Ask Sally: Roberta and Joseph’s travel woes

Taste for Travel’s agony aunt Sally Slaughter answers queries on travel etiquette, ethics and dilemmas in her column Ask Sally. Inquiries:

Dear Sally,
Here I am at the airport waiting to fly home to Australia for Christmas and already I have a weighty problem. My bags are 40kg too heavy and the airline wants to charge me $15 a kilo for every kilo over 23kg. So that adds up to…. well, it’s a lot. And I can’t afford it.

So I’m sitting in the Starbucks  with my latte grande, trying to work out what not to take. Little Bobby will be so sad if he doesn’t get his matching iPads; little Angelica will be terribly disappointed if her XBox doesn’t arrive; Ernest has been asking me to get him a Max Pro surfboard like forever, and I hate to think what Benji will do if I don’t turn up with his Alien Workshop Dill Pro Anaglyph Hexmark skateboard.
Yours sincerely, Roberta.

Dear Roberta,
Get out of Starbucks, for a start. The coffee is dreadful. How amazing you are, trekking all the way to Australia with such elaborate gifts for over-indulged children who have been promised the earth. Too many parents and relatives tend to over stuff their little darlings’ self-esteem along with their Christmas stockings. If you don’t turn up with the loot, what’s the worst that could happen? There will be tantrums, tears and a few shins kicked. And you will be mean Aunty Roberta for a while. Because you didn’t deliver. Convene the War Crimes Tribunal!

Learning to deal with disappointment and sadness is part of being a well-balanced person. In an age of extreme narcissism, expectations of instant gratification and misplaced responsibility, this is increasingly rare. I suggest you deliver all those bling bling toys to the nearest battered women and children’s refuge, who will be eternally grateful, and then get on the plane, relieved of your burdens. But you will arrive bearing the gift of generous Christmas spirit with a wonderful story to tell those beastly little monsters. Next!
Graciously yours, Sally.

Dear Sally,
My wife and I have been driving all day through a massive snow storm and now we’re stuck, hundreds of kilometres short of our destination. We couldn’t fly because she’s too pregnant and due to give birth any day now. (The pregnancy was a bit of a surprise, I might add) Anyway, we’re in a small town where every motel and hotel room has been taken with travellers who are also stuck due to the snow drifts blocking the road, and we have nowhere to stay. Mary is really tired, and can’t go any further. What can we do?

Yours sincerely, Joseph.

Dear Joseph,
This story sounds oddly familiar. The situation does look a bit dire, however I have a strong feeling it will all turn out well. Knock on any door, tell them your story and the chances are you will be welcomed with open arms. And a hot drink I hope. If the kindness of strangers extends to a bed  in the stable out the back, er, get back to me pronto. I want to be the first to post it on Facebook and see if I can get over a billion Likes.
Graciously yours, Sally.

P.S. Merry Christmas, my dear readers. I wish you safe travels and happy holidays. And don’t forget to write!

©Taste for Travel 2011 All Rights Reserved

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