As we approach Labor Day weekend, I am reflecting back on the past three months and how I’ve noticed that common courtesy and etiquette seem to go out the window when some people go on vacation, and especially to the beach.
Case in point… I’m a beach person. I go often and go early to find a good spot, (I’m usually on the sand by 11am and stay until 6/6:30pm). As you know, beaches attract locals and vacationers alike. I’ve found that many beach goers, especially those who are not native or residents of the area seem to throw out good sense and etiquette about personal space when it comes to choosing their spot. Sometimes it’s almost as if they say, “This is where I want to sit, everyone deal with it or move!”
Several times this summer, I was happily ensconced on the beach with a clear view of the ocean and what I felt was an adequate 5-10 foot perimeter between me and the beach goers around me; when suddenly… duh duh dunnn… along came a large family, or group of rowdy adults (all strangers to me) who unceremoniously dropped their chairs, blankets, coolers within 2-3 feet of my stuff. Often they even positioned themselves directly in front of me (blocking my ocean view). Meanwhile, there was still plenty of available beach space a bit further down or closer to the dunes. I was left with little room to move, I couldn’t see the water, and invariably I got to hear private stories and recounts about a sordid night out or personal health issues. Believe me when I say this, I learned things I prefer not to know!
Now I know many of you will say, “What’s the big deal?” or even, “Do you own the beach?” (Hey I’ve even been asked this by these offenders, when I’ve diplomatically asked them if they could move over a bit.) NO, I don’t own the beach, but I do find this to be a personal space/common courtesy issue, and what I refer to as beach etiquette.
Take for example a situation that isn’t on the beach. Would you casually sit within 2-3 feet of someone without asking if you could sit there? Think about a half empty lunch table or counter, wouldn’t you ask if you could share the table or whether the chair was taken if one was open next to another patron? It’s the same courtesy you would show in these instances, just in a beach setting.
Yes I agree that the beach is a little different in its make-up, and if we were at a sold out concert on the sand, people would be sitting almost on top of each other. But in most cases, there is plenty of room for everyone; it just might mean taking a few extra steps. Steps and courtesy that some of these beach goers seem to prefer not to take/show.
Here are some Examples:
Acceptable: Note: it would have also been OK if this group was even a bit closer.
Not Acceptable: Note this family was within 3ft and it was almost 4pm with plenty of room available. Other families have been even closer, at around 2ft, but I’ve been too intimidated to take their picture after hearing about a delicate operation and a family cheating scandal!
I often wondered if this just happened to me – especially as I’ve been known to go to the beach solo. But I’ve been seeing this happen more and more often, primarily to small groups of 1-3 people. My personal experience has also shown that it’s typically the vacationers, tourists or non-residents who ignore beach etiquette.
I wonder why this is. Is it the “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” mentality where all good sense and common courtesy goes out the window? Is it that the larger group feels that the individual(s) are insignificant and that the larger group prevails? Maybe it’s just ignorance. I’m truly curious. I’d love to know the phenomenon behind why this seems acceptable.