Expectation and Entitlement
Season Zero #0.3 | Expectation and Entitlement
In this mini-episode, I speak about the expectation and entitlement that follows tourists into foreign lands, how it becomes embedded into the minds and places of tourists' hosts, and how the tourism industry encourages all of this. The consequences of this are deep and dire and almost always ensure that any remaining sense of hospitality among locals or tourists alike is turned into hostility.
Welcome to "Expectation and Entitlement."
Hosted by Chris Christou.
Discover more episodes and join the conversation: https://www.theendoftourism.com
Tourist Entitlement is a Reflection/Colonization of Modern Customer Service Culture
Old Money vs New Money
Expectation as Cultural Inheritance
What Locals See that Tourists Don't
Serving and Being Served
How Locals and Tourists are Implicated
Towards Context, not just Content
Expectation and Entitlement
Welcome friends to Season Zero of the End of Tourism podcast. In these mini-episodes, you'll hear short transmissions speaking to the principles of the pod. We'll introduce you, our listeners to the themes and questions that will be woven into our conversations, a kind of primer on our politics. This episode is entitled "Expectations and Entitlement."
[00:00:30] As many of you know and have experienced, the tourist industry is built around people being served, usually at their whim. As a result, tourists believe they're entitled to be taken care of in a way that mimics and reflects the relationship between the server and the served back home. This is a demand of both tourists and the tourist industry quietly placed onto local people.
[00:00:56] The expectation or belief among tourists is that they should be treated as if they were royalty, in part, because of the money they're spending, which at times can certainly be a lot of money. In the end, however, the relationships between tourists and the people who host them is automatically reduced to transactional exchanges that invite entitlement, tension and bad behavior, mostly on the parts of tourists. No amount of money, however, can justify this.
[00:01:28] A little story: a long time ago, I used to work as a server in the homes of wealthy people for their private parties. We had "old money" clients and "new money" clients. But the "old money" was almost always more kind and generous than their newly minted counterparts, in part, because those people, the ones born into wealth grew up with "the help."
[00:02:00]those elite adults had often been raised by nannies and caregivers, not their parents. As such, they properly understood, not always, but most of the time, the value of being served and the value of serving someone else.
[00:02:20] You see, the new money never had this. So when we arrived at their homes, the sense of entitlement and expectation was through the roof because they didn't have any personal, lived relationship to quote "the help." And so they saw us not as human beings necessarily, but as servers, servants.
[00:02:47] This is what tourists are. Tourists are the new money.
[00:02:54] No matter how much money people spend. Unending and enduring service by local people is the fantasy that tourists are sold and buy into. The expectation of limitless hospitality, in other words.
[00:03:10] Tourism reproduces the old, colonial ideas of local people serving affluent foreigners or colonizers. Whether people see it this way or not, this is the sought and sold expectation that tourism perpetuates.
[00:03:28] The capacity to not see it is also really important. It points to an understanding that this is both a cultural inheritance and something that most tourists are unaware of.
[00:03:39] This is part of the purpose of the pod, is to unveil how these things show up in the culture and mostly how they don't show up. It is an attempt to braille the story, so it can be told anew. afresh, alit, with the parts that were previously left out.
[00:03:57]It is difficult for tourists to be fully aware of their own behavior, of the cultural baggage they bring with them on vacation, but it can be glaringly obvious to locals in tourist towns. This behavior arrives on foreign shores because it is both practiced and to some degree accepted
[00:04:18]For people who can afford a vacation, they often settle for a single week out of 52, assuming that they're given the time off from work. That's just 2% of their year dedicated to quote "leisure." Depending on the country, the laws and the relative wealth, some workers are granted more vacation time. Whether they use it to vacation is another story.
[00:04:44] However, the vast majority of the world's people do not have quote, "vacation time." In most instances, the notion of "time off" or leisure as it is known in the west is often unknown, if not unimaginable elsewhere, but for western people that one week is an opportunity to be finally tended to, instead of always tending to something or someone else.
[00:05:08] I'll give you an example. When I was younger, I went out with a group of friends for dinner at a restaurant. We were all restaurant staff on our day off. That evening, one friend got increasingly upset with her own server. It was a little shocking to be honest, so I asked her what her problem was. She responded by saying quote "all week long I serve people. Today is my day off and my turn to be served."
[00:05:40]That my friends was her answer, her sad justification for treating someone like garbage, for extending the consequences of entitlement and bullshit outwards. Whether people intend to do this or not is besides the fact because it happens and overseas, in foreign lands, in tourist towns, it happens all the time.
[00:06:06] There is an expectation, not only of being served, not only of how people are to be served, but that anything less is reason to undermine their very livelihoods. Now, most people would call that overblown, but in the customer service world, this happens everywhere without anyone wondering what the consequences are to the lives of those and the receiving end of such entitlement.
[00:06:36] Another example. Recently, there was a video of a couple of bloggers who went searching for a town to live in. From town to town, they searched, documenting the process online as they went. In one particular city, they criticized local waiters for not thanking them for their tips.
[00:06:59]They criticized places for having street art on the walls and on and on. The notion is that "if a place doesn't work for you, it doesn't work, period." That it's not worthy of your endorsement, as if these places exist for your fucking endorsement.
[00:07:18]Now, I want to be clear that the pod is not "against tourists." While tourists are most often unaware of their bad behavior, as people of deep consequence in foreign lands, little in the way of awareness, honor, humility, or change is served up by our willingness to point the finger, and nothing else.
[00:07:41] Like cancellation campaigns, like shit posting and anti intellectual fodder espoused by fragmented and hostile, online worlds, people inherit what they know, not, tourists and their local hosts, included.
[00:07:57]We're often quick to criticize what is upon us without ever considering how it came to be upon us, without ever considering how each of us are implicated in the story. As such, there is so often a deep desire to evaluate the content of the world without understanding the context. The medium is the message as Marshall McLuhan, once said. And this podcast will explore the historical and cultural contexts of tourism, not just its content.
[00:08:28] We will seek to understand not just what tourism is, but what it does to the times and places that arises in.
[00:08:36] Imagine for a second, that you've maintained a bad habit throughout your life, one you weren't aware of, whether it be alcoholism, bad posture, or perhaps using the word "like" far too often. How you realize your habits and react to them is, in part, what determines how well you can contribute to their undoing.
[00:08:57] Wanderlust is no different. I say this having been a part-time tourist for a decade and later working in the tourist industry for another half. So there is no shame here, despite there being room and reason for it. We must understand what our behavior does overseas in foreign lands, what it does to foreign places and people, how that behavior is invited into the world via tourism, and what the consequences of this are for our lives and lands back home.
[00:09:30] It is important to say here that local people, people living and working in tourist towns are in no way immune to this expectation and entitlement. They to fall prey to the promise of getting rich off the tourist dollar, just as easily as the tourist spends it. They open up shop and expect those dollars.
[00:09:52] They can feel just as entitled to leisure and a tourist-esque life as the tourist does, unaware of the poverty that comes with it.
[00:10:03] Welcome to the end of tourism podcast and welcome to the end of tourism. How we proceed in our times will determine whether such a thing invites the proper death of tourism or the world, knowing nothing else.
[00:10:17] Welcome to friends and enemies alike. Come in and have a seat. We are about to begin with stories from far off lands. Some of them live in the houses of hospitality, while others are found in the halls of hostility. Close your eyes and listen carefully, for it is how we listen that will determine whether, what is to come breaks, the spell of wanderlust or conjures it anew.