“Good Morning. Ma’am, do you mind hopping down out of our lifeguard tower?”
“The towers are there for the lifeguards and we prefer other people don’t sit in them.
“There’s a sign right next to where you’re sitting saying ‘no trespassing’, so it would be the same as sitting in someone else’s house and refusing to leave.”
“Well then I guess I’ll leave. But I’m leaving the beach in that case. It’s too hot out here!”
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. It can be a challenge, but if I have my head right 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.
“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 it goes into a whole list of reasons that all generally have the same theme that this particular case should be exempt from the rules. Some of the best ones are: “he’s really friendly and loves people”, “she just likes chasing birds and hardly ever bites anyone”, “I have him for protection”, or, my personal all-time favorite, “my dog is on a verbal leash”.
The other common technique that can be fun 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”
“So…. I can’t have my tarp here?”
After it runs on for a while like that, they realize that even if you keep asking the response is the same. Then they might move it. Or if you’re lucky they might go into the previous technique and point out that they need shade more than other people because…..
End of summer grumbling aside, we got through the weekend pretty well. Despite the very large crowds the water was calm until Monday. We moved around 8,000 people from dangerous areas, made a couple of rescues, and a number of enforcement actions. Busy, but not as overwhelming as it could have been with rough water.
It’s been a busy, hot summer and I don’t think any of my staff minded ending the high season with a whimper as opposed to a bang!