Editor’s Note: At One Time or Another, We’re All Tourists

It’s peak tourist season here in Door County, which means we’ve been sharing our piece of paradise with thousands and thousands of visitors for a couple months now. Around this time, it’s not unusual to hear comments like the one I heard while grocery shopping last weekend: “I don’t want to be a part of your tourist experience, but I have no choice.”

We’re also getting letters from locals who are frustrated with one business or another. They think that because they patronize the business all year long, they should get special service. I kind of agree. I bet even some business owners feel the same way. But businesses here and everywhere are struggling, owing in no small part to the labor shortage that has beset the country. They can’t hire enough workers to provide the service they’re accustomed to providing even during a regular season – and this is not a regular season. 

Even if it were a regular season, we would not publish letters that smear businesses. There’s a huge difference between a whistle-blower-type tip-off and a gripe about a long wait for service. If a solution is the end goal, addressing issues directly with the business’s manager is the best way to go for everyone involved. That, and patience.

We hear about patience a lot. Not the long, silent, suffering variety. Not the rage-repression-turned-ticking-time-bomb kind. Becoming patient requires practice for most of us. The ability to remain calm and accepting and aware is a lifelong endeavor. Practice is necessary. Now is a good time.

It’s also good to remember that we’re not alone. Communities across the country are struggling to serve record numbers of visitors. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources reported that visitation at its 49 state parks is up 36% over 2019 – and that’s just our state parks.

People are on the move. And unless Door County is unique in having residents who don’t vacation, you’re on the move also. If not now, then at some time during the year you’re probably going to fly or drive somewhere to visit someplace that’s not called home. You’ll eat in another community’s restaurants, sleep in its lodging establishments, buy merchandise and services from its stores. You’ll be a visitor in someone else’s hometown or residence of choice. You’ve saved money for that trip and have expectations of a good time. 

We’re all tourists at some point or another. Now is probably a good time to remember that.