being rude on Vacation

photo by Chris Shultz

photo by Chris Shultz


I live on an island and in the summertime my hometown fills with visitors from all over the world. Having this many folks descend on our tiny piece of paradise requires a huge number of workers in the service industry to accommodate them. The service industry consists of wait staff, pool guys, reservationists, housekeepers, grounds keepers, technicians, bartenders, entertainers and a plethora of other folks. Most of these people are hard working individuals that have this short window of time during the year to make as much money as they can. They need to be able to sustain the winter months, when the island is dormant. They are paid hourly wages, some are salaried, but most are working for minimum wage and tips.

It’s not always paradise, in paradise.  

I have heard horrid stories about the undeserved treatment these people get during the High Season and some of it just makes my toes curl in anger. I have a difficult time understanding the motivation for a visitor to be incredibly rude and insensitive to workers that are obviously slammed on a daily basis trying to make sure their vacation is perfect.

From demanding attention pronto by waving paper in her face while a reservationist is trying to solve a domestic issue with another vacationer, to calling to insist a vibrator left behind in a bed side table be Fedexed to them at the rental company’s expense. These tales from the crypt run the gamut.

It almost makes you lose faith in humanity.

photo by Chris Shultz

photo by Chris Shultz

I wish for one moment the arrogance could be put aside and the economy of what is happening here could be considered before the harsh words are spoken, or the person hired to assist you is chided and belittled. For once could you just consider that what you paid to rent that beautiful beachfront property for two weeks is probably what this lady might make for the entire year.

Do you honestly think they want your rental property to have sand in the pool, or be missing the cable television station that broadcasts NASCAR? Do you think they want the air conditioning to go on the fritz or the hot tub to stop heating properly?

I can tell you they don’t. I can tell you, without a single doubt, that all of them want your vacation to be as perfect as you dreamed about all year before arriving on our tiny island. As long as everything runs smoothly and you leave with a smile on your face, they might continue to have a job there.

I have traveled all over the world and the one thing I have always kept foremost in my mind was that I was a visitor. I wanted to treat everyone, from the clerk at the front desk that checked me in, to the staff that gave me fresh towels or served me coffee, with as much respect as they treated me.

It’s a vacation. It’s a break from your daily grind in a new location with new people. Why not practice a little human kindness? Why not spread the love around a little?

Instead of being rude to the reservationist checking you in, stop at the Harris Teeter on the way there and pick her up a nice bouquet of flowers, or a box of chocolates. 

Bring the pool guy an iced lemonade and maybe invite him back for grilled burgers later.

If something doesn’t work, call and ask for repairs, but ask nicely. The people you’re contacting didn’t break it, but they are there available to you 24/7 throughout the duration of your vacation to make sure it works properly as quickly as they can fix it.

Clean up after yourself before you leave to go home.

Don’t leave trash on the beach.

Don’t try to pet or feed the wild horses.

Do enjoy your time on the beach.

Love your family and enjoy watching them having a blast in paradise.

Tip the housekeeper when you check out of your rental house.

Make your reservation for next year early and we will see you then.

photo by Chris Shultz

photo by Chris Shultz

It costs nothing to be kind, but it costs everything to leave behind a group of people that you hurt by being rude to them. Instead of making everyone so happy to see you leave, why not make them miss you and look forward to seeing you again next year?

Be a good vacationer and practice great vacationing behavior. It will make your time stress free and you really will go home more relaxed and ready to take on the rest of the year. Until next summer, this is Madeline Laughs and I’m going to go stick my toes in the sand.


