Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Camping Clubs

Until we bought this park seven years ago, I was totally unaware that there was such a thing as a camping club. These camping clubs are groups of like minded campers who camp together routinely. Sounds like fun. We had a group scheduled for just such an adventure when we took over the park. A little warning would have been nice ........ the previous owners were different....difficult ..... not inclined to be of much help.

So, the first group came and we catered to their every want and whim. Remember, we were new and eager. We wanted to solicit all the business we could. We wanted everyone to like us. So, the weekend went along smoothly (we thought). Every one of the folks came up to thank us for our hospitality and the wagon master (they choose a couple to be in charge of all the arrangements for each outing) booked for the next year. We were exhausted when they left .... these clubbers can be a demanding lot. Imagine our surprise when the same people who thanked us and told us how great we were came in 6 weeks before the next scheduled stay and told us that only 4 out of the 20 members of their club would be coming. Seems the man in charge was presented with a whole list of shortcomings. One of them even had the nerve to say he had no electricity while he was here. One said they had no water pressure and one of them didn't want to park next to another club member, but had to since it was the only site left.

I took it very personally since we had run ourselves ragged to get them everything they asked for. We ran out of ice and our vendor refused to come out for such a small order ..... so we went into town and bought the ice at full price and sold it to them for no profit. I still extended them a group rate, even though group rates are for groups of eight or more, and the handful of campers came. I was recovering from a gall bladder removal and made myself scarce while they were here. They have never come back to our park. Other clubs have come and we have had similarly bad experiences with them. I am sure that there are some wonderful camp clubs out there. I am also sure that my view is a lot different from the one they have. This is a very physical job. It takes a lot of man hours to maintain the grounds and keep the bathrooms and pool area clean. With that in mind I usually suggest that the clubs go across the highway to my competitor. She has two club houses and is willing to give them a bigger discount than I do. My park is geared more to family fun.

So, when he who is not allowed to take reservations called me into the office in February to discuss a camping club reservation in May, I immediately tried to discourage the man. He said he would need 22 to 25 sites, maybe 30!!!! He was in charge of scheduling this outing and for that size group he should have book a season ahead. He had apparently not booked in time and was a little frantic. I provided him with a map that indicated all the seasonal sites and explained that I could not place his group together (no, we won't ask the seasonals to move their rigs ...). After driving through the park and hand counting what was available he decided that he did want to book this event. I rattled off the standard thing I say to everyone, to have the individuals call at least 30 days in advance and provide me with either a deposit or a credit card number to secure the reservation.

No less than two more trips and going over the same information and about a thousand phone calls later ........... the time has arrived. Three of the fifteen reservations were to come in today. Seven have arrived. Three of them before noon. ( when I take your reservation, I always say that I don't run your credit card that day, that you can pay any way you like upon arrival and I remind everyone that check-in is anytime after noon) I offered a flat rate for full hook-up and a flat rate for those who wanted only water and electric. Now when we did this in our RV, we always opted for a full hook-up. I like to sit on my own potty and shower in my own shower without flip flops on. That is why we bought it ...... to use it. But, there is a whole contingent of folks out there who don't want to get theirs dirty. They would rather have athlete's foot, I suppose.

It came as no surprise to me that one of the biggest rigs that came in wanted only water and electric. I was cleaning the showers when he came in. He who abandoned me to work his other job today had just stepped into the shower and I rushed out to finish mopping the ladies room. Took maybe five minutes, since I had already scrubbed the floor and was just mopping up the water. I came through the side door and apologized for not being at the counter. I asked him how long he had been waiting. I could tell he was not happy with having to wait. He said he had been there for at least 20 minutes. I am so sorry you had to wait so long. I was cleaning the restroom and must have taken longer that I thought I did. I could tell he was not impressed. He paid and I showed him on the map where he would be going. I also told him that we were still in the process of re-leveling those particular sites and that if the one I assigned wouldn't work to go ahead and choose one that he thought would. I also told him that since not all of the sites initially reserved would be in use, I still had some full hook-ups available.

He just came back to give me a litany of unsolicited advice. My sites are not level and he had to go to very end site and back in. In all his years of camping he has never seen a set up like this one. He used to camp here when Rapunzel and Igor owned this place and we have changed things. He thinks maybe we are not up to code. We are at risk with this set up. It was never like this when Rapunzel and Igor had it. Maybe we should consult with them because he thinks we might not know what we are doing.

As I am swallowing the blood from my bitten tongue, I have only one thought in my head. FOUR DAYS, THEY WILL BE HERE FOR FOUR DAYS.


SkippyMom said...

Oh crap Kathy - I think you need to borrow a cuss word from my blog today :wink:

What the heck is up with these is CAMPING for godsakes, even in an RV - it is still CAMPING. You have to take it with a grain of salt and deal.

I will count down with you "4,3, 2....and 1" done.

Good luck. And you know I really want to say something non appropriate, just know I am thinking it and you can laugh.

Brian Miller said...

oh lord...4 days could be a very long time...but i will pray it goes quick for you...

squawmama said...

Not all clubs are created equal and a butthead is still a butthead... but I can see where they could be a lot of work. Hope your 4 days go well!
Have fun

jojo said...

you are a much stronger woman than I could ever be. Even meek little ol' me would have a hard time biting my rock sweet woman!

Mamma has spoken said...

You're better than me. I would have directed him to the park across the street.

ellen abbott said...

I'd have told him that since he was so disappointed in the park, I would gladly refund his money and he could go across the highway.

Kathy's Klothesline said...

It is a skill to bite one's tongue while on the receiving end of criticism and I seem to have mastered it. I console myself with the knowledge that he will end up in THE BOOK. Most of the folks here in this club are really nice and seem to appreciate my efforts. One bad apple can make the whole bag stink, though.

Jenna said...

Why are these campers so grouchy?? They are traveling the country, out on the open road, seeing the sights. What do they have to be grouchy about?

labbie1 said...

The campers next to me were very nice--thank God!!!!