By Sam Suva
“Which team do you pull for?” “That politician is a liar!” “Do you pray?” These and more common sayings can get you swiftly and unceremoniously in hot water when you’re work camping.
As work campers, we interact with all sorts of campers and attend functions. We also meet new staff, owners, managers and vendors. We move around the country – indeed, the world. So what does it hurt to express ourselves and our opinions? In a phrase, “work camper”. We are not paying to be at the campground, we are working there. Workers need to be polite and professional at all times. So when a camper asks us one of these loaded questions, we need to consider whether or not to talk about it or avoid answering altogether.
We are not second class citizens, but think about it. When we go into a retail setting, or need to get our car repaired, or walk into a bank, what kind of conversation do we wish to engage in while we are there? Aren’t we there because we need something? So, too, it is with work camping. Work campers are there to provide needed information and assistance, then let the campers get back to why they are there. When a camper asks a work camper about their opinion, they are not necessarily seeking to begin a relationship, although we have formed familial bonds with some of the campers we have interacted with over the years. But the vast majority of camper relationships have been professional.
Campers are there to relax because the campground is quiet, semi-secluded and offers the location or amenities that appeal to them. They come because their friends or family are there, and they want to spend time with them. Work camping is an extension of the campground’s appeal. We need to continue that love affair with the camper so that they will continue to pay for their site.
Politics, religion and even college football can create a division in that relationship. Campers have very strong associations with these topics and can put a great deal of energy behind their thoughts. Innocently, we can trip over these hazards and find ourselves in the very untenable position of defending or apologizing for our words. Whatever dust-up we are involved in, remember, we are expendable.
So, on or off the clock, if we have strong feelings about religion, politics or sports, it is best to hold those back until we know the temperament of the campers we associate with, then we can let loose a little, maybe. Some campers will welcome a strong opinion; others will be less inclined to accept our beliefs. Whether it is college football, stock car racing, rock and roll or smooth jazz, the president, the governor or the representative – keep in mind that these topics are thin ice and we don’t want anyone to freeze to death!
What has been your experience: Do you feel comfortable talking about your opinions in a campground? What is the reaction? Were you work camping during this experience? Feel free to share in the comments; I look forward to your thoughts.
See you down the road,
Sam Suva and his wife are work campers. They began work camping more than 10 years ago and have spent a lot of time working as they traveled. In this new weekly feature, they will share their experiences with you, with an emphasis on how to incorporate work camping into a full time RV lifestyle.