Thursday, February 17, 2005


I had coffee with my American friend this morning and he told me one of the best stories I've heard in a long time.

He was travelling around the US during December '04, and on one trip (I think he said it was from Nowhere, North Carolina to Chicago) he and his luggage got separated. He took his little barcode, bag-tag thingy up to the baggage help desk and asked the lady behind the desk if she could help him.
"Certainly, sir," she said.
"Great. My name is David and my luggage is on a different plane, I was wondering if you could tell me how far out it is and what plane it's on."
"I'm sorry, sir, but I don't know where your luggage is."
My friend smiled for a moment and held up his tag.
"I understand, you probably don't know where every piece of luggage your airline has in the air is, but if you could just look up my luggage on your system, I'd appreciate it."
"I'm sorry, sir?"
He held up his tag again.
"On the system. Could you look up my luggage. With the tag?"
And, apparently, the lady behind the counter looked at him and said (in what one imagines as almost a Sir Humphrey Appleby voice);
"Oh, sir. Those tags aren't real. We print the same barcode on each tag because we've found that people are happier if they think their luggage is being individually tracked."

Pure, fried gold.


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