The recent bad publicity over the financial stability of the travel agent Thomas Cook has only added to the problems faced by the company. The feeling is that no one in their right mind is going to entrust their longed for summer holiday to a company which could crash at a moment’s notice or sink without trace in a sea of debt. To add woe to the misery of the beleaguered directors the staff, in the many hundreds of high street shops up and down the land, are now complaining that the only customers walking through their sticker bedecked doors are the mentally ill.
“To be fair, some of them aren’t too bad”, said Derek Pardoner, manager of the Cooks branch in the shopping and recreation centre, Epping Forest. “True, the schizophrenics can waste an afternoon and still not make up their minds, the agoraphobics can be really difficult to get out of the shop and tend to only book short breaks fairly close to home but bookings to Elba and St Helena are up 2000% compared to the same period in 1815.”
Other managers, however, are not so sanguine about the situation and have resorted to subterfuge to entice the unwary traveller into their shops. Several shops are reported to have changed their outward appearances to resemble those of their rivals. Many are trying to pass themselves off as being part of the Co-op group, an effect which is quickly dissipated by the courteous manners of the staff while yet others are masquerading as being independent agents who just happen to share the name Thomas Cook by way of a coincidence.
Some rogue managers have gone further and have possibly brought yet more trouble to the company. The newly named Captain Cook Travel in Whitby had to close after a booking to Hawaii was speared by a swarthy male wearing nothing but a grass skirt, tattoos and a bone through his nose. The police suspect a member of the local Goth community to be responsible for the atrocity.
Yet others have gone further. Thomas Cooks in Bethnal Green, now to all intents and purposes an Indian takeaway, has been deluged with complaints that customers are having to wait for up to two weeks in a Goa beach front all inclusive hotel before receiving their chicken tikka masalas. Mrs Angela Bath of Keswick, is threatening to sue after going into her local Thomas Cooks for a bag of spuds and a cabbage and discovering, when she got home, that all she had to accompany the Cumberland sausages she’d taken out the freezer for her husband’s tea was a diving holiday in Sharm el Sheikh.