Nothing jolts you awake early in the morning like an email informing you that you’re completely useless. So when I received a note from William E. Reed, Jr., of Fairview, Texas, declaring that one of my recent articles “wasted” his time, I wondered what I’d done to offend him. ““Writing is not your best thing. Try flipping hamburgers.””
I had to wonder what was wrong after numerous travel agents posted furious responses to today’s story about an agent that acted in an apparently unethical manner. Why were they being so defensive of a colleague who probably ought to be looking for another line of work?
The most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics figures, as presented in the American Society of Travel Agents’ 2008 outlook (PDF) offers an explanation: Travel agents are headed toward extinction. Their numbers have shrunk from 111,130 a decade ago to 85,580 in 2007, the last year for which numbers are available. What’s more, the government projects that the number of agents will remain flat through the middle of the next decade.
No wonder they’re upset. But they’re in good company.
“Why are travel agents so defensive about one bad apple? Here’s a clue …”