Early last week, my family and I spontaneously decided to head to Hersheypark—aka "The Sweetest Place on Earth." For those who don't know, it’s a Pennsylvania amusement park owned by the ubiquitous chocolate company.
My kids love roller coasters and chocolate and I crave a perfect excuse to eat uncontrollably for a few days—so this excursion worked out perfectly for all. And since I wrote that theme park article a couple of weeks back—which I will write a sequel too, promise—I couldn’t get the notion of doing something fun with the family out of my head.
Hershey is a great place for the family to spend a couple of days before we get back to the regular routine of fighting about homework, being exhausted from getting up too early and trying to figure out how to make Taco Tuesday more interesting.
At Hershey, I especially love Chocolate World, a Disney omnimover style ride designed to get you excited about chocolate, so you buy chocolate; which we bought plenty. Like the world’s largest bar, which weighs in at five pounds!
So off we went. (Quick aside: Thanks to the good folks at the Holiday Inn Express Hershey for a lovely place to lay our heads. You rock! What follows is not an indication of the hotel, but of typical hotel guest families across the country.)
Each morning I had the displeasure of dragging myself out of bed several hours before the family. Work still needed to be done, deadlines hit, all that real-