To Them, Anything North Of Jacksonville Is Arctic

, , , , , | Right | May 19, 2020

I work at the entrance gate of a beach in New York where you can actually see Canada across the river. It’s mid-July and it’s about 90 degrees out. A car pulls up with Florida plates and two elderly women inside.

Passenger: “Excuse me, miss? What are those funny-looking birds?”

Me: *Looking around* “Which birds, ma’am?”

Passenger: “The funny-looking birds! The ones over there!”

Me: “I… I’m not sure what you mean, ma’am.”

Passenger: *Getting frustrated* “The funny-looking birds with the brown spots! Are those arctic puffins?”

I finally realize which “funny-looking birds” she’s talking about and try not to laugh.

Me: “Ma’am? Um. Those are seagulls.”

I have never had a car drive away so quickly!

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A Naked Complaint

, , , | Right | February 29, 2020

I am sitting in the lifeguard chair when an obviously very drunk and very trashy woman arrives at the beach with her family.

The woman allows her four-year-old daughter to run around the beach without anything on. While I don’t really care either way since I go off duty in twenty minutes, my boss has made it clear that naked children are to be strictly dealt with since the beach is public space.

“Hello, ma’am, I’m going to have to ask you to clothe your daughter.”

“Are you f****** serious? She’s just a little child; what the f*** is wrong with you?!”

“Ma’am, the beach policy is that children must be clothed.”

*Obviously lying* “Well, she has a bad skin rash on her back! SHE CAN’T WEAR A TOP, YOU LITTLE P***K.”

“Look, ma’am, I saw you guys walk up; she had clothes on then. Either way, if she does have a bad rash, she shouldn’t be in the water with other children, for health reasons.”

“What exactly is wrong with her being topless? Huh?!

“Ma’am, the way my manager explained it to me is this: this is public space, and ot only do most people not want to see a naked child running around, but would you really want some stranger staring at your little girl? Certain people go to public beaches for just that reason. Please be reasonable, ma’am.”

“Well, you a**holes shouldn’t let pedophiles in! F*** you! F*** this beach! I’m not going to cover my little girl up, you b****!”

“Ma’am, please refrain from using that type of language; there are other people who just want to enjoy the beach.”

“So, you’re telling me if she was a boy and running around topless, you wouldn’t say anything?”

“Well, no, ma’am bec—”

“Exactly! You’re a sexist, misogynistic f****** pig! F*** you, you biased a**hole!”

“Ma’am, I have run out of patience with you. I have the power to have you removed from the park, so either clothe your child or get off of my beach.”

“I want to speak with your manager. Now!”

Her husband face-palms so hard I am afraid he’ll knock himself out.

“Okay, ma’am, I’ll radio the beach manager over.”

I radio the beach manager and he sides with me.

“Never mind! We are leaving. Come on, honey!”

She grabs her child by the wrist and the kid starts crying.

“Look what you did; you made my baby cry! Thanks for ruining our nice beach day, you miserable p***k! I’m going to issue a complaint to your manager! I’ll get you f****** fired!”

By now, other customers are starting to become uncomfortable.

Customer #2:
“Hey, lady, calm down! The kid is just doing his job. I don’t wanna see your kid naked; he’s in the right here.”

I swear the lady looks like she is ten seconds from popping a blood vessel in her brain. She then storms off, practically dragging her kid as the husband apologizes profusely. I get off work that day and the next morning my boss asks to see me.

“Hey, I got a complaint about you yesterday.”

“Really? Gee, I wonder who it could be…”

“I have never heard a person use so many curse words in my entire life. I don’t know how you kept your cool. That lady was crazy. Carry on, son; you’re doing fine. I know you weren’t doing any of the things she said.”

“What did she say?”

“She said you were cursing at her and making fun of her kid, but another customer came in after you left last night and told me what really happened.”

“Oh, cool. Yeah, that guy was awesome. Thanks, boss!”

I never saw that lady again, but her complaint will go down in history as the nastiest complaint we have ever received at the beach.

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Stop Guarding Lives!

