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.
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.
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.