Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

In our short one week workamper experience as park host Judy and I have seen the polar opposites of “camper” behavior.  The important thing to remember is that the friendly positive almost stereotypical image of campers is by far what has been demonstrated here.  In fact, 99.999% of our contact has been “super dooper” as one of my former XO’s would say.  The sad thing about it is I did not feel the need to write about all the nice things we have experienced.  After all, isn’t that what we expect to find at a campground?  Campers being nice and friendly is not news, it is expected!

Today we only have six sites occupied, not counting the group with Andy Holt. I’ll be talking more about them in my next post.  Over the weekend we were at near capacity and lots of people were here. As the park was full we did not get to go around and visit with campers much.  Our contact with campers was limited to the time they checked-in or a wave as we made our rounds in the golf cart. I did have to remind a few people of the parking restrictions but that was to be expected.  As campers checked in they welcomed us to the park as we welcomed them.  Some of the niceties we did not expect included; (a.) offers of fresh fish catches, (2) two large slices of home-made chocolate cake delivered to us at the registration office, (3) two jars of home-made pickles and (4) two cooked on site prime rib dinners with all the fixings sent up last night.  None of these things were expected but we were not surprised by the camper’s generosity. 

Here is a short account of a polar opposite to the above narrative. I am going to try to keep this short as it irritates and upsets me on a number of levels. It does require that I give some background.  On Friday a group of 4-5 young men came into the office to register and check in. Judy and I checked them in.  Since they had about 2/3rds of the tent sites reserved it took a few minutes. I could tell by the tattoos and haircuts they were soldiers, probably from nearby Fort Benning.  They were very animated and joking around.  We talked some and I informed them of my 25 yrs in the military and an immediate bond was formed. Judy continued to process them and we continued to talk and joke around. When a group of military personnel are off duty the rank structure is still in play. I quickly identified the leader by his take charge manner. He told me they visit the park often. He also jokingly said, you aren’t going to have any problems from us. I said “I can already tell”.  He told me some of their wives and girl friends would be showing up later. 

I made lots of rounds of the park because of the large number of campers and guest in the park.  On each trip I found only the normal activities and noise expected in a full park.  Campers were relaxing, visiting and in general having a great weekend.  I made my last round each night about half an hour after we closed the gate.  I did not observe any inappropriate behavior or loud music.  On Sunday campers did not waste any time on getting out.  I made a special trip down to check on the military group and to let them know that in the future we were going to give them a military discount per my boss Mike.  I barely got there in time.  All the tents were down and packed up and the grounds were spotless. I talked with the leader of the group and told him how pleased I was with them and looked forward to their next visit.  As the day ended Judy and I took a sigh of relief and were pleased that things worked out so well.

Monday morning Judy and I reported to work knowing it was going to be a dead day. Around 9:00 A M our boss, Mike stopped by to chat and ensure we didn’t need anything.  The phone rang and Judy took the call.  I could tell from Judy’s facial expression this wasn’t a reservation call. The caller wanted to know if he could have a refund.  Judy questioned him as to why. Mike and I were listening to the conversation. He told Judy that he went to the site he rented and decided he didn’t want to stay and left the park. Judy inquired as to why he didn’t stop by and let us know Friday instead of waiting until Monday. Then he got more to the point. He said he didn’t want to be around the other people there. He also said it was too loud and the people had too many dogs. Judy quickly pointed out that they had no dogs. Judy told him she did not feel comfortable giving a refund since he didn’t let us know on Friday. Who is to say he didn’t stay on the site. Judy told him she would check with the manager and then give him a call back.  Judy relayed to Mike the conversation she had. I was amazed that someone would call and even ask for a refund two days after the fact without letting us know at the time.  Mike told Judy to dial the number and let him talk to the guy. Mike introduced himself and told him GA Power wanted to provide quality service and would like to ask a few questions.  The guy started with the too many pets complaint and Mike reminded him there were no dogs. Mike asked him if there was anything about the operation of the park that he did not like and he said no. Mike then said to the man, “I think you have a problem with the clientele of the park.” He responded “there were too many Mexicans for this white boy.” Mike reminded him that most of the men he found offensive were soldiers who had served in combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq fighting for him. The guy did try to back paddle. Mike did give Judy permission to destroy the man’s check. Mike also gave the man some sage advice.   I sure hope he never returns to this park. I don’t know anyone with military experience that ever questioned the ethnicity of service members who helped them when the rubber met the road.  

I guess we will always have ignorant, intolerant fools to deal with.  I have been writing this entry a little at a time today and will be posting it in about 15 minutes, around 11:30 PM.  Tomorrow Judy and I will be returning home for our week off. Tomorrow is also the first day campers can make reservations for Memorial Day weekend.  This is no joke, at 10: 00 PM tonight the first two people were lined up outside the locked gate. By morning approx 20-25 people will be lined up to be able to register for the 15 lake front sites. That is dedicated campers.

Thanks for stopping by. I have read your comments, thanks.


  1. That's sad that people can't get beyond judging other people by their ethnicity and/or color. :(

  2. Wow, that's incredible. One thing I do not tolerate either is racial bias. Good for you and the owner for standing up to him.

  3. narrow minded, ignorant people! Sounds like you all handled it very well and these folks should be ashamed of themselves!