queuing, you’re doing well!”
Needless to say we couldn’t tell to anybody.
At almost the end of the shift I was very tired anyway and going to the toilet I almost hit with the door a few customers, who started crying for the surprise.
And coming back from the toilet the karma got its revenge. A stag garbed in a green short dress, fishnet stockings and tall leprechaun hat run after me because he wanted a hug. Since it was the only way to get rid of him, I more patted him on the back and I ran away…but he was happy anyway…and very drunk!
It was much busier and so I don’t have almost anything to tell you but a couple of things.
First of all I want to show you the picture I took of the audio guides ready to go for the day…they didn’t last long that way. That day the queue was long.
We offer audio guides in six languages and if you speak English you don’t need it. But as you can imagine tourists don’t read signs, any kind of sign, even if this means life or death.
So as usual the most common situation was wasting time to explain people why they don’t need them.
A part from the usual “Ah, do you have in American English?”, “But I speak Canadian” and so forth the best was the following (alas, not so uncommon like you may hope)
“Can we have the audio guides in English, please?”
“No, you actually don’t need them, as they’re translators for non-English speakers”
“So what do we need?”
“Well you have posters and videos all the way through, the audio guides don’t add anything to that”
“So how do we do the tour?”
“You read the posters and you watch the videos and you start over there!” I say pointing to the huge neon white “Start” sign.
“So we don’t need it?”
Eventually they left…and right on time otherwise I would have abandoned my manners.
When I left at 17.30 there were 8.000 people in and you know the final numbers.
I know that this post isn’t exciting like the past three ones but as I said the conditions were different.
Waiting for the time and the strength to write my Franny’s new I leave you with a virtual hug.