A Rant on Tourists

I live in a tourist town.  We have tourists from May thru September.  Most of them arrive on giant floating cities.  Some arrive via metal tubes that shoot through the air.

It doesn’t matter how they get here.

Either way they arrive….

Some where.

Some how.

They’ve lost all their smarts and have become clueless.

Is there an alien space craft that hoovers over these crowds of people and sucks out their abilities to think reasonably before they land?  Or is it something in the water served on board?  Don’t eat the tiny bag of peanuts, it’s contaminated with brain enzymes that will eat away your sense of logic for the next 7 days….

Here’s my list of current concerns with the tourists.  I thought about putting it in a David Letterman style of list, but they’re all just as equally aggravating to me.  It doesn’t matter where you’re at, all tourists are the same, the blind leading the blind.  Remember, when you go on vacation – don’t forget to pack your brain – I’d put it in my carry on if I were you.

1.  Know where you’re going.  Alaska, is not part of Canada.  Nor, are we part of Russia.  Alaska is not off the California coastline, near Hawaii.  Responding to a question with “I don’t know.  My spouse arranged the trip.  Where are we today?  Kansas?”  No, Dorothy, not Kansas….and don’t make me break out my flying monkeys….they haven’t had breakfast yet today.”

1.  What’s with the shoes?  Next time you go on a vacation, check out the shoes.  90% of the people on vacation buy new shoes to wear on the trip.  For Alaska, that means they buy big, chunky, heavy soled hiking boots.   After all, they’re coming to Alaska where there’s only dirt trails, igloos and wild native people running around.

Apparently, there’s a lot of hiking to be done between the diamond store and the tanzanite store and the gold nugget shop and the t-shirt store and the trinket shop and the kettle corn stand and the opal store and the bus tour excursion and the restaurant and the….

When you go on vacation, don’t you want your feet to be happy?  Why wear something that’s going to make you miserable.  Oh, wait!  I get it!  You’re trying to fit in with the locals!  Ah ha.  Right.

(I do have to share one story where I had a couple sitting in the front seat of the bus who were going on a tour, that I was driving the transfer for.  Both the husband and wife were decked out in the latest hiking clothing, freshly pressed, brand new hiking boots and jungle hats.  Each was frantically tapping away on their iPhones.  When I announced the parking area we’d be stopping in for their tour would be muddy, they both instantly looked up at me and curled their lips back in disgust.  I nearly said something – but held back.  Isn’t that the reason you’re dressed the way you are?  To experience a true Alaskan adventure?  Apparently not.)

1.  Make a Decision!  I work in a building, that has several small retail shops on the first two floors.  Tourists, always, always, always stop in front of the door in a far off daze….confused as to what to do next.  Here’s a hint:  either you’re in or your out.  Which one is it?  There’s not revolving door here like at the Trump Tower so you only have to choose a direction….are you going inside to shop or continuing on the sidewalk?  Either way, make a decision and move it!

1.  Share the Sidewalk.  Without fail, daily walks up and down the street outside my office have become a battle ground that would be worthy of a competition.  People are lolly-gaging around, looking every which way but where they’re going.  If you’re a party of three and see someone approaching you – move over and share the sidewalk.  If you’ve just run into Marge and Steve and want to talk about tonight’s dinner options, then move over to the side so other folks can pass by you easily!

Why is it people feel the need to own it all?  Then they’re annoyed when you go around them by saying, “excuse me.”

Note to yourself:  Rude is  not sharing the sidewalk.  Especially with the locals.

1.  Watch the Umbrella!  The primary use of an umbrella is to keep you dry.  The secondary use of an umbrella is to gouge out people’s eye balls.  Note:  when raining and you’re walking under blocks of canopied sidewalk – an umbrella is unnecessary.  Secondary note:  It’s all fun and games until someone looses an eyeball.

If you did your vacation destination research, you’d already know southeast Alaska is part of the Tongass National RAINFOREST.  Which means…it rains….a lot.  Showing up unprepared and either having to wear a cheap trash bag rain poncho or better yet, tying a plastic bag over your head is inexcusable.  Did you know, you can actually purchase rain jackets?  Complete with a hood!  At a decent price!  They come in any color to match your hair/eye/lipstick color? Better yet, guess what?  You can by these in your home town and even online!  Shocking, isn’t it?!  Choose the rain jacket – forget the trash bag.

