10 Ways Working in the Mercantile is Easier Than Being a Camp Host


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.

This photo I took shows the mercantile where The Man and I work. The mercantile is housed in a yurt.

#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.

About Blaize Sun

My name is Blaize Sun. Maybe that's the name my family gave me; maybe it's not. In any case, that's the name I'm using here and now. I've been a rubber tramp for nearly a decade.I like to see places I've never seen before, and I like to visit the places I love again and again. For most of my years on the road, my primary residence was my van. For almost half of the time I was a van dweller, I was going it alone. Now I have a little travel trailer parked in a small RV park in a small desert town. I also have a minivan to travel in. When it gets too hot for me in my desert, I get in my minivan and move up in elevation to find cooler temperatures or I house sit in town in a place with air conditioning I was a work camper in a remote National Forest recreation area on a mountain for four seasons. I was a camp host and parking lot attendant for two seasons and wrote a book about my experiences called Confessions of a Work Camper: Tales from the Woods. During the last two seasons as a work camper on that mountain, I was a clerk in a campground store. I'm also a house and pet sitter, and I pick up odd jobs when I can. I'm primarily a writer, but I also create beautiful little collages; hand make hemp jewelry and warm, colorful winter hats; and use my creative and artistic skills to decorate my life and brighten the lives of others. My goal (for my writing and my life) is to be real. I don't like fake, and I don't want to share fake. I want to share my authentic thoughts and feelings. I want to give others space and permission to share their authentic selves. Sometimes I think the best way to support others is to leave them alone and allow them to be. I am more than just a rubber tramp artist. I'm fat. I'm funny. I'm flawed. I try to be kind. I'm often grouchy. I am awed by the stars in the dark desert night. I hope my writing moves people. If my writing makes someone laugh or cry or feel angry or happy or troubled or comforted, I have done my job. If my writing makes someone think and question and try a little harder, I've done my job. If my writing opens a door for someone, changes a life, I have done my job well. I hope you enjoy my blog posts, my word and pictures, the work I've done to express myself in a way others will understand. I hope you appreciate the time and energy I put into each post. I hope you will click the like button each time you like what you have read. I hope you will share posts with the people in your life. I hope you'll leave a comment and share your authentic self with me and this blog's other readers. Thank you for reading.  A writer without readers is very sad indeed.

6 Responses »

  1. Pingback: Why I’m Not Going Back Up That Mountain | Rubber Tramp Artist

I'd love to know what you think. Please leave a comment.