During the camping seasons (May through October) of 2015 and 2016, I worked as a camp host in a very small (nine rentable sites) campground in a remote area of a National Forest. In addition to my camp host duties, I worked in the day use area of a very popular trailhead. (To read about those adventures, get my collection of [amazon template=image&asin=1539332233]personal essays Confessions of a Work Camper: Tales from the Woods, available from Amazon as a paperback or an eBook.)
This camping season, I was hired to work in the new “mercantile” (the word the Forest Service prefers over “store”) at the campground just down the road from the day use area. The store’s been open just over a month, and I’ve identified several reasons I think working in the store is easier than being a camp host.
#1 No pit toilets to clean.
#2 No raking sites or cleaning fire rings either.
#3 Less outdoor work and physical labor means I don’t get as dirty.
#4 I work out of the sun. Being indoors most of the day means I don’t have to wear a hat or sunscreen or long sleeves to protect my skin.
#5 I don’t have to explain to people why the pass they paid a lot of money for does not get them a reduced rate on their campsite.
#6 I don’t have to keep large piles of the company’s money in my van.
#7 I work clearly defined shifts. As a camp host, I had to handle problems whenever they arose. As a clerk in the store, when my shift is over, I’m off duty.
#8 When my shift is over, I take off my uniform and nonemployees think I’m just another visitor. No one thinks to ask me questions when I’m on my campsite in “civilian” clothes.
#9 When new stock comes in, my co-workers and I have the fun of deciding where and how to display everything.
#10 So far, really obnoxious people have stayed out of the store.
Stay tuned tomorrow for ten ways being a camp host and day use attendant was easier than working in the mercantile.