, , , | Right | February 10, 2020

(This is my first year as a lifeguard on the beach and all has been smooth sailing, just a few rescues and warning people… except for this one mother who walks up to me with her son in tow.)

Mum: “My son lost his action camera out in the surf.”

Me: “Okay, did it have a floaty on it?”

Mum: “No.”

Me: “Well, I’ll keep my eye out for any that are handed in.”

Mum: *starts to get mad* “No, aren’t you going to go and look for it now?”

Me: “No, ma’am, I can’t go out looking for it as it is a busy day and I can’t leave my spot.”

(I’m the only lifeguard on duty.)

Mum: “What do you mean? Of course, you can! No one is in trouble and he just lost it over there!”

Me: “Look. Even if there was no one in the surf, I would still not go looking for your son’s lost action camera.”

(She grabs her son and walked away, yelling at me.)

Mum: “I’m calling your manager for not doing your job and have you fired.”

(Did this lady really think I was going to leave my spot watching the ocean to go and look for her son’s missing action camera?)

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Life’s A Beach

, , , | Right | February 9, 2020

(Most beaches in New Jersey require a badge for access, so it is my job as a badge checker to sell daily, weekly, and seasonal badges to the general public. Most people who come to the beach know this and are ready to pay; some are not. My coworker and friend borrows my bike to grab lunch on her break, and she is returning the bike so she witnesses this transpire. I am a nineteen-year-old female.)

Me: *to a surfer trying to pass my box* “Excuse me, sir. Do you have a badge?”

Surfer: “Badge?”

Me: “Yes, a badge. Here in [Town], we require that all people who want to use the beach must have a badge. It is $10 for the day.”

Surfer: “[State Park] is closed today so why do I have to pay that amount? Can I get a discount?”

Me: “No, sir, sorry, but we’re not affiliated with [State Park]. We have our own rates that we must use. If you go to [Next Town Over], their rate is only $8.

Surfer: “This is bulls***! I have to pay if I just use the water?”

Me: “Unless you can jump from here to the waterline, then you’re going to have to pay.”

Surfer: “Why?”

Me: *prepared because I hear this every single day* “Well, [Town] owns the beach, so therefore you using the beach without paying is considered trespassing.”

Surfer: “They don’t own the beach.”

Me: “…?”

Surfer: “When Sandy happened the waterline came all the way up to the houses; therefore, the town doesn’t own it.”

Me: “Ah, I don’t think that’s right, but okay… It’s $10, sir.”

Surfer: “You take your job way too seriously.”

(Literally, my job is checking and selling badges; that is the entire job.)

Me: “Okay, sir, $10.”

Surfer: “Do you get commission for being a jerk?” *penny boards away*

Friend: “What the f***?”

Me: “I wish we got commission.”

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Swim Gang!

, , , , , | Friendly | November 15, 2019

(One summer evening when I’m in my late teens or early twenties, a few friends and I go to a free concert at a local public beach. During a break in the concert, two of my friends and I walk to a quieter, less crowded area of the beach to talk a bit. As we’re talking, a boy who appears to be 10 to 12 years old comes up to us. For context, all of the people involved in this story are white males.)

Boy: “Excuse me, you’re not allowed to go swimming right now. There’s no lifeguard on duty.”

(We’re fully clothed and not standing close to the water, so it should be reasonably obvious that we have no intention of going in. Nevertheless, I figure the kid is just trying to be helpful. I respond politely:)

Me: “Don’t worry; we weren’t planning to go swimming. Thanks anyway.”

(He seems satisfied with that answer and wanders off. We think this is the end of it and we go back to our conversation, but not three minutes later, the kid is back.)

Boy: “Excuse me. Are you three a gang?”

Me: “Um… no.”

Boy: “We don’t like gangs here. If you’re a gang, I’m going to have to kick you off the beach.”

(Too bewildered to say anything, we just stared at him in shock as he wandered away again. Not surprisingly, no one kicked us off the beach, but our newfound status as a “gang” became a running joke for several years thereafter.)

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