Hotel most accommodating for a bit of banter

A reader phoned to book two nights at The Spencer On Byron ...

Me: "I would like to book a small suite for myself for two nights."

Booking guy: "Certainly sir, that would be $330 a night."

Me: "Your website quotes $267 a night!"


Him: "Let me check that sir ... Yes we would honour that, but that is a special advance booking with conditions that it would be non-refundable, and the booking would not be able to be changed."

Me: "So if I wasn't able to make it for any reason, maybe I had died, then the pre-paid booking would not be refunded."

Him: "That is right sir."

Me: "So if I couldn't make it, would it be okay for my wife to keep the booking herself?"

Him: "Afraid not sir, the booking is just in your name and only you personally are able to keep it."

Me: "So if I had died, my wife would have to bring the body to reception for identification and arrange to leave it alone in the room for two nights."

Him: "Hmm ... in those circumstances we might have to relax the booking conditions a bit!"

Me: "Okay, I can now accept the conditions and confirm the booking, ... but please warn reception that if they see a hearse pull into the forecourt ... they should expect the worst."

Him: "Thank you sir. I do urge you to keep well sir ... especially for the next month. I will send you the booking confirmation."

All done professionally and in good humour. Looking forward to my stay!

Spam calls a pig to deal with ...

What can be done about the international spam calls? One reader explains: "Tracing incoming international calls is either very difficult or impossible. It's likely that the calling numbers being displayed aren't real ones (known as spoofing), and they probably aren't even coming from the UK. They're just as likely to be coming from some boiler room operation in the far east, selling dodgy or non-existent investments. These calls might also be looking for office PBXs with low levels of security that can be hacked. The most important thing is NEVER to call back one of these numbers unless you are 100 per cent sure you know who has called you because you may find yourself connected to a premium number service charging you a fortune per minute."

... but you could try sleeping on it

Last year Sandra Hancock was receiving calls in the middle of the night on her landline, from an Indian mobile number. Her phone provider could only help if it was a NZ number. "One night when I answered the phone and no one was there I did not hang up, went back to sleep and more than four hours later at wake-up time, it still seemed connected. Someone may have had a horrendous phone bill because I have never had another call!"

Quick links

1. "The intrinsic comedy of a self-inflating airplane emergency escape slide".

2. Music nostalgia…Who remembers Dance Hall Days by Wang Chung? Such a catchy tune.

3. A new documentary, Three Identical Strangers, tells the story of three men who met each other as adults and found out they were identical triplets who had been adopted by three different families.

"After doing some research, the boys soon came to realise that their separation had been deliberate as a sinister social experiment by Peter Neubauer, a psychiatrist in New York. In fact Dr. Neubauer was responsible for the separation of dozens of newborn twins, scattering them among similar families to study their upbringing. The doctor used the children to explore the theory of 'nature vs. nurture'. Neither the doctor nor the adoption agency ever informed the adoptive family of each boy that they were separated triplets, only that their child was part of a developmental study. Dr. Neubauer had chosen the families because they each had a daughter around two years old at the time of adoption, but had varying levels of wealth. The triplets were then monitored closely throughout their lives." Watch the trailer here.

Video Pick

A radio station in Seattle found surveillance footage of a drunk guy trying to break in to a car in their parking lot with a mop. Naturally the DJ gives his play-by-play of the incident. (This is laugh-out-loud funny)

Got a Sideswipe? Send your pictures, links and anecdotes to Ana at