I am addressing my column specifically to you this week since I believe some of you might have gotten the wrong impression about the majority of us. By us, I mean the thousands of locals who both make our living hosting you on this amazing peninsula and who call Door County home. I’d like to take the time to clarify a couple of things and apologize for a few bad apples who chose to vent online and say things that are unkind and do not speak for all of us.
Last week, a local business shared a picture on Facebook of a woman who allegedly committed a crime in his business. He was trying to circulate her photo so that she could be identified and questioned by the police. This post got shared more than 8,000 times and received hundreds and hundreds of comments. We can get into social shaming somewhere down the road since that’s a whole other topic of discussion. What I would like to address is some of the comments made about tourists. Some ignorant people (you know the type, the ones who are always so brave when they say things behind your back and with a keyboard) used this post as a forum to vent about visitors. I was appalled, embarrassed and really mystified as to why they thought it was okay to speak about people who are our customers and our friends, most of whom they have never actually met. That’s the trouble with lumping people into categories and making assumptions about them, you’re usually off the mark considerably.
I moved here almost 20 years ago and have been in business that whole time. In working with the public day in/day out, I’ve certainly had a couple of tough customers and some that checked their manners at the bridge. But I don’t want to waste any time in talking about them since they are only a small percentage of the thousands and thousands of people I’ve met and dealt with. I’d rather focus on the ones who have been fun to spend time with and get to know over the years. Like the couple who got engaged at Champagne Rock and drove to my business next to tell me first. Or the family who came in every year to see my dog and may have been even more heartbroken than I was when he passed away. Or the family I helped pick baby clothes out for and who are now sending that “baby” off to college. Or the woman who was in this summer getting something to lift her husband’s spirits since he was going through chemotherapy. I try to welcome my customers as I would guests in my home and they usually respond to that very well. I’m not perfect but I always make an effort.
One of the comments I read by a tourist in this viral feed was something like, “If this is what they really think of tourists, why would we go there?” And it’s this question in particular that has been bothering me for several days now. Yes, why would you come here if this is what we really think of you? I would like to tell you that we don’t. Honestly. Sometimes the negative voices are the loudest ones out there, but I’m hoping you ignore them and realize the people who vented are negative and just like to complain for complaining’s sake. They wouldn’t be happy if they lived in a town of 200 with a four-way stop and nary a visitor to be found. So please know that most of us do want you here and appreciate you and are so grateful to get to share this corner of the world with you. Speaking of sharing, let’s try to get this to go viral and drown out the couple of cranks in the county.