Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Seriously? SERIOUSLY?

Я не люблю глупых людей. I do not like stupid people.

Taking the cake for this week's Dumb Stunt By Someone Other Than Me award goes to fantasy writer Catherynne M. Valente, who posted in her blog recently about booking a honeymoon to Russia, being told by Expedia that they "didn't need visas," and consequently being stranded in Frankfurt because of it. Valente's fans and readers are now taking up collections for her and are up in arms at Expedia on her behalf. They've even started a Facebook Group to "help" her and boycott Expedia.

I realize the Cold War is over (mhmm), but come on. Thinking you don't need a visa to go to Russia? Since when? The concept is so ludicrous. Who cares what Expedia says; isn't there an alarm bell that would go off and make you check another source?

I'm not a fan of the Expedias and Pricelines of the world, just because it's the least flexible option ever, but poor Expedia is just being ripped apart by this clueless woman and her even more clueless fans. Whatever happened to days of, oh, I don't know, checking with the State Department on whether or not you need a visa? Or even the Russian embassy? Expedia can't even give you seating assignments. Are they really expected to give you visa information? Did this woman even open a Russia travel book (all of which very early on talk about visa requirements). Did she not look at a single Wikitravel article? Even a three second Google of "Russia visa requirements"? Or did she actually just hop on the computer, do a vacation package search on Expedia, input her credit card, and then go to the airport?

To go to Russia.

I can understand if you're transitting through SVO or DME, and not being sure if you need one then (if it's a straight gate to gate transfer of >24 hours, then no, no you do not). But an entire vacation? Really? I wouldn't be so bothered by this woman if she accepted some shred of culpability in the whole thing; instead she cries victim.

Besides, if you didn't need a visa or any paperwork, what would you give the Militsia when they try to shake you down?


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