About Madeline Scribes

A writer with a sense of humor. If anyone can laugh at life, it's me.
This entry was posted in All kinds of Advice and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to being rude on Vacation

  1. Suzan says:

    Another thing to remember is that the folks that do live here — cannot control the weather or the traffic. 🙂
    As a small business owner, monitoring your children should be the job of the parent and not the small business owner. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Those are very important! Often we get blamed because it’s rainy, but never get credit for preparing for those times by providing a lot of indoor activities they can participate in. And shop owners are not built in babysitters!! Good points Suzan!! 🙂


  2. Totally agree, there is no need for rudeness and bad manners. I was in a hotel restaurant in Germany recently and an American “gentleman” was talking to the waitress like she was an animal – get me this, get me that etc. I turned to him and told him to say please; which earned me a painful poke in the ribs from my wife but it was worth it.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. We have been visiting OBX every year now for 7 years, we are polite as we can be. The only issue I have when down there is the rudeness of SOME of the workers in the grocery stores and a few of the fast food restaurants. I understand that it is extremely busy and being I have worked retail and grocery stores all of my life, it can get frustrating, tiring and maybe a bit overwhelming, but there is no reason whatsoever, that you cannot say hello, smile and thank you when you are done with your customer. The McDonald’s in Kitty Hawk is poorly managed and probably will not be visited by us again. Other than that, most of the people we encounter are very friendly, helpful and we totally love OBX, our rental agents are always willing to help, the people who come out to fix things are always friendly, and we are the very same to them, Yes, rudeness is not necessary and I really understand that things aren’t always perfect. After all, we are visitors descending on your little part of the world, no need to be rude to anyone. Thanks for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jack says:

      Try doing what we do…and that is to go out of your way to be nice to them first. Not saying that you are not being nice to them but a little kindness does go a long way. My wife and I live here on the Outer Banks and we always go out of our way to say “Hello” to the workers at the grocery stores and restaurants. Trust me, you would be surprised how many will start talking back. We have found that upon the return trip to the store, the person behind the counter remembers you and says “Hello” first.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I always speak up to folks working in the supermarkets during High Season. It might be one of the few times a customer looks them in the eye and reminds them they are human beings.


    • tbyrdmedia says:

      I don’t know where you shop when you visit, but if you keep to “better” stores…i.e. Harris Teeter, Fresh Market, you will find people that are paid better, treat you better…these stores stress to their employees that the customer is number one…going to Wal**** or Food Kitty won’t get you that kind of treatment…there is a reason they are the “cheaper” stores…I think this is true every where you go in the world
      ….And all the Mom & Pop stores…i.e. Winks, Tommy’s Market, etc. are all wonderful experiences…

      What can I say about Fast Food…well, the same as shopping at cheaper stores…low pay is not going to attract the best employees…you get what you pay for…I must say, however, the McDonald’s in KDH has always had friendly employees, I stop there often on my way to work…

      Liked by 1 person

      • debbie says:

        I live local and find Food Lion employees, McDonalds employees, all of them nice. Instigate a conversation or thank you or hello and rarely, even when they are harried, will these workers be rude to you. Try it.


      • I agree 🙂 Never had an issue there.


      • OUCH!!!!

        It doesn’t matter where you work, what brand you wear or how tall you are. Trust me, just because you’re going to pay a little extra does not guarantee you’ll be treated any better. People at fast food restaurants or a lower priced supermarket will treat you just as well as anyone else will. 🙂

        now that’s FOOD for thought.


    • Thank you for stopping by Eileen. The McDonalds here are all managed by one company out of Virginia (I think). The upper management is very concerned with how their franchises are viewed by the customer and take great strides to correct and compensate any customer that feels they had received poor service. You can issue a written complaint directly on their website using this link:
      They will respond pronto! I know this because I have complained about that same McDonalds before. It works!


  4. Gladys says:

    My family and I have vacationed it the Outer Banks for 11 years! We have rented the same house for the past 7 years. We love it there. I take better care of the house we rent than I do my own house. I have had the pool guy compliment us for the past 3 years on how well we have taken care of the pool. This year we came the Sunday after Arthur hit. I cried as we drove down highway 12 because I could not believe what I was seeing. It broke me heart I was so impressed with the community and its ability to come together and over come the destruction that was left. I understand what you are saying about rude people, however not all of those that visit are rude. I go out of my way, to be respectful and supportive of all those who I come in contact with while we are there as does the other 9 people from our group that vacation together. I definitely do not want to be placed in the “rude vacationer” category!

