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As tourist season approaches it's time to brush-up on our state's policies on tourists, tourism. As we all know, being ready to help tourists is an important part of life here in Maine in tourist season.
I thought it would be helpful to review our state's policies so that if you happen to see a tourist wandering aimlessly through your part of Maine you'll be able to tell that tourist where to go.
To help us do that, Maine's office of tourism puts out a little-known pamphlet that gives tips to us natives on how to help our 'summer visitors.'
The first tip is: "When it comes to tourism, be utilitarian.
"I thought our state is supposed to avoid dabbling in religion, I hear some readers say.
You thinking of Unitarian, Bunky. I said “utilitarian!”
Anyway, from Memorial Day to Labor Day the tourist is the most important person in our state - whether using cash, check, major credit card, even barter.
"Does that include the tourists in those enormous, lumbering, slow-moving, gas-guzzling motor homes - those 100-foot long, hazardous-habitats on wheels that are “fat globules” that clog our state's vital traffic arteries?"
Are you through? Yes, it even includes 'those people.'
"Wait a minute, John. What about a tourist who's lost?
You must never use a lost tourist for amusement or sport. When a tourist rudely interrupts to ask for directions to some popular, over-priced destination that you could never afford, you should avoid the temptation to direct them in circles just to see if they're clever enough to follow your directions.
When asked by a tourist: "What's the quickest way to Bangor?" don't ask. "Are you going by car?" and when they say "Yes" you chuckle and say, "That's the quickest way."
The folks in the tourist industry have a saying - 'A tourist is not an interruption of our lives here in Maine; a tourist is the reason we are alive. "
"Tourist people really say things like that, John?"
I know it sounds pretty numb but, yes, they really talk like that when no one else is around. And they say a lot of other things about tourists, most of which we couldn't print in this wholesome newspaper. The point is our state's tourist people take their hospitality business very seriously.
Tourist people really believe that every visitor who comes through the York toll booth on the Maine Turnpike is an important addition to the Maine experience.
The legendary Leon Leonwood Bean of Freeport, who knew a thing or two about dealing profitably with folks from away, used to tell his employees, "A customer is not someone to argue or match wits with. Nobody ever won an argument with a customer."
"I never knew any of this about tourists, the tourist industry, John. I'm sure glad we had this “tourist season review."
I'm glad we did, too.
Oh, and there will be a quiz!
John McDonald is a humorist and storyteller who performs regularly throughout
New England. Contact John at or 899-1868.
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