I bartend on the Riverwalk in San Antonio; it’s the #1 tourist attraction in the state of Texas.
Everybody has already made valid points as to the reasons why tourists are annoying; I don’t hate them but dammit they can be annoying!
They think that any bathroom on the entire Riverwalk should be available to them, regardless of whether they’re patronising the business that owns the bathroom.
They think that any employee on the Riverwalk is there solely to give them directions and help them out; I’ve had countless numbers of tourists walk into my bar just to get directions to another bar. Or walk into my restaurant just to get directions to another restaurant. I used to work at a steakhouse, and people would walk in and ask for directions to other steakhouses. I’m sorry, but that’s intensely rude. Particularly when it isn’t, “I’m sorry to bother you, but would you mind telling me where X is?” Nope, it’s “I’m late for a dinner appointment at X; where is it?”
[sub]And yes, if they’re particularly rude about it, I have been known to give wrong directions. I try to avoid the temptation, but some people are just begging for it. I know, I’m not proud.[/sub]
And yes, the cultural clash can be jarring; an honest question is just that, but a lot of people don’t even stop to think that what they’re saying may be offensive, or rude, or just plain stereotypical. I get a lot of, “So, what’s with all the Mexicans down here?” or “I noticed there aren’t many black people down here! Why not?” and its flipside, which is “I didn’t think there’d be so many black people down here! I thought it was all Mexicans and white people! Where do the black people come from?” “So why don’t you sound like a Texan?” “Everybody in Texas voted for George W., right?” “Why does Texas think it’s so cool?” “Why are Texans so, you know, proud of themselves? Like, what’s so special about Texas?”
It wouldn’t be that big a deal if I didn’t get them so very often… but after awhile it’s hard to be gracious in the face of blatant stereotypes. I’d never go to another state and start dogging it to the natives, but tourists do it all the time. I don’t know why anybody would want to vacation in Texas just to find out if it fits all their negative stereotypes, but I find it annoying to defend my state all day long to people who aren’t even from here!
Anyway, therein ends my beef with tourists. They frequently pay my bills, so I can’t whine too much about them, but it would be nice if they were a little more respectful.
[sub]And also if they’d buy a damn map, for God’s sake.[/sub]