Tuesday, December 18, 2007

my city likes to help stupid tourists

Tonight, walking back from a massage (downtown) to my house (downtown), I was jolted out of my peaceful calm by a flag that said "downtown," and then, in big capitals, "HOTELS."

I immediately felt a complaint letter coming on. Here's how it's coming together. Inevitably, I'll rewrite it in my sleep and it'll look entirely different in the morning.

Dear City Councillor Friend,

I'm sad that my city is currently in a budget deficit situation. However, I completely understand that there are many important initiatives that scream for funding. Off the top of my head, I can think of a few examples, such as after school programs, public transit, and shelters for battered women and the homeless. After this evening, I have another program to add to the list. You see, tonight I discovered the delightful "HOTELS" flags downtown. In a word: wow.

So let's think about this for a second: most tourists coming into the city arrive by airplane or train. And the majority of the plane and train arrivals get into a taxi to get themselves to a hotel. The rest probably get picked up by friends, relatives or privately arranged transportation. I think we can safely conclude that plane and train arrivals don't need much help figuring out where to find a hotel.

However, as you seem to have most cleverly remembered, there are always those people who arrive by car or on foot or bicycle. Let's consider those people for a second: most of those driving in either have been here before or have a map and planned destination. Of course, there are probably some who have no knowledge or plan, but one has to presume that they would be able to recognize and read large signs that say such things as "Hilton," "Sheraton," and "Westin."

This still leave us with these people:
- complete morons in cars who cannot read signs. I have to ask why you as my city councillor would be encouraging those people to come here. Please stop.
- people who enter the city on foot or by bicycle. Now, I've never really met anyone who just upped and walked or biked in from far away, but I assume those people exist. However, if they do, I'm not sure they actually care which part of the city has the hotels. I'm thinking these people may eschew hotels for hostels, barracks for historical reenactments, or tents.

So, I'm sure those delightful flags are fulfilling an identified need. However, as you can see from this letter, I've thought long and hard and I'm a bit stumped as to what that need is. Perhaps someone from your office would like to put me out of my misery by dropping me a letter to enlighten me. I'd be most grateful.


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