    Liked by 1 person

    • No worries Gladys 🙂 If you aren’t rude, no one will put you in the Rude Category. Funny thing is, I think more people like you will read this post, than the ones the post was written about.


  5. says:

    Totally agree…. no need for rudeness and bad manners. We stay at Ocean Waves Campground in Rodanthe. Such nice, nice people that own/operate it. They go out of their way to serve us each year! I have seen some campers being so mean to them…..

    Liked by 1 person

  6. OK, I get your message. But I would like to add a few things. Waitresses in North Carolina make half of minimum wage and have to make up the rest with their tips. Management needs to take seriously the complaints of their customers, I will never again go to 2 restaurants because of horrible service. I had a waitress that didn’t know what syrup was, poured OJ all over me, left our order sitting on the ledge until the grease congealed on the bacon and sausage, never refilled our glasses or cleaned anything off the table, never brought part of our order and still got a 20% tip due to the size of the party. The 2nd story i similar but not quite as bad. This is what happens when you bring in foreigners to wait on people. I wasn’t rude when I spoke to the manager but I was right those people had no business waiting on me and the manger knew it. He was just to cheap to hire locally. I am an owner of 2 timeshares at Outer Banks Beach Club and have seen a real difference in service in he last 10 years


    • tbyrdmedia says:

      With a year round population of only 34,000…finding people to fill all the jobs that are required to fulfill the needs of the 150,000 plus weekly visitors,, during the “season,” doesn’t leave much choice…many businesses are forced to take foreign students for the summer to supply their employment needs…I know my employer tries very hard to find locals and US students (by offering free housing) before going abroad, but let’s face it…many of our young people don’t want to work service jobs…the businesses do what they have to do to keep their business running and keeping the rest of us employed year round…when they can…


    • Waitressing has two categories. The professional waitress that has been doing this hard and thankless job for years, but gets it right for every customer, every time. Then there are the kids just starting out and working for the first time. Those are the ones that require our patience as they learn to wait on people. Waiting on people and serving people is not an easy job!

      The OBX has to bring in people because there are not enough folks living here that can afford to be paid low wages like some of the service jobs can pay. They started an exchange program with countries like the Ukraine where young people can experience actually having some freedom and making real money. Can you imagine how incredibly mind opening this experience is for them? If you can’t, just Google Ukraine.


  7. “This is what happens when you bring in foreigners to wait on people” I can’t believe someone, was insensitive enough to put this comment in print. The reason all those foreigners are waiting on you in those stores, is because they are willing to accept the minimum wage, long hours and abuse from visitors, because the money they make here is the equivalent to a couple of years earnings in their homes! Yes they are slow to respond, because they don’t understand sarcasm, rudeness. The second reason those “foreigners” are here is because residents can’t live on the seasonal income.

    The comment in the article about tipping housekeepers, in the 5 years I cleaned; the sand, toys, vibrators, beer bottles in bath tubs, hair dye off new furniture, unusable food in freezers and shrimp peelings in the pool table; in those houses you stayed in, I never received a tip. Tipping is a thing of the past, unless its automatically added to a bill, its not going to happen.


    • Brava!!! Love this no nonsense comment about a situation that needs to be revamped. Housekeepers should be tipped!! The condition of some of these rentals homes after a week is atrocious!! I would be embarrassed!


  8. little birdy says:

    Seems to me that the rude people are from New York, Maryland, West Va., mainly the northern states. They think they own this place when they come here. I guess they are born that way, just rude people 27/7 no matter where they are. People from the east, south are just friendly people. I’ve lived here 25 years now, and every year gets worse. Been coming her for 50 years, still wish it was like it use to be. Now it’s a circus.


  9. He is pretty good with the camera ❤

    And you are right! Kindness cost nothing and gives back so much more than being rude does any day!


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