Many of us will have to call upon the Foreign Office for advice or help at some stage in our lives, whether it is because we’ve lost our passport whilst on holiday or stag weekend abroad, or if we’ve been involved in an accident whilst away. More people than you would think however, call upon the FO for strange and quite ridiculous personal requests, a recent one being a call to the Spanish consulate asking for Prince Charles’s shoe size so they could send him a pair of shoes as a present.
Today, the FO have revealed some of these requests in the hope that it will inform people (or embarrass a fair few fools!) as to what they can help with and what they can’t.
Earlier this year, a consulate was set up in Malaga to filter the calls coming in to make sure that only the valid calls were transferred. However, it seems that people still have very little idea of what can and can’t be done with hundreds of personal calls being made for requests that range from a woman asking the Malaga consulate where she could book a Christmas dinner as everywhere she had called was already booked up, to a call to the Sydney consulate from a man asking what he should pack for his holiday and another to the Spanish consulate from someone asking for Phil Collins’ phone number.
Our favourite is a man who called up the British consulate and asked if they could find a dominatrix that had stranded him at the airport!
Consular Affairs Minister Jason Browne said;
“Our priority is to help people in real difficulty abroad and we cannot do this if our time is diverted by people trying to use us as a concierge service…We need to be able to focus primarily on helping victims of serious crimes, supporting people who have been detained or assisting people who have lost a loved one abroad.”
So, next time you’re wondering who you can call to get Mick Jagger’s phone number or to find out what you should eat for dinner that night, it’s worth having a look on the Foreign Office site to see what they’re actually capable of helping you with, which by the way, is none of the above.
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