MMSA urges locals, businesses to be a little nicer and kiss a little more ass.
I have the uncanny ability to sit through any meeting, no matter what the context is, as long as there’s good, free food. That’s why I don’t go to Recreation Commission meetings anymore. But last Monday I found myself at the Bistro Bar and Grill for a Chamber of Commerce function enjoying free beer, wings, steak quesadillas and sliders.
But unlike the last free food/meeting I sat through in undergrad for the Western Michigan University Equestrian Club, this meeting actually held my interest. Essentially, it was a pep talk aimed at all the Mammoth business owners that I couldn’t agree with more.
The message was simple. Mammoth Mountain wants you to be nice … to tourists at least. Now I’m not going to point any fingers, but honestly Mammoth has some of the lousiest customer service I’ve ever encountered, and that’s saying a lot because I’ve been to New Jersey.
Not everyone is guilty. But there are a few places I refuse to go to anymore not because their goods or services are bad, but because the employees just don’t give a damn.
So in an effort to eradicate the Snookies and buttheads, MMSA Vice President Jack Copeland is re-implementing a program originated back in 1999 called the Ambassador Program. The idea is that if local business owners, along with the Mountain, train their employees to engage guests with an old fashioned, “How ya doin’?” and answer basic questions (without sarcasm) such as: where’s the nearest ATM, where’s the grocery store, nearest bus stop and what is there to do after skiing besides get drunk, then tourists will have a better experience and consequently return year after year.
“The big game starts on the 17th,” stated Copeland, “I can’t get to your employees. I need you to train and teach your employees [the program].”
This push for “community wide hospitality” is an effort to transform Mammoth into what Copeland calls “America’s Friendliest Resort.” Which is a realistic and probable goal, considering there is no way we can be friendlier than Whistler B.C. based on the fact that Canadians are just too damn friendly.
Copeland is pushing to get this program started as soon as possible by not just training locals to be kind but by also educating them on where to find local information, i.e. www.mammothmountain.com, www.visitmammoth.com or the new Mammoth Insider brochure.
Editor’s note: That or just direct people to read The Sheet or visit www.thesheetnews.com or listen to thesheetradio.com in the mornings.
Claiming that the Mountain only hires people who can string two words together, Copeland said we depend on the newly arrived 2,000 skiers and snowboarders who live here seasonally. “They’re stoked to be here and they’re going to be the easy ones to train,” he said. “The tough group to buy into this program will be the year-round employees. You’ve heard the term ‘Touron’ right? Some people think that tourists are bad. We have to intercept those people and retrain them.”
If you’ve used that term before then you know who you are. Copeland’s talking to you. That means no more getting pissed off at Vons at 6 p.m. on a Friday, no more making fun of gaper gaps, no more spraying tourists on the hill (Scott Hoffer) and certainly no more giving people directions even though you didn’t know the way, because that’s the kind of guy you are.
Determined to reduce the amount of middle fingers, Copeland went on to say, “Every resident in town is an ambassador for Mammoth Lakes. Every word, every gesture.”
I guess that means the end to flipping the bird to LaRouche supporters on Main Street.