Note to yourself:  Yes, you can even get matching his and her’s rain jackets!  Amazing what clothing manufactures have thought of these days.  You say your husband will only wear this one men’s style?  Easy fix for you! Just get the man’s version in a smaller size for yourself.  Problem solved.

1.  Picture Taking.   Although there may be 4 giant cruise ships in town on the day you are visiting.  Although the sidewalks may be packed with tourists carrying souvenir bags.  Although people are stopping left and right to take pictures of our quaint town.  This town is still a fully functioning city.  Complete with people who work full time jobs.  The cars, going down the road…guess what…they’re real!

Stopping to take a picture in the middle of the street is stupid.  This isn’t Disneyland.  When you turn around and realize there’s a 2 ton pick up truck waiting patiently to continue down the street, don’t look annoyed – they could have run you down.  Did they honk the horn at you?  Oh, wait, they did….because you had to take more than one picture from that spot….and you’re holding up local traffic!

1.  Crosswalks.  We have a multitude of cross walks and two situations commonly occur at these locations.  Either, people think the crosswalk automatically forces cars to stop immediately – or they believe it’s a great spot to take a picture.  In either case, the visitor isn’t looking – they step right off the sidewalk….into the middle of oncoming traffic, completely unaware of the car that had to come to a screaming halt to avoid hitting them.

Note to yourself:  When at a crosswalk, you still have to stop and look both ways before crossing.  There’s not an invisible barrier shield in place to protect you.

Second note to yourself:  When you are 3/4 of the way across the street – KEEP GOING!  Stopping 5 feet from the other sidewalk – is not the sidewalk!  You are still IN THE STREET and likely to get hit.

1.  Did you know?   When you step off the curb, you are in the street?  Did you know cars go back and forth on the street?  Did you know you can get killed or hit by a car when you blindly step off the curb, into the street, in front of a car?

Note to yourself:  When planning to step off the curb, into the street, you might want to see what kind of vehicle is about to pass you.  You know, to avoid that run down feeling.

1. P’s & Q’s.   Kindness matters.  People will go out of their way to help a person who shows a hint of common courtesy and good manners.  Did it every occur to you to say thank you to your tour bus driver?  How about offering your front seat to the lady with a walking disability?  Or waving to the local who kindly stopped for you in the middle of the street – as you darted out from between parked cars?  The local who explained to you how to get to a particular restaurant – did you say thanks?  Or just turn around and walk away?  Right.

1.  You Know What They Say About Assuming.  Just because someone is driving a tour bus, working as a crossing guard, serving patrons in a bar or volunteering in a visitor center….doesn’t mean they are the uneducated and low-life people you are assuming they are…since that is the job they are doing.  On the contrary my friend.  Chances are those people are company managers, business owners, office managers, retired military, school teachers and other respected community members.  Even if they weren’t, it doesn’t give you the right to think any less of them – and disregard their kindness when they assist you.

We do these jobs because we enjoy them.  We enjoy sharing our love for Alaska with visitors every day.  We don’t expect much, but an occasional thank you and appreciative nod goes along way.

Note to yourself:  Hey!  Saying thank you, please or just hello – it won’t hurt me and might even brighten my day a bit!

1.  Don’t Insult the Locals.  I work in tourism.  I deal with tourists on a regular basis.  Nothing aggravates me more than when someone who thinks I can’t hear them says: “Who would want to live here?  I could never live here.  I wouldn’t be caught dead living here.”

Good news!

You don’t have to worry about living in my community!

We only let people with a positive attitude, sparkling personality,  witty sense of humor, appreciation for the beauty of Mother Nature, the easy going attitude of whatever Mother Nature throws at us, we can handle, the ability to handle hurricane force winds on a seasonal basis without blinking an eye, common sense when driving in the snow, adjustment to living with wild animals such as bears – knowing they can rip our heads off therefore approaching to pet them is not a smart move, cook a mean dinner and throw a good right hook when necessary…. into this state.

Don’t worry! You are safe.  We have already voted you off the island.  See ya!

1.  Can You Hear Me Now?  My number one pet peeve of all time is “don’t waste my time.”  Hate it.  Drives me insane.  It’s simple.  My time is just as valuable as your time.   When I explain to you, in great detail, how to get back to your ship using the city shuttle.  I’m actually, literally, POINTING out where you need to go — and you turn around 3 minutes later to ask me the same question – you’re an idiot and shouldn’t have gotten off the ship.  Don’t worry, I’ll contact the village and let them know you’re okay.

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