This is a different kind of blog entry. No exciting entrances, NE gales, or fantastic crew. In August we settle into the business of taking people on daysails--usually two hours long. The weather is usually mild and beautiful and the people are fun, so it's a great time of year for us. We have not been "stood up" once this year, which is also great. Well, once we were (a couple didn't show up) but then she called later, highly apologetic, to let me know that I'd written down the wrong date! So we're still batting 100% for 2-hour sailor trustworthiness.
This is significant because we have continued to resist the trend towards credit-card guarantees--meaning, getting credit card numbers in case people bail without notice. The amount of work that it would take to take down and safely guard everyone's credit card number matches neither our determination to live simply (and outside in the summer) nor our belief that most people do not go back on their word, and if they have to cancel, they are willing to pay something for the inconvenience and cost incurred.
One issue has arisen however, that I want to address here. Every Tuesday night during the daysail season, locals can reserve a spot for only $10/person. We tout this deal everywhere we can think of and have taken dozens, maybe hundreds, of our friends and neighbors out on the Lake.
Great! So what's the rub? Can you guess? It is in the definition of "local."
Now I love a good deal as much as anybody, and I completely sympathize with the desire to get a good deal. I don't begrudge anyone going for the local deal. But our definition has always been "permanent Lake County residents," which we are now clarifying as "permanent year-round Lake County residents." Mark says, "Ask them if they live here from January to March." The truth is, a large percentage of the people on the north shore in the summer have a cabin nearby, or a timeshare, or family who live here or, or, or. If we let anyone with good connections in on the local deal, exactly how would we make a living? This doesn't mean locals can't bring their friends and family; they would simply pay the regular rate.
So we draw the line. I hate doing it--I had to say "no" to a woman who is, clearly, local in the spirit of the word the other day. She lived on the Duluth side of the county line, not 20 minutes from the boat. But we also know we can't include Duluth in our "local" definition--same reason mentioned above.
We need our locals. They are our cheerleaders and our supporters. We would love it if everyone in our county got out on the Lake to see the shoreline--especially those who have lived here all their lives and never been out on the water. Please take a minute to understand why we draw the line, and where we draw it. Small towns like ours are perfect for building community, but the walls can tear down easily also. We are all about trusting people and expecting them to trust us.
Now--who wants to go sailing?