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When It's Tough to Relax at a Resort

Carol Sottili

So you're all ready to head down to the resort pool. Sunscreen, check. Sunglasses, check. Towel, check. You can already taste the margarita. And then you notice that, even though there is hardly anyone at the pool, every single lounge chair is covered with a towel. Do you:

a.) Alert the authorities?
b.) Go to the beach instead?
c.) Rip the towels off the chairs and put them in the trash?

Or, you're enjoying the beach, watching the waves, taking in some rays, reading a good book. A family sits down way too close to your space, but that's OK -- the beach is crowded. Then they all pull out their plastic baggies filled with Marlboros and lighters and proceed to light up. Just your luck, the wind is blowing in your direction. And then they grind their cigarettes into the sand. Do you:

a.) Move your chair to another location?
b.) Politely ask that they refrain from smoking, mumbling something about allergies?
c.) Yell, "Hey buddy, the world is not your ashtray!"?

Or you're at the resort buffet, and you notice that the family in front of you is tasting stuff as they go along -- with their fingers. The topper is when the smallest kid, whose nose is running, picks up a chicken finger and then puts it back. Do you:

a.) Talk to the manager?
b.) Leave and order room service?
c.) Rap the kid's knuckles with your cane?

Okay, so maybe I'm a cranky old lady. But why can't we all be a little bit more considerate of the next guy, especially when we're on vacation and supposedly don't have stress to blame for bad behavior?

By Carol Sottili |  August 14, 2008; 7:10 AM ET  | Category:  Carol Sottili
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it's all down to the sad fact that americans have no manners. seriously. we are a selfish, boorish, mannerless lot who do all the things you mentioned above without a second thought. Oh, and if you mention it to us, we'll become loud, obnoxious and possibly violent.

I am not even saying all of this in a tongue in cheek manner. I really feel that Americans have serious issues and it's been grating on my nerves for a while now.

Posted by: jessica | August 14, 2008 9:31 AM

Funny i was going to say the same of Israelis, French, Brits and Russians having no manners and Smokers being the inconsiderate thing going no matter what the nationality. When I'm on vacation I avoid resorts and go camping in the wide open. There is no getting away from entitled smokers though even in the great outdoors. gag
I live in a resort town and I do open my mouth to the more boorish guests on the beach as I walk across the cigarette butts on my way to the water.
Actually there are a few very considerate smokers!

Posted by: Ethan Eilat, Israel | August 14, 2008 9:41 AM

I'll never forget being in the buffet line on a cruise ship and the guy ahead of me picked up a finger sandwich with his fingers, sniffed it, and then put it back. I couldn't help myself - I said: Don't put it back on the platter! He said something nasty to me; don't remember what. I picked the offending sandwich up off the serving platter and put it on the tablecloth away from the edge so folks wouldn't get the idea that this was worth eating.

Posted by: Rockville | August 14, 2008 3:11 PM

Forgive me but you all need to upgrade your vacation choices. :-)

Posted by: Bartolo | August 14, 2008 5:54 PM

At the pool: If it is only a towel and not other stuff laying around I would remove the towel to another lounge. If someone came along glaring, I would just fein surprise. At the buffet: I would not only rap the child's knuckles but those of his parents as well. On the beach with the smokers: I'd choose C.
I agree, many parent's today have ignored teaching maners and practicing them as well.

Posted by: rja112 | August 14, 2008 11:05 PM

OMG, I have to say that I'd pick C in all cases since I'd really want option D "kick the crap out of them". Why must people be such rude inconsiderate self-centered pests? Didn't anyone ever teach them basic consideration?? argh!

Posted by: omars | August 16, 2008 8:45 PM

Actually, yes you are a cranky old lady because each time you go away somewhere it seems like you write a blog complaining about something.

All be it the buffet is a problem, id tell the manager. as far as the pool, how do you know some of those people with towels on the chairs did not just get up and walk away down to the beach and will be right back.

Get over yourself sotilli and just lock yourself in your house so you only have yourself to blame for problems.

Posted by: JJ | August 17, 2008 2:34 PM


If I am lounging at a pool, and then want to go jump into the surf at the beach, I would move my stuff to the beach. When I wanted to go back to the pool, I would again relocate. What is the problem with doing that? If I was with a group of people, I would think that if you wanted to stake out your chairs, someone should stay there. If everyone goes to the beach? relocate.

Posted by: rja112 | August 18, 2008 1:06 AM

I avoid crowded beaches and long buffet lines. Places that offer such things don't interest me.

Posted by: Marilyn Terrell | August 18, 2008 3:50 AM

I hate to defend smokers, but I think that in a lot of countries smoking is the norm and everyone expects smokers to light up whereever they do. Not saying that's better than the U.S. (it's not), but simply that they're not being rude or even inconsiderate in their own society.

FWIW, when my pregnant wife and I were in switzerland, we asked to be seated away from other smokers in a restaurant (it didn't have a no smoking area). We were. When another couple was seated next to us, they lit up. The manager was kind enough to ask them to move. They refused, and were then asked to leave. Manager got a big tip.

Posted by: ah | August 18, 2008 10:25 AM

These are the sorts of things that make it impossible for me to relax, so I do whatever is possible to avoid booking vacations at these types of resorts and locations. I choose smaller resorts in less crowded locations with less of the buffet-type meals. In particular, I scour trip advisor reviews of resorts to see if prior guests have had the problem with lounge-hoggers, and if so, to see the management's response. I can understand leaving a lounger for a fast lunch break or for a swim, but some guests are really egregious about this, and if management isn't very proactive, it turns into a nightmare.

Posted by: adub | August 18, 2008 12:13 PM

My answers are:
1. A, Alert the pool attendant: Perhaps he or she can tell you whether the chairs are taken or that he or she had only placed the towels there as a convenience to the guests. Then ask the attendant if he or she can get you a chair, too.
2. Either A or B. Or go to the pool instead.
3. A, Alert the manager. I've learned over the past few months that it's sometimes wasted breath to tell people not to do stuff, and the result is usually a glare. Talk to the restaurant manager instead, and perhaps he or she will remedy the situation.

Posted by: ShepCWillner | August 18, 2008 1:17 PM

Rent vacation home with a private pool :) No need to schedule cots, there may not be a pool boy, but the privacy and the quiet is delicious. Try to find private vacation homes in all the hot spot destinations that have private pools....Its the only way to go :)

Posted by: TravelingInStilettos | August 18, 2008 2:53 PM

@ rja112

So, if you wanted to go WALK down the beach for 10 minutes you would take all your things with you?

Yeah right. You are full of it

Sotilli has a complaint nearly each time she visits a location.
For someone who writes for the Travel section, she sure does hate to travel

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