I have mentioned before that I volunteer at a museum. I primarily do programs for schools. Most schools prefer to have the students study the subject during the year, then do our program in the spring, after they've learned about the subject. Consequently, May is the most popular month for our programs and they book up rapidly. We warn schools to book the program before Christmas to be sure they can get the program they wan ton the day they want.
Most schools make arrangements themselves, but some use "educational travel companies." These companies will put together a whole tour. Some tours involve visiting several sites related to a subject (for example, a state capitol, a battlefield, and a history museum.) Others combine education with leisure activities, such as an amusement park. Some, unfortunately, are really pleasure tours, with something educational thrown in to justify the school's calling it a "field trip."
The other day, the person who does the booking was laughing about SS teachers who are calling now for programs next month and insist that "You will give us Program X on Day Y and nothing else is acceptable. Just make it happen." When they finally understand that it won't happen, they announce "Fine, we'll go to [other site] instead!" as if that will make us accommodate them. Guess what. The other sites are as popular as we are. The teacher often calls back and sheepishly says "we'll take any program on any day. Please, please, please."
That's not the my contribution to this thread however. This is (a few identifying things changed):
MP = Museum Person
SS = You know who
SS: I'm a teacher at [school]. I want Program X on Day Y
MP: [spiel about why it's already fully booked. ]
SS: But I called first! I should get it.
MP: How do you know you called first? You have no idea when Other School called.
SS: Well, I called 6 months ago, during that Festival thing.
[During Annual Festival, museum staff work 12 hour days at a full run. All calls go to voice mail to be dealt with later. (There are provisions for emergency calls)]
MP: I don't recall getting a message from you that week.
SS: I didn't want to leave a message. but I still called first!
MP: [silence while jaw drops]
Now, SS comes clean. He really represents an educational tour company.
SS: I was planning on going to Scary Rides R Us, but the headmaster is insisting on your program instead.
[MP and SS work out a compromise program]
A few days later:
SS: I'm canceling. We are going to Scary Rides instead.
A few days later:
Headmaster (HM): I'm calling about Program X...
MP: SS called and cancelled. He said you are going to Scary Rides instead.
HM: [silence while jaw drops]
HM: No. We are not going to Scary Rides. Can we still do Program X?
[arrangements are made]
HM: Send your invoice to SS.
MP: Hello, SS? I just talked to the Headmaster who says there is no way the students are going to Scary Rides. I need a mailing address to invoice you for Program X.
SS: [silence while jaw drops]