Since we started this adventure of owning and running a campground, we have encountered all manner of people. For the most part, the people we meet are just people, like us. They pay their bills and come here for a weekend or just an overnight stay as they are passing through. I recognize those that come back time and again and even some that don't. Then we have those that you can count on to be here every holiday. You can watch the children grow season to season. It's like friends visiting. My seasonals are more like family and I miss them in the winter months. For all of these I am so very thankful.
From time to time, someone will show up and be down on their luck, looking for a place to live temporarily. I always feel sympathetic. It makes me more thankful for what I have. We are taught as young children to help those less fortunate than you are. For that reason we always try to extend our hospitality to those in need of a place to stay.
Because camping offers a thriftier lifestyle, most people are happy to pay their way. For those who can't, we offer either free rent or a reduced rate in exchange for working in the park. We have had good and bad experience with this. Most appreciate the opportunity to be able to pay by working. Most of them.
The others get really excited about the "free" rent part and will wax eloquent about how much work they will do in exchange for rent. They assure us that they will be the best workers ever ........ I have come to discover that those are the ones to be wary of. The talkers. That's all they do. Every single thing they are asked to do, they are experts at doing it and will find any opportunity to tell me that their work is worth way more than I am offering. I pay $10 and hour for casual labor and if your rent is $300 a month, I expect 30 hours of labor. That being said, I do make exceptions.
If I notice that a task takes you twice as long as it does me, then I pay per task. No matter how long you drag it out.
Recently, I came home to find tenters setting up without benefit of registration. Being the savvy wife of He Who is a sucker for a sob story, I called him before I confronted my new tenants. He confessed that they would be staying indefinitely. They didn't pay their rent and got evicted. I knew this couple and was not happy. They skip through life waiting for a handout. Always wondering how they end up needing money. No work ethics to speak of, just work enough to get the amount of money needed to pay rent or electricity.
I announced to He Who is a sucker for a sob story that this little project was his to deal with. They set up in a premium site. Bad enough that they would be the first thing you see when you enter the park, this particular site is often requested. It is booked for Memorial Day and every other holiday far in advance. I said they had to break camp and move because I had a reservation for that very site in 9 days. I wondered aloud at what chores they would be performing to earn their keep. And I also wondered how they expected to stay warm in a tent when the temperature dropped to freezing.
I refused to clean the showers unless there were other campers in the park and suggested that this just might be one of the chores they could do ....
They cleaned exactly one time when I made an issue of it. And don't worry about them keeping warm. They had an electric heater. In a tent. In fact they had 3 extension cords running to the outlets for that site and another. I discovered this when I went over to clean up the site and ask them to move for my pending reservation. They weren't there and I toyed with the idea of dismantling the tent myself and moving it myself. It was a three room tent and so very full of their belongings that I decided I would just offer any other site to my reservation along with a discount for their trouble.
Finally, finally they left. I was the bad guy and He Who falls for sob stories was the good guy. What ever it takes to eliminate squatters, you know. I was a little annoyed that He Who cast me in that light, but thankful to cut my losses and be rid of the squatters. And ..... hope runs deep, maybe He Who is a sucker for a sob story will learn from this experience.
The cell phone of He Who is a sucker for a sob story awhile ago. I am astounded. It was the same couple, asking to stay here again. After almost a month of freeloading and offering nothing in return and leaving a mess for me to clean up, they had the nerve to ask for more of my hospitality.
But, that is not what astounded me. The most amazing thing happened. He Who is a sucker for a sob story said "NO"! I am so proud!