Merry Christmas 7/25/10

Date:                           July 25, 2010


Location:                    Plattekill, NY




            It was Christmas in our campground yesterday, and yes we did get to see Santa.  He looked a little warm, but we are located in the tropical region of a New York summer and not the North Pole.  I don’t think Rudolph would have been happy prancing around in the 90 plus degree humidity of our heat wave.  The reindeer were lucky.  Santa left them backing in the cool stalls of the North Pole and he rode around our campground on our fire truck.  Santa managed to get a few “Ho! Ho! Ho’s”out. But I think he was trying to say hot hot hot.  I think he lost seventeen pounds just in perspiration while he was here.


            We did not have a Christmas tree or many decorations, but Santa and our planned activities tried to capture the holiday spirit.  I am not sure how effective they were, because we saw a lot of people lingering around the cool swimming pools.  I am not sure they were singing Christmas Carols.  I am sure they were looking for cool.  I was sequestered inside of our registration office and store. Did I mention that our store is air-conditioned?  I did not find a major need to spend very much time outside.  If anyone wanted to talk to me they could come into my cool den and converse all that they wanted.


            Working at the registration counter is a very interesting and sometimes challenging choice of vocations.  Dealing with the public is always an interesting endeavor and mind expanding learning experience.  I now that the mantra should be, “The customer is always right.”  But, sometimes it is very hard to remember that.  How can the customer be right when it is quite evident that they are living in some far distant world that has little, if any, connection to the reality of the world in which the real people exist.  I know that during the “terrible two” years of our lives that we learn if we scream loud enough and throw a big enough temper tantrum the world will right itself and revolve around us as we know it always should.  There are no other people, except that they be subservient to us and our needs.  But, aren’t we supposed to out grow that childish realism and enter the adult world at some time?  Isn’t the “terrible two” syndrome supposed to be relevant to our age of two years old and not to the fact that we are “too” stupid and self centered to realize there are other people in the world?


            A simple story will, hopefully, explain my attitude.  It is about a gentleman that had the temerity to drive up to our campground with no reservation, no prior call to check for availability and the expectation for us to manufacture a place for him to park his motorhome in a campground that was full to overflowing.  We apologized for the inconvenience, but let him know that we were indeed full and had even rented all of our “overflow” sites.  We even gave him the number of our competitor, a free directory of KOA campgrounds across the country, and reminded him that it would have been better for him to have phoned us prior to driving the nine or ten miles out to our campground to find that we had no place for him at the inn.  This was a case where we tried to be as right with the customer as we could given the situation.

            This wonderful, tolerant,  understanding gentleman decided to yell at us and argue that; One we should still have a place for him and his motor home; and two, we must be kidding about being full.  He wanted a camp site and we were a campground and that was all that mattered.  The world was here to serve him and we are part of the word.  He could not understand why we had a sign at the interstate exit that directed him to our campground if we did not have any camp sites.  The sign was there, we were here and he should have a site.  Simple enough, so he thought.  I guess he thought we should send an employee to every KOA sign in the area and wave at all campers explaining that we had no vacancies.  Or maybe we should just go and remove every KOA sign from every cross roads in the area until Sunday or Monday when we might again have a spot for this small minded Neanderthal.  The whole world must change its rotational perspective because he was too stupid or too careless to bother to call ahead to see if there might be a place for his evening rest.  It was of course our fault that he failed.


            Attempting not to laugh in a customers face in this situation is very difficult.  I could only find so many ways to say I am sorry.  And I could not find enough ways to explain what “no vacancy” really meant.  He did not leave a very happy customer, but then I guess he was really not a customer at all.  I did give him a directory and a little advice about calling ahead.  After one jumps from a plane it is a really bad time to begin planning on buying a parachute.  I am truly sorry, but sometimes the glass is not half full, it is not half empty, it is just plain broken all to hell and it ain’t gonna hold any water. 


            I hope the old fart found a place to put his sorry butt for the night.  I hope he learned a lesson in making a few prior plans.  And I hope he will, at some time, grow up and realize that he is no longer two years old.  He can throw a temper snit and kick his feet all he wants, but the universe is real and it does have many other elements in it that must be considered.  His world may well revolve around him, but the universe is made up of many many worlds.


            Merry Christmas, I think I got a lump of coal in my stocking.