Losing their ever-lovin’ minds

Renting Dirt and its thematic predecessor, an essay I wrote for RVtravel explaining why we sold our campground this past May, apparently struck a nerve with several long-time RVers. Among them: Charity and Ben, who in 2017 became full-timers with their kids, Dakota and Trinity, and creators of a YouTube channel and blog, at gratefulglamper.com.

What particularly resonated for Charity, a former customer service manager in the automotive industry, was my description of increased bad behavior by campers. “It was a great job,” she wrote earlier this month of her decade-long employment. “I loved working with and developing my team. I didn’t even mind the company ownership (most of the time). [But] there was one thing that made me never want to do that type of job again: the people. . . . I cannot even imagine being in this industry today. People have lost their ever-loving minds!

According to Charity’s blog, a stressed-out, abusive public is becoming a widespread phenomenon, with “lost mind” syndrome cropping up throughout society. The Federal Aviation Administration, for example, reports that there have been more than 4,000 unruly passenger complaints so far this year, compared to just 150 for all of 2020. Rude customers are being cited as a major reason why fast-food/restaurant and hospitality workers are quitting in record numbers. Road-rage incidents resulted in 42 people a month getting shot in 2020, or nearly double the rate from four years earlier, and thus far in 2021 the shooting rate is up to one every 18 hours.

“Now, why are these important things to know and what, pray tell, do they have to do with RVing?” Charity wrote. “Here is the point–people are losing their ever loving minds! And campground owners are facing these same types of people who are rude in other business settings.”

And it’s not just the campground owners who are victimized by entitled and self-centered RVers, as Charity points out: it’s also their employees, many of whom are also RVers. “Many RV campgrounds run by governmental organizations such as state parks or national forest campgrounds have camp hosts that help to keep things in order,” she notes. “There are also a lot of people who work camp, [with] work campers getting their campsites for free in exchange for doing some light work around the campground.

“That person answering the phone at the RV campground you are calling just may be a fellow RV’er . . . . Kindness goes a long way!” she concludes.

Amen.

Author: Andy Zipser

A former newspaper reporter who worked at a variety of newspapers, from small community weeklies to The Wall Street Journal, I finished my "normal" work life as the editor of The Guild Reporter, official publication of the union representing newspaper workers. On retiring, I and my wife bought a campground in the Shenandoah Valley and--with the help of our two daughters and their husbands--operated it for eight years, first as a KOA franchisee and then as an independent family-owned RV park. We sold the campground in May, 2021, and live in Staunton, Virginia, a short walk from our grandsons' home.

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