As much as we may hate or love visitors, their presence is vital in a narrow sense to our economic health and in a wider sense necessary to generate an appeal for people to invest money and time into our little city.
Therefore, it is vital that we know how to properly treat them. There was a time when it was great sport to give wrong directions when asked by an outsider – but it is no longer funny if the word gets out that we don’t want visitors. They tell their friends and then their friends tell their friends and so on.
Visitors, even the weekend quick-visiting type are not like sheep. Sheep don’t have much choice – they put up with a shepherd telling them what to do, and of course the dogs constantly nipping at their legs if they get out of line. Then comes the humiliating affect of being sheered or, even worse. But sheep do not have much of a choice. If they complain and go elsewhere, they can encounter far worse in the wilderness such as wolves.
Newburyport’s visitors are not sheep.
Their first and primary job is to have a good time. ANYTHING that interferes with that experience will encourage them to choose somewhere else to visit.
Sheep are stuck having to experience whatever is handed them. Our visitors won’t tolerate being mistreated.
If we offer a wide choice of restaurants and then we feed them mediocre or overpriced food, then don’t be surprised when they choose to go elsewhere.
If we offer a shopping experience but treat them like lambs to be sheared rather than give them a pleasant experience with friendly faces; then don’t be surprised when they decide to buy elsewhere.
The more we make our City a welcoming, friendly place – the more the visitors will feel the ‘specialness’ of Newburyport. The more we give them over and above what they thought we were worth, the more they will feel they received a generous reward for coming here.
Every visitor who feels they were treated like sheep and not guests will be seeking out Portsmouth or Rockport next time.
Every visitor treated like guests and not sheep will keep coming back again and again.
PS. This subject does not cover visitors who are a____es. This obnoxious minority should be dealt with per one’s preference. Yes, even a_____es have friends – do you want them or not?