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Air con artist

‘I am the manager of this hotel!’

We are sitting opposite the manager of the hotel.

‘We arrived back last night to find we had no air conditioning!’ my friend Emily protests. I personally don’t mind this fact. I sleep better with no air conditioning. But I’m not going to let this guy know. More fool him! Like Pingu’s dad ironing clothes he’d never wear, he’ll never see the error if it isn’t pointed out (evidently, it never was).

‘You mean to say this has never happened to you before?’ Or not.

‘Never!’ I’m unsure what else I can contribute. I’m in flip-flops facing a sociopath. It can’t help.

‘This is a five-star hotel!’ Emily reminds all of us.

He starts channelling his best Basil Fawlty. ‘Essential maintenance work needed to take place! I admit we forgot to put a sign up beforehand…’

Emily enquires just how essential it is to risk fatalities in the middle of the night.

‘Why are you in here on this nice day, anyway? Shouldn’t you be out enjoying the sun?’ His response makes me start questioning the office surroundings, such as the representative/bodyguard to his left or the exact contents of the filing cabinet behind him. The suit he is wearing in 40 degree heat confirms to me he is, in fact, a Mafia boss posing as a hotel manager. I attempt to coax my friend from the office, muttering something about the calming benefits of lilos.

Pingu's dad: not a clue

‘We’re not leaving here until this is dealt with!’ Maybe not, Emily. But his diversion tactics will see us well into next year. I half-consider ordering a Visa when the conversation then takes a turn to surpass all sat navs. ‘Can I ask, are you married?’ Was I daydreaming that long? Had the issue been dealt with and was he now looking for a wife? I ponder suggesting but omitting certain details of his childhood, or quite how he fell into hospitality management.

‘What’s that got to do with anything!’ Emily barks back.

‘Well, you would have other things to focus on besides the air conditioning…’ The man evidently doesn’t know any married couples. Or anyone who ever worked in an office. Everyone argues about the air conditioning! Look at us now! It’s the thing to do!

‘We want compensation for the evening!’ Emily firmly states, as if confirming my thoughts. Yes, let’s get back to business, I silently agree. And what strong, solid business this is! Straight down the line. No room for diverting. Fifty quid and we’re out of here.

‘I am the manager of this hotel and what you’re asking is outrageous!’ exclaims the sociopath – sorry – manager of the hotel. Outrageous would have meant £1000 and locking him in a sauna for three days but who am I to argue?

‘We want a discount!’ I argue.

Inexplicably, my weak protest works. Either that or he finally runs out of answers that have nothing to do with the questions. ‘I’ll give you 15%. Fine – 20%!’ He is now officially arguing with himself. Just your basic split personality disorder, then. We reluctantly agree to one or both of him. Aside from flattening him with a large beach ball this is the most compensation we are likely to get.

For ten seconds, I consider a career in politics. I then decide the profession is more reserved for this man. Along with a psychological assessment and an annual subscription to Air Conditioning Today.

A few threats regarding Trip Advisor later and we are out the door, glad to have survived something so inexplicably temperamental. That’s air con for you.

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