Friday, 19 December 2014
Found in my journal entry of 05 September 2011 an account of my waiting at the luggage claim conveyor belt at the Toulouse airport:
This country-bumpkin-looking English woman (60s?), visiting her brother in the midi-Pyrénées, picked out a total of 3 bright dark pink suitcases as hers before eventually identifying the right one. They were all different shapes and shades of pink/red, but she still couldn’t be quite sure about each one, saying she’d need to look at her name tag before she could be sure. I said to her, over and over again, that she should’ve tied a ribbon or something to it to make it stand out for easy and speedy identification, because the conveyor belt made it difficult to read labels fast enough.
As if this wasn’t a stupid enough way of going about it, I had to lug the suitcase off the conveyor belt each time for her to have enough time to look at the tags for her name at close quarters, and put it back on when it turned out not to be hers. The owner of the 2nd or 3rd one came hurrying over to claim her suitcase when she saw me taking it off the belt. Luckily she wasn’t angry with me — if this was China or S.E.Asia, I’d have got a dirty and suspicious look almost for sure.
The other amazing thing about this rather stupid woman is that each time I suggested she tie some form of distinguishing item to her case, she’d say, “As long as I can read the label to see if it’s got my name on it, it’ll be all right.” Yes, madam, but someone else has to hump it off the conveyor belt for you first, then lift it back on to the belt. I told her I have a black case, so I tie a strip of cloth to help speedy identification. She said, “But your case is black, and there’re lots of them. Mine’s red.” Yet she managed to mistake 3 other red/pink ones before she found her own. It’s most incomprehensible why she was still so recalcitrant about taking on board the suggestion. Kept saying she just needed to see her name on the label. I refused to give up and said it every time it happened, and eventually she said, “OK, point taken.”
In hindsight, I should’ve just left her alone to drag every single similar-looking red/pink suitcase off the conveyor belt by herself each time. Maybe she’ll learn when she has to find out the hard way.
From what I’d seen of this woman’s lack of common sense, I wouldn’t be surprised if, after finding out that the suitcase wasn’t hers, she’d just leave it on the floor instead of putting it back on the conveyor belt. I was the victim of such stupid behaviour at Gatwick one year when I’d waited at the conveyor belt until, an hour later, every single piece of luggage had been claimed, then found that my suitcase had been left sitting on the floor at the far side, obviously by someone who’d originally thought it was his/hers.