Greek holiday Brits' bizarre requests
Archimedes: November 2011
Consulate staff fed up with stupid questions.
When Britons on a Greek Island holiday phoned up the British Consulate to ask where was the best place for fishing, staff decided enough was enough.
The Foreign Office has now posted a note on its website to tell holiday travellers that they are not a trivial holiday help service for Brits abroad.
And they have listed a selection of inane and trivial questioned that have been posed by the British to Consulate staff when on holiday in Greece and other countries.
Consulate staff in Greece were asked by holiday arrivals for tips on the best fishing spots and where to purchase the best bait.
A British ex-pat in Greece even phoned up a Consulate to ask for information and advice on how to put a chicken coop in his garden.
British travellers have now been told not to use the global network of Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates for trivial holiday requests such as weather forecasts and ticket bookings.
Jeremy Browne, Minister for Consular Affairs, said: "We will always try to help where we can but there are limits to the support that we can provide. It is important that people understand the level of help we can offer."
"Our priority is to help people in real difficulty abroad and we cannot do this if our time is diverted by people trying to use us as a concierge service."
Here is a list of some of the other daft requests to Consulate staff on the FCO website:
- A caller in Spain wondered what shoe size Prince Charles takes so he could send him a pair as a present.
- A man rang the Consulate in Sydney to ask what clothes to pack for his holiday.
- A man called the Consulate in Florida to ask for advice regarding the ants in his holiday villa.
- A lady complained to the Embassy in Moscow about a buzzing noise in her apartment.
- A man asked consular staff in Dubai to meet his dog on arrival at Customs, as he would be on holiday when the dog arrived.
- A caller asked staff in Malaga in mid-September where she could book Christmas lunch as everywhere she had phoned was already booked up.
- Foreign Office staff in Spain were asked for Phil Collins' telephone number.
Mr Browne added: "We need to be able to focus primarily on helping victims of serious crimes, supporting people who have been detained or assisting people who have lost a loved one abroad."