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Visitors’ lounge

A sampling of seasonal service and the things out of towners say to them.

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Bruce the rickshaw puller
How many of your passengers are from out of town?
This year, I've only had out of town passengers. At Buskers it's more Halifax or Nova Scotian people, but tourists when cruise ships come and stuff.

Where are most of them from?
The cruise ship here today is from the States, but a lot of people are always here from Florida.

Who are the best tippers?
Old people.

What about the worst?
Young people.

What's the wildest thing you've heard a tourist say?
People who don't realize our money is real money piss me off. People see the coloured money and ask if it's monopoly money. Or I give them a toonie and loonie and they ask for bills. People blatantly don't understand the concept of Canadian money.

Your job looks really hard, have you ever had to carry really heavy families up hills?
Yes, not today though.


"Kenny Powers" the waitress
How many customers would you say are from out of town?
Maybe like, 65 percent.

Where are most of them from?
Mostly the southern States, there's a lot of people form North Carolina that we get. Today there are a lot of people from Florida.

Who tips the best?
Honestly, it varies from person to person I'd say. I know in the States they make lower minimum wage there so often people from the States tip more.

Were there any tourists that gave you a hard time?
Not really, just about the weather if it's bad.

Have any tourists said any funny things?
I think the funniest is people asking if Dartmouth is PEI or Maine and I think they might've asked if it is Cape Breton. People call the harbour a lake too, like people from Toronto.


Rebecca the ice cream scooper
What percentage of your customers are from out of town and where do they come from?
Depends on the day, like during the week it's mostly locals unless a cruise ship comes in, and then there are tourists on weekends too. Most of the tourists are American. But we get a lot of locals coming by on their lunch breaks and we do corporate orders.

Which tourists tip the best?
Not British people. I used to work on the double decker bus tours and the British people wouldn't ever tip. Canadians and Americans tip a lot though. It just depends on their culture and some industries tell customers tips are included, some don't, so I think tipping or not tipping can get confusing for tourists.

What is the best experience you've had with a tourist?
For me it's when Israeli tourists come in, because I can speak to them in Hebrew and we get chatting.

Are there tourists who come from certain places who tend to be super friendly?
Canadians for sure, and people from New England.

What's the funniest thing you've heard a tourist say?
"Is that PEI?"


Jared the Farmers' Market fish guy
How many of your customers are tourists? I'd say about a good 75 percent, especially because the cruise ships dock right there, so we usually get a pretty big number of people coming in who are interested in lobster and stuff.

Where do most of the tourists come from?
Most are from either Boston or New York; there's a lot of Texans too, they're definitely the most interesting.

What type of tourist tips you the best?
Oh, just the ones who come in here expecting the whole show. We give them a little "eh" here and there as a treat to show how Canadian we are.

Have you had a good experience with people from Texas?
Yeah they're pretty funny, I had one guy come in here and was like "Do y'all take real dollars?"

Have you ever had a bad experience?
There's been a few who are saucy or whatever but nothing serious. You get people like that no matter where you work and who comes in.

What's the funniest thing you've ever heard a tourist say?
One time someone asked me what the difference was between a one-piece, two-piece and three-piece fish and chips. I kind of thought they were joking at first and then was like "Oh, you're serious." Or people ask if we caught these Digby mussels this morning, I just respond "Yeah we totally did!"


"Steph" the ex-Alexander Keith's wench
What percentage of the people looking for tours are tourists?
Most of them, but it depends on the day. We have a calendar showing when every cruise ship comes in and how many people will be on it so we can prepare. On June 26 there'll be almost 3,000 tourists in the city.

Where are most of them from?
The eastern States.

Who tips the best?
The actors don't get tips really, but every once in awhile an American tourist will hand them a $5 bill or something to show their appreciation.

Do you have any fond memories of tourists?
One time I had a couple come from outside Nova Scotia in the winter. It was the guy's birthday and his girlfriend was paying for the tour as a gift. That day I had been hoping no one would show up for the tour but they were here and so excited. Because it was more intimate---they were the only people on the tour--- we talked afterwards and I found out their story. It was really heartwarming to see how excited and happy they were.

Have you ever had a bad experience?
Not really, except sometimes people come here without realizing what kind of tour it is. Our tour is very theatrical and it's about the experience, yet some people come and think it's more like a beer tasting, so they get angry when we sing and perform and give them only two samples.

What's the funniest thing you've ever heard a tourist say?
At the end of the tour, everyone has their sample and the wench says "Cheers" in Gaelic, which is "Sláinte." So I go on the tour sometimes still to take a break from working at the cash register, and one time the guide told everyone to hold their beers up and said "Sláinte!" and one person said "What does that mean?" and some other guy said "It means it's time to go home!" That guy had been on the tour a few times and knew it was over after that point.


"Matthew", the fish 'n' chips man
What amount of your customers are tourists?
Thirty-five to 40 percent. Most are regulars and working-class people who live nearby.

Where do most of your tourist customers come from?
Cruise ships! Cruise ships are the big thing around here, and we're getting 130 this year.

What type of customer tips the best?
Usually the better cruises, like the Disney cruises.

Do you have any memory of a really awesome tourist customer?
Yeah, just yesterday, I mean we have hand-cut fries here and a lot of people don't get those so we had an English fella who was tickled pink about that. He came back here twice.

Do they ever give you a hard time about anything?
Not really. At Buskers and Tall Ships we get really lined up.

What's the funniest thing that you've heard a tourist say?
They've asked me if we get our fish from the harbour.

Really? How do you reply to that?
I just tell them we get it from about an hour away.


A collection of answers from Halifax tour guides
What percentage of your customers are tourists?
Eighty-five to 90 percent.

Where are most of them from?
Mostly Ontario.

Who tips the best?
Americans, or charter groups of people on business trips.

What are some of your fondest tourist memories?
Young boy high fives tour guide, exclaims "I'm never washing my hand again!"

Tour guide has a boat of 37 mentally challenged individuals who, after the tour, each give the tour guide a hug and ask for a photo---brings the tour guide to tears.

Male tour guide has middle-aged woman flash the 79th Highlander on Citadel Hill.

Tourist from out of town promises tour guide that she will knit her socks, socks were surely received.

Tour guide receives multiple offers for lunch when she tells group that it's her birthday.

Tour gets stopped in the middle of the Pride parade, multiple condoms and lube packets thrown on board to young tourists. "Mom, is this lipgloss?"

What are some bad experiences you've had with tourists?
Americans frequently get angry when receiving Canadian currency (we fondly remind them that it is illegal to give another country's currency back).

Lady from California absolutely losing her mind when her tour left without her. Quoted with saying "Shouldn't they have waited? I'm all the way from California...doesn't that mean anything?"

Many locals ask to leave their pets with us while they go on tour (and equip us with doo-doo bags in case the unthinkable should happen).

It sounds like the tour guides get to experience the craziest tourists! What are some funny things you've heard them say?

If Dartmouth is England: "Aren't you guys close to the UK?" (We think these folks were drunk.)

"Do the tires of the vehicle stretch down to the floor of the harbour?"

"Where is the original Bluenose?"

"Well, we could do this tour or we could whale hunting."

"What am I going to do with this Canadian money?"

After having been given Canadian change: "Can we use this off of the boardwalk?"

After the tour, tourists say they rented a car to visit "Jerry's friend" in Vancouver.

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