Non Compliance Strategies
“Good Morning. Sir, do you mind removing your vehicle from the beachfront and parking it in the parking lot?”
“Cars aren’t allowed on the beachfront in this area for safety reasons.”
“There’s a sign at the entrance you drove through that says no vehicles allowed past this point. There is also a law that says vehicles aren’t allowed to drive on this part of the beach.”
“Well, I’m not driving on the beach, I’m just dropping my stuff off.”
Late in the summer it seems that people just get frayed. There are more complaints, arguments, fights, and weird things happening than earlier in the season. It’s like the veneer of civility gets burned away by the heat and sun, and all the raw emotions people usually have tamped down come boiling to the surface. And it seems like this year all the stress of covid, economy, politics, etc. exacerbated it.
For those who work the beach it can be a challenge, but if you get in the right head space it can be wildly entertaining. I especially like it when people seem to feel that they have their own little bubble of rules that differ from everyone else. The moon follows me as well, so totally get it.
“Excuse me sir, do you mind putting your dog on a leash?”
“Galveston has a city ordinance requiring dogs to wear leashes. Also, there have been instances where dogs have been off a leash and…..” (you get the idea)
Then the conversation goes into a whole list of reasons for not needing to use a leash that all generally have the same theme- in my case there should be an exemption from the rules. Some of the best ones are:
“He’s really friendly”, “She just likes chasing birds and hardly ever bites anyone”, “I have him for comfort”, or (my personal all-time favorite), “My dog is on a verbal leash”.
The other common technique that can be interesting is the “stall technique”. We open with something along the lines of, “Hey, I’m sorry but you can’t use a tent or tarp in this area. You can, however, use it on the other side of those blue poles” And from there it goes a little something like this:
“Can you please move your tarp to the other side of those blue poles?”
“I have to move my tarp?”
“To the other side of the blue poles on the side that is designated by signs”
“So…. I can’t have my tarp here?”
It may cycle a few times like that. Then they realize that even if they keep asking the response is the same. At that point they might move it. Or, if you’re lucky, they might go into the previous technique and point out that they need shade in that area more than other people because…
I will say I’m so impressed with my staff, CERT, park staff, and other first responder groups for all their patience, and understanding that 99% of people are really nice to deal with.