Article from the 6/10/2016 Catalina Islander

Since I  became "Catalina's Official Greeter", March 10, 2014, when the Chamber Of Commerce assigned me to greet the cruise ships and cross channel carriers, I have answered 47,676 questions.
These are some of my more recent interesting/unusual questions/comments:
"Is the glass bottom boat up that way?" (pointing toward the ocean).
"Is your beach by the ocean?"
"Can I have the address for Catalina?  I want to drive there."  (call to the Chamber Of Commerce)
"I have allergies.  Can you recommend a hotel."
"Why are people who live here only allowed to take shows during certain hours?"  (Saw public shower hours in the window).
 
VISITOR VS TOURIST
 
In two of my recent articles, "Welcoming Visitors 101", May 20 and 27, I reminded Islanders how important the visitors were to Catalina and how we could make their visit here as enjoyable as possible.  There is, though, the other side of the coin.  It was recently brought to my attention, by a visitor, that being hospitable takes a combined effort by both the locals and the visitors and so I decided that hopefully reading this on the way over to Catalina might help to explain how important it is to treat the locals with the same respect as you would anyone else.
I know that you talk about how you were treated once you get back to your homes, but locals also talk about you once you leave.  Unfortunately, with human nature, we can have 99% great experiences, but it is the 1% that we remember.  I am hoping to shoot for 100%!
There is a BIG difference between "Visitor" and "Tourist".  Most people coming to Catalina, I would definitely call "Visitors".  Those are the ones who are excited to be here and appreciate all that is being done to help them have the best experience possible.  Above all, they respect our Island and those of us who serve them.  They WANT to know our rules and regulations so that they can fit more closely into our Island life.  The "Tourist", on the other hand, seems to think that the world revolves around them and that they are "entitled" to do whatever they want, even if it hurts others.  Let me give you two examples of "Tourists".  A few years ago I was walking in front of "Von's Express" when two young ladies in front me were eating Snickers (my favorite), but crumbling the wrappers and throwing them on the sidewalk.  Thinking that they might have done this without thinking, I picked it up and went up to them and said, "Sorry to bother you, but  you dropped these."  They gave me a strange look and just kept walking.  I ran up to them the second time and said, "This is yours.  Please throw it away!"  Again, the look and continued walking.  The third time, "Please tell me where you live so I can throw trash in your home!"  Some girls were racing down Crescent Ave., our main street, and I yelled to them, "Sorry, you can't ride down this street. I don't want you to get a ticket."  One got off her bike and began to walk it.  The other one yelled, "Oh ya, just watch me!" and continued on.  Yes, because our town is so small and intimate, we do think of this as our "home".  This is NOT "Disneyland" and we are not cartoon characters.  Please, don't get me wrong.  Most of those visiting Catalina know exactly how to act and do so.  This list is just meant to be a "friendly" reminder for those who might forget.
 
1.  We don't have a LOT of rules, but the ones that we have were instigated for a reason.  When you see signs, please read them.  When you see tall yellow plastic baracades on our front street/Crescent (I was the one who came up with the idea, good or bad), realize that they are to keep a safe area for people to walk.  No golf carts, bikes, skateboards, or any other wheeled or motorized devises, except wheel chairs, walkers, people movers, etc.  This is to keep anyone from getting hurt while strolling along and not really paying attention.  PLEASE don't get mad at me, or anyone else, when you are told this.  Yes, I have been told that I was "unfriendly" and had a "bad attitude", when I pointed this out.
2.  Many of us have three jobs, which means we are working from early morning until late at night, at minimum wage.  I am one of the lucky ones, but some local employees don't have year round housing and so during the busiest months they are made to vacate their homes and find temporary, less pleasing accommodations. Be appreciative of what we try to do for you by not ignoring us for being "servants", or "they are getting paid for this". Thank us when we do a good job, tip us when appropriate, and understand if we sometimes seem a bit frazzled and not always able to give 110%.
3.  PLEASE clean up after yourselves.  We do our best to provide trash containers around town as, unlike "Disneyland", we can't have street cleaners working continually.  I don' understand those who put trash ON TOP of these containers or right next to them.  Please put it "inside" so we locals don't have to.  We want the Island to look as clean and inviting as possible for ALL of us.
4. When locals "remind" you that you are breaking the law, please respect us for not wanting you to get a ticket or citation.  Our wonderful sheriffs try to be out of site so that people can feel more free and comfortable and only remind you if you accidentally transgress.  But intentionally break a law and you will find them there, ready to do their duty.
5.  Please keep your dogs, if you decide to bring them, off the beaches and other areas where they are not allowed.  PLEASE keep them leashed and pick up after them.  We have many dispensers that provide bags.
6.  If any in your group has trouble getting around, please make sure that they have wheelchairs/walkers to make their ability to get around easier.  We do have these available for rental, but not enough for EVERYONE who might need them.
7.  Golf carts are considered to be vehicles, not toys.  They are regulated by traffic laws enforced by the state of California.  Please comply with the rules of the road, especially to have your seatbelts on, no reckless driving, no letting children drive them, no texting, and please keep your screaming down to a minimum.  We know that you are having a wonderful time, and we want you to, just remember that there are many others here who would like to not have to see and hear you infringing on their space..
8.  If you have a question, please don't interrupt the employees in stores or shops who are trying to wait on their customers.  Either wait, as you would want them to, if you were the one involved in the transaction, or go to the "Visitor Information Center" at the foot of the green pier.
9.  If you must smoke, please refrain from pubic areas, like the beach, stores, or wherever large groups congregate. 
10.Catalina has been under major water restrictions for the last couple of years.  We have had to cut back 25% (we have voluntarily cut back 44%) and are facing 50% by next year!  PLEASE HELP US CONSERVE WATER!  By all means, take showers, but short ones.  Also, some hotels give a discount if you bring your own towels and wash clothes so they don't have to wash them.  Also, don't get upset when you have to pay for a bottle of water in a restaurant.  We don't like having to deal with our severe draught any more than you do. Just look forward to your LONG showers when you get home and maybe cut back on your own when you realize that water rationing is something that we might ALL have to face someday. A wonderful friend on the mainland wanted me to share this concern with you and to let you all know that she is voluntarily conserving water in her home, because of what we do on the Island!  GREAT GOING Roberta!
11.Please be quiet after 10pm, as the ones that you will be waking up are the ones who will be getting up in a couple of hours to serve you breakfast. 
12.Bicycles are to be driven on the road, not the sidewalk, and are to be driven with the traffic, not against it.  Be sure to at least slow down at the stop signs and look to make sure that the traffic is safe for you to ride on.
13.We are thankful for sidewalks and cross walks on the mainland as that has kept you all alive long enough to visit Catalina!  Yes we also have them and we would hope that you would use them whenever possible.  It is frightening how many tourists walk directly in front of cars and don't even look up.  I have a '71 VW Van.  It is aqua and coral, in case you would like to identify it.  It is NOT a bumper car.  I have yet to hit anyone and pray I never do!  Here's a promise that I hope we can all keep.  I won't drive on the sidewalks of Avalon if you don't walk in our streets.  AGREED!?!
 
WE WANT YOU TO ENJOY YOURSELF ON CATALINA AND BE SAFE!  Just treat our little Island the way that you would like to be treated in your own home, because Catalina IS our home!
 
If you missed any of my other articles in this column, new and old ones are being added every week.  You can read them on my blog, www.catalinaislandman.com
If you want to ask me questions or share with me Catalina Island related information on Facebook check out the "public group", "Chuck Liddell", or contact me directly on my email, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.