Saturday, June 21, 2008

EXTRACT:5 reasons that everybody hates a tourist

1: Money

Wherever you’re going, it’s a safe bet that you’ve got more disposable income than most of the people that are there. The farther you go, the greater the disparity will grow. Now, money isn’t everything but it can more-or-less buy everything and so it ends up figuring rather significantly in the minds of people who haven’t got so much of it. I’m not suggesting that your squandering conspicuous sums of money on international travel will engender the sort of resentment that, say, the self-indulgence of the French Royal court did in 1789, or the lavish excesses of the Russian aristocracy in 1917. No, Not a bit of it: The fops and dandies in question interacted very little with the peasantry, yet still annoyed them enough to precipitate a bloody revolution. Tourists are there in the people’s face every day for the whole bloody Summer. Which leads us to…


2: Luggage

A lot of foreign travel involves cities. Even if you think you’re going to a bit of exotic countryside you’re bound to end up flying into an airport on the fringes of some major conurbation and then getting a train or taxi through the city centre to your destination. Let’s hope it is a taxi, because that’s just an annoying car like so many others and unlikely to give rise to too much smouldering resentment. If you’re on a train or an underground system of sort you’ll be dragging assorted pieces of bulky luggage around with you, scuffing the shins of pedestrians with your suitcase, obliviously crushing the newspapers of  tube travellers with your rucksack, or tripping absolutely everybody up with one of those spectacularly annoying trolley-bag affairs. You may think that you’re having enough trouble struggling from airport to hotel or train terminus, but the people you’re inadvertently barging into are on their way to or from work, and were probably in a fairly bad mood before you clattered into them with your skis. Which rather calls to mind..


3: Congestion

The joy, such as it is, of visiting a foreign city is stopping to look up at the interesting architectural features, unexpected poor weather, or strange and unusual birds that are about to defecate on your head. The drawback to these simple pleasures of course is that every time you stop to rubberneck at an exotic-looking and mildly pornographic advertising hoarding you will cause a concertina of collisions in the ‘long tail’ of fast-moving locals behind you who have seen all this stuff before and are just trying to get to where they’re going before the monsoon rains kick in. Which naturally takes us to..


4: Time

You’ve got lots of it. The people you’re asking for directions have little or none. The people behind you in the queue for overpriced cups of coffee have even less. Words do not exist to describe the depth of their hatred for you. Please remember that in many other countries knives and guns are more commonly carried than they are in – say – Royal Tonbridge Wells. Which takes us rather neatly to..


5: Money (again)

The presence of a large group of people with substantial amounts of disposable income, generous amounts of leisure time to fill and no way of storing or cooking fresh food tends to skew the local economy somewhat in the direction of overpriced coffee or sandwich bars and expensive clothing shops. Exactly the opposite of what you need if you actually live in one of these places, where all you want is a sensibly priced pastie to reheat in the office microwave for your lunch, a reasonably-priced dry cleaners and somewhere to buy an emergency present for your wife’s birthday and you’re not made of bloody money and you’ve only got an hour to eat, get your suit cleaned and buy the Smallest Diamond On Earth™.


Anonymous said...

All five reasons can be boiled down to a single, underlying cause: "We hate foreign folks and don't want them around here". You'll find the attitude quite global in its distribution.

Anonymous said...

You must be a sad person. Take a pill and put up with people entitled to a vacation.

FatSean said...

That's why we prefer to rent an apartment. Money saved on meals balances out the increased cost, plus you get healthier food.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said: "You must be a sad person. Take a pill and put up with people entitled to a vacation."

It's not that he's sad, it's just that he thinks it's cool to be a hipster douchebag. You know, he knows everything and tourists are just bumbling, ignorant miscreants that he has to put up with between capuccinos.

Grouchy said...

I have traveled and lived all over the world, it just isn't so. A small effort to be nice, learn a few words of the language, show some actual interest in the place, respect their customs ... tourists don't have to be bad.

Yojay said...

Living in Orlando, Fl for the past 15 years working for the world's largest theme park operator, I completely agree with all 5 points. The rubber-necking here is more on the freeways with countless illegal turns, lane changes and stopping at off ramps.

The labor required to work in this service related town can barely afford to live in here. It's even worse in Hilton Head, SC, where the closest affordable housing is at least 45 minutes away.

Anonymous said...

don't worry, most turism destinations do a pretty good job in draining their guests of all of their money. If you're a turist, stuff costs triple of what locals pay.

Anonymous said...

>>vwhere all you want is a sensibly priced pastie<<

tell me about affordable pasties seen on vacation

merlallen said...

