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Letters to the Editor

Locals discount, money-grubbing Olympics, sardonic thanks, and why people leave

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Some facts of life in Whistler

This letter is kind of reaction to the one about the dog beach incident at Lost Lake (Pique letters Aug. 24) and also just a general expression of frustration about how the word "local" has gained such a negative meaning for me and perhaps others.

Maybe I’m just paying more attention to those letters lately but it seems like through the summer I read more than a few about some of our visitors complaining about having to pay full price for stuff when "locals" enjoy a discount. Well, my dear tourists and guests, let me put things into perspective for you. In every town I've been to in my life the following things are true. Restaurant employees usually get half-priced food, employees in a video store get to take home free movies and games, mountain staff get a free ski pass for the season, and hotel employees get staff rated rooms. Why? Because we are the ones that ensure your food gets to you piping hot and delicious, that your wine glass is full, that your kids have a great time with the babysitter while you’re out for the night. We’re the ones that have to wake up at bitter cold ungodly hours of the morning to make sure that lifts are up and running when you’re done sleeping off your hangover. We’re the ones who clean your room while you’re skiing and put fresh sheets on your bed. We’re the ones who clean up the garbage and vomit off the streets after your drunken misadventures last night. You have such a great time here because we bust our asses to make it happen.

Now, on to my fellow Whistlerites. It drives me mad when I hear someone who’s been here a few months and has managed to learn where all the bars and liquor stores are but has no idea where the municipal hall is or the garbage compactors(!!!) say "Oh, I’m a local." No you’re not. In fact you’re even further from it than the average weekend warrior. You’re under the impression that your short residence here entitles you to everything. But beyond having learned which bar has which specials on which night you’re completely ignorant to the rest of the community. I’ve lived here for seven years now. I’ve volunteered for a number of events, I’ve taken dogs out for walks from WAG, participated in several charity drives but still sometimes have a hard time saying "I’m a local" because I feel I should be doing more.

And a lot of those people who lived here longer than that (sorry to say, a lot of my friends too) tend to think of their "local" status as an all-access VIP pass that puts them above the rules and also gives them the right to look down on tourists and visitors to our slice of paradise as intruders and/or second rate citizens. To quote an old adage, "Don’t bite the that hand feeds you!" Tourists are our bread ’n’ butter and you’d have to be pretty stupid to not understand that pissing them off will result in them not spending money here. Sure it’s frustrating to be running to grab lunch in your uniform and then having to waste 10 precious minutes explaining how to get to Merlin’s. And I also get annoyed when asked for the zillionth time if something is in U.S. dollars.

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