Tourism and the Craft of Dealing with Unruly Children

Working in the tourism industry has it’s ups and downs, but great coworkers make it all tolerable

By Karoline Riisnaes

Many high school students are forced by their parents to get a job to save for college. Trying to find a job that matches the criteria for a high school student must be factored in. Criteria such as the commute, flexibility, salary, and of course if your friends will be working there as well. The best place to work in my opinion is in the tourist industry.

Most high school students tend to work in fast food. I get complaint after complaint from friends about how horrible it is working in fast food. The hours are not flexible, you work long hours and the customers can be horrible.

“Working in fast food is a mistake because you will meet people who inspire you not to aspire for anything more than the bare minimum,” says Jackson Becker, a former McDonalds employee.

 The customers within the fast food industry tend to not recognize the stress that is put upon the workers. Customers would give nasty remarks to not only the adult workers but also the high school students. Saying that the service was too slow. Working in the fast food industry, workers need to be prepared for customers who do not have empathy for high school students because they expect you to know how to do your job at an unachievable speed.

“Even if we were slammed or in training, customers would tell our workers that we did not know how to do our jobs,” Becker stated.

Now, working in the tourist industry, you will 100% receive rude comments from tourists. However, most of the time people are understanding and will still give you a good tip. I work at Cosmos Mystery Area and I love the tourists that come through the Black Hills. Most customers are families with young children who are usually bouncing off the walls with the activities presented at our attraction, which is understandably noticed as problematic for our tour guides.  Because of this, parents tend to tip more for the inconvenience of their annoying children. Of course, there will always be one Karen per tour that you are secretly planning the murder for. Yet you learn to tune them out and they will tend to stay reserved since you are not acknowledging their complaints.

One summer when I was working as a tour guide, I had two families that paid to receive a tour. One family was young and understood that their three to four-year-old son could cause some distraction for me along with the rest of the group. Of course, he did cause problems by running when I was performing a demonstration and I had to ask him to sit down multiple times. The parents recognized that it was not my job to parent their child and tipped me twenty dollars for the inconvenience. However, the other family did not have young kids and were bothered by the young boy. This resulted that family leaving a bad review on our website, saying that I was uncapable of running an organized tour. My manager recognized that I did the best I could and replied with an apology stating that we were sorry for the inconvenience and we went on with our day.

Working with good coworkers is a major criterion for almost anyone, especially high school students. As young individuals, we would not like to work with a “negative Nancy”. Working in the tourist industry, you get to work with workers who enjoy being outside and meeting new people. Working with friends make anything enjoyable is what most tourist industry’s look for in their coworkers.

So why work with annoying people? Get outdoors and meet people from around the world.