No kidding, why don't you people stay home where you belong? Stop asking me where the good places are to go to in Seattle, do your own damn research. I'll send you to the most dangerous part of town because I hate you and hope you get killed.

rc said...

"spectacularly annoying trolley-bag affairs" Ha! I've never heard of something described as '_spectacularly_ annoying,' but you're right!

I traveled to Thailand once, and though I was on my bestest behavior, respectful aware... I still knew that half the locals must hate me... and I can't say I blame em... f'in tourists...

Dave said...

The simple and obvious solution is to simply send them the money (which they DO want), and stay home where you will not only not complicate their lives, but avoid complicating your own (YOU know where to get all the things that you need and want.

Pedro Veracio said...

whoever said the thing about ppl being "entitled" to a vacation says it all right there. tourists are annoying but tourists with a sense of entitlement are about the worst. anyway, on the whole, fair observations. cheers.

Anonymous said...

These people need tourists for their economy. So they can deal with it.

Anonymous said...

Awww, c'mon people! Not EVERY tourist is like this!

I, for one, make sure I can communicate decently with people in one of their national languages in every country I've visited.

I make sure I have money in their currency -- enough to cover day-to-day needs -- but not too much. Having too much money on your person is just dumb anyway.

My luggage is as compact as possible, given the length of the visit, because I know that (1) I'll be carrying it, not expecting locals to do it for me and (2) I know that taxis and other methods of transport that I encounter sometimes cannot handle large bags.

I also have up-to-date maps (and/or my hand-held GPS unit) so I don't have to ask for directions and disturb people. Is that really so freakin' difficult to do?

I've traveled to 7 different countries and haven't had any problems. Just be intelligent about these things, don't do anything stupid, and don't act like you're entitled.

Susan said...

I live/grew up in Southern California, and put myself through college working at Disneyland.
Tourists EVERYWHERE. But any local with an ounce of sense knows what side street to pop down to get a decent low-cost meal and how to avoid the touristy sections of town during the rush season. Our economy depends on these poor pasty sods from Midwestern-ville, and by and large, there's a lot of good humored tolerance (and yes, occasional swearing).
That said, can I ask someone, ANYONE, what the heck is up with the British passion for paying large sums of money to travel out of the UK and then go to great lengths to find the very same bland crappy food they left behind in Britain? This one just baffles me beyond belief!

Anonymous said...

Let me translate this people who do not suffer from the author's douchebag affliction:

1) Don't bring money. It will only piss off the locals. Perhaps you can steal or beg while you're there.
2) Don't bring lugggate. It will only piss off the locals. You don't need anything but the clothes on your back anyway.
3) Don't look at anything. For god's sake you have plenty to look at back home. You don't need to LOOK at stuff while you're on vacation. The locals are trying to get somewhere, and you'll piss them off.
4) Don't waste anyone's time. This means, for god's sake, don't speak with ANYONE. NEVER ask questions. Better yet, don't even LOOK at anyone, even indirectly. It will only piss them off.
5) Don't bring money. It "skews the local economy" which pisses off the locals. Did we mention don't bring money?

fwengebola said...

Fuck me, Mikey, you get some angry commentators. I think I must've had it easy these past couple of years.

As I've always said, everyone's a tourist when they leave their city, village or shed. Keep your head down, blend in, or give up and gawp.

Cat Skyfire said...

The one catch is, tourists do have money... And whereas at home they might be frugal, on vacation, they have the attitude of "I've saved for this, I'm going to enjoy myself." Which translates to "I'm going to spend money."

Tourists can be frustrating... But even more frustrating for a lot of places is no tourists. Tourists bringing money to spend on the local economy.

Anonymous said...

merlallen said...
"No kidding, why don't you people stay home where you belong? Stop asking me where the good places are to go to in Seattle, do your own damn research. I'll send you to the most dangerous part of town because I hate you and hope you get killed."

We do that in Miami all the time, but they just keep coming. I don't mind the Latin Americans so much as the fucking Brits. I swear, if Germany ever invades that cesspool island again, I hope that we have the good sense to stay the hell out of it.

Brits are shit tippers, rude, pompous, and they piss in public and vomit a lot.

Anonymous said...

"Take a pill and put up with people entitled to a vacation."

Entitled? Rather presumptuous... what entitles those people to a vacation? Their money? (see article) Or rather, who is not entitled to a vacation?
I live in DC. Tourists inherently have money as described (otherwise they wouldnt be tourists) and are often annoying, luckily in DC they are limited to the smithsonian/monument area.

LadyDrinkKing said...

As Oscar Wilde might have said, there is only one thing worse than having tourists with money in your city. And that is not having tourists with money in your city.

Millions of people worldwide depend on tourists for their livelihood, so why not ease up? Funny comments nonetheless.

