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How to Print Your Boarding Pass in Bordeaux in 39 Easy Steps

It’s another guest post by Mr. Hola! Expect tech talk, Futurama jokes and some funny bits.
Love, Ellen

If you’re anything like me, you think the idea of spending extra money to check in early to a flight is ridiculous. A problem arises, though, when you’re on vacation and don’t have the same resources you had back home (namely, a printer). Checking in and printing your boarding pass at the airport isn’t an option because it would cost even more monies (thanks, discount European airlines!). Therefore, you say to yourself “I’ll just find a place to print my boarding pass while I’m there and everything will be ok.”

If you happen to be vacationing in Bordeaux, you can print your boarding pass at the Bordeaux Library. It costs €.05. Here’s how you can make that happen:

  1. Find the Bordeaux Public Library (map).
  2. Locate the welcome desk on floor -1. Speak with Receptionist #1 and explain you’re trying to print literally one page.
  3. Speak with Receptionist #2 because she started asking questions and speaks decent English.
  4. Sit in lobby and use your phone to find any remotely legitimate document proving where you live, because apparently the library needs proof of address, even if you don’t live in Bordeaux.
  5. Pull up your London rental lease agreement on your phone and hand it (along with your passport) to Receptionist #2, hoping the documents will be accepted.
  6. Fill out paper form (entirely in French; no English here) and sign on the dotted line. Cross your fingers that you haven’t signed away the deed to your house but acknowledge that it’s not outside the realm of possibilities.
  7. Receive library card (huzzah!)
  8. Browse Reddit on your phone because you have to wait ten minutes after receiving a card to put credit on it so you can pay for the pages you print, which are charged at €.05pp.
  9. Wait twenty minutes (to be on the safe side).
  10. Cut a hole in the box.
  11. Return to welcome desk. Speak with Receptionist #3 because Receptionist #2 has mysteriously vanished (and #1 is busy helping someone else). Explain you just want to print something and you just received a library card. Add €.10 to your card, assuming you might screw up and need a little extra credit.
  12. Ask where the the computers are. Go to floor 0 (ground) because you get floors mixed up a bit, even though you were told the machines are on floor 1.
  13. Find Receptionist #4 at info desk #2 on floor 0. Explain you want to use a computer to print something.
  14. Listen to Receptionist #4 explain you can use any computer, but to use one with printer functionality requires going to floor 1 and a computer reservation.
  15. Head up to floor 1 while wondering what the hell Receptionist #4 meant by “reservation” and hope it doesn’t take much time.
  16. Find reception desk #3, along with Receptionists #5 and #6 in what appears to be a computer lab. Speak with Receptionist #5 who explains a computer will be available in exactly eight minutes, but only for exactly ten minutes. Reserve said workstation.
  17. Convince yourself that — since you are a technical IT person for a major company as well as “the IT guy” for two small businesses and two charitable organizations — you can surely handle logging in to your email to print out the pdf you need in under ten minutes.
  18. Browse Reddit for eight minutes (until the workstation becomes available).
  19. Find the desk you’ve been assigned and log on to the computer (Workstation #1).
  20. Launch Firefox. Start typing “gmail.” Realize you’re typing on a French keyboard. Notice the keys:
  21. Have a seizure just from looking at the keyboard:
  22. Finally: log into your email. Open pdf file in the browser. Hit “print.” Select the right printer, and hit “ok” when told you’ll be charged €.05.
  23. Walk over to printer to find nothing. Go back to your workstation and try the color printer because why not. Go back to the printer to again find nothing.
  24. Log off the workstation because your time is now up. Yay.
  25. Go back to the info desk (reception desk #3). Receptionist #5 has vanished. Explain the issue to Receptionist #6, who doesn’t speak good English.
  26. Enter Receptionist #7 (who speaks good english), who explains you have to download a pdf to the computer and open it in acrobat reader — not in a browser — to print.
  27. Wonder why opening a pdf in adobe makes one damn bit of difference. Give the library people (wrongly) the benefit of the doubt.
  28. Sign up for another computer session with Receptionist #6. Fortunately, there’s an open workstation and you are granted 40 minutes at Workstation #2.
  29. Deal with the French keyboard. Again. Wonder why they can stage a revolution over the eating of cake but not terrible key placement.
  30. Download the pdf to the desktop. Open it in Adobe reader. Hit print.
  31. Walk to the printer to find again, nothing has printed.
  32. Go back to Workstation #2 and select the other printer. Hear noises in the printer room. Become unrealistically optimistic.
  33. Flag down Receptionist #5. Listen to him explain that although you hit print, you have to also log on to the computer in the printer room (Workstation #3).
  34. Hit “print” one more time. Go with Receptionist #5 to printer room. Log on to the computer and find half a dozen files waiting to be printed listed in some ridiculous, home-grown Java program. Select one of the pdfs at random. Hit “print.”
  35. Watch as the printer miraculously sputters to life and prints out your one piece of paper.
  36. Log out of Workstation #3. Go back to your desk and log out of Workstation #2.
  37. Wonder a) why Workstation #3 needs to exist, and b) WHY NOBODY TOLD YOU HOW ANY OF THIS WORKED BUT INSTEAD ONLY ANSWERED THE QUESTIONS YOU ASKED AND NOTHING MORE. Ponder why printing one page required three info desks, seven receptionists, three computers, and over an hour of your time.
  38. Leave library ultimately victorious, head held high and reflect on why they don’t offer free wine at every computer terminal.
  39. Find wine nearby. It’d be rude not to. And crepes. For science.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Linda Avery

    Britton, this is hilarious! Thanks for sharing – and remind not to go to Bordeaux!

  2. Mandie Lynn

    I actually laughed out loud, and I’m crazy enough I’m going to attempt to do this myself.

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