Stickers Send Wrong Message

You can tell a lot about people by the stickers adorned to their vehicles. You can see which football team is the household favorite, how well the driver’s child does in school, political and religious beliefs and even where they live. On the latter note, a sticker we have spotted in increasing and disturbing frequencies reads, “FU I Live Here.”

This elitist attitude in an area dependent entirely on the fact it’s a vacation destination is appalling. We understand there are times when tourists can be a tad difficult on the nerves for a variety of reasons, but it’s a healthier approach to not dwell on that inevitability of living in a resort area and be thankful they come here in the first place.

Tourism means everything to this area and its associated impact trickles down to nearly every segment of society. In one way or another, every single household in this area benefits from the fact people choose to vacation here and spend their disposable income in this region. Stickers like this stink of entitlement and an inability to see the big picture because they take for granted people will continue to vacation in a place where they are not welcomed by some.

To be certain, those sporting these stickers are in the minority. Most of us are aware nearly all local livelihoods weigh heavily on the outside dollars coming into our economy.

Let’s take a look at some key data as proof. The top 10 employer list in Ocean City is led by the Harrison Group, a hotel and restaurant company based in Ocean City, at 900 employees, or 3.3 percent of the entire county workforce. The top 10 employers in Ocean City employ 3,907 people in various capacities, or 14% percent of the entire county workforce, according to Ocean City’s Comprehensive Financial Report. Ten years ago, the city’s top 10 employers represented 12 percent of the work force, confirming Ocean City’s importance in the marketplace is only increasing.

These jobs are vital and thousands of families are dependent on being employed. Without a viable tourism base, these jobs would not exist. Its importance cannot be understated. Even farmers benefit from tourists because without the inflated property value base that’s driven by Ocean City’s prime real estate, taxes would be much higher on the land they live off of and on.

While in a story recently selling these stickers ($2.99 apiece), we inquired why they would carry them and presented our rant. The answer was if it sells we carry it. That’s a myopic approach, and we certainly hope the demand for them subsides. It’s the wrong message to send to the visitors who are so critical to the entire economy.