GuardianKnight said...

Let me just say that I like traveling. What i don't like is: Traveling and having to endure locals with bad attitudes, that wouldn't even have a job if not for the tourist economy. Texas is horrible....bad drivers. I think they give Texas people drivers licenses in hopes that they thin out their population.

Americans do feel like they have a right to vacation. Everyone is doing their part in some area of the economy and sometimes feel that their time off is well deserved. Sorry if you chose to live in a Big city, You can't be angry at tourists for handing you money.

Why would someone hand you money for your overpriced goods and then thank you? Maybe if your cities charged a lil bit less, people wouldn't feel so entitled.

Overpay = entitlement : if you don't like it, move.

Entitled said...

To the DC dude:
As a tourist I am entitled. Afterall, I do work and earn the money that I bring with me. If you do not want my business, there are 100 other people standing in line to serve me for my money. You DC people are just government leaches sucking up tax payer money providing pour service and low quality food. If you people had to depend upon a free market to decide if your services should be compensated, you would starve. As it is you are just paid because you are a member of some minority or are a social reject that can't hold a real job or just plain too lazy to hold a real job. As the guy paying taxes IE paying your salary you should be worshiping the ground I walk on for blessing you with my presense.
There is always someone willing to carry my luggage for a buck. Who cares what you think.
If you lazy excuses for employees would just leave there would be no congestion for the rest of us. What right have you to use gasoline anyway? My Democratic buddies in congress are about to take care of that. By denying American sources of oil, the rest of you rif raf will not be able to aford gas soon.
Time: Your paid by the hour. I am paid by the job. You can always leave earlier if you really want to get to work.
Money again:
Of course I have it, I earned it, and I AM ENTITLED to use it.

Anonymous said...

I can only laugh in your general direction, and relate this little tid-bit. Imagine a 22 year old male carrying two LARGE suitcases, and two over the shoulder bags stuff to the brim with all the crap that he accumulated throughout the city that week, scrambling down the steps of Penn Station during rush hour to catch the train to Newark. Yes, that was me.

Charlie said...

Crikey! All these people commenting and not one of them can recognise a joke when they see one. If these fuckwits are all Guardian readers I need to find myself another paper to read!

Anonymous said...

AS they say down south "Its just a thang"

Anonymous said...

Drew and Fark suck.

Teufel Eldritch said...

Tourists = bad
Travellers = good

Anonymous said...

I went to Germany last summer with my high school's exchange program and spent a month there going to school and traveling in a group of 11 American teenagers, some of whom barely understood the language. However, we ran into no problems with the locals. Many were kind, courteous, and helpful. On our way into Berlin by train from our host town, I was told about the new train station by an older couple who were quite proud of the new addition to their city, and as we got off the train, they helped me with my VERY bulky luggage. While there, two of my friends and I got lost on our way to a museum and had to ask for directions, and were graciously given the help we needed (and the kind gentleman put up with my butchered German (having had 5 semesters of it, it was my job to ask (never did think that the chapters on asking directions would come in handy, oops))).
Maybe it was just where we were, or the fact that we tried so hard to speak the language and be courteous (our teacher would have had a fit if we weren't), but there were never any problems with the locals. Perhaps if people remembered their manners, they would have fewer problems abroad.

Anonymous said...

@GuardianKnight - If while in Texas, you see an older model vehicle going much slower than the speed limit, no matter which lane they're in, chances are very good it's illegals hoping to avoid being pulled over (exceptions: old people).

Then the spoiled brat snowflake teens will do anything, no matter how much it endangers others, to get around vehicles going 10-15 mph slower than everyone else.

Whatever department gives out drivers licenses decided they were overworked, and came up with a policy that allows parents to teach their kids instead of the kids going through Drivers Ed. What type of documentation is required of these parents to 'prove they've instructed their child in driving matters'? A signature on a piece of paper! Now all the child has to do to legally drive in Texas is pass the written exam (I'm sure there's NO cheating going on while taking these exams).

Now, imagine these untrained 16year old snowflakes trying anything possible to get around slow-driving illegals and old people!

You must always be on full guard while driving in any big city in Texas because they'll let ANYONE drive.


PS: Be especially careful around Houston's LightRail, because it's extremely quiet, and the drivers run lights and talk on cell phones while driving.

Ryan said...

Awesome post.

Anonymous said...

Re: Tourist pay three times more than the locals... Hog-Wash!!! (and I say that to be kind.) I live and work on a Gulf Coast Tourist Island, and "We" pay the same prices as "You" do. There is no seperate price for the money-flush visitors and local-yocals. We provide the services that you require to "Have Fun!" And if your a light tipper, don't expect too many extra's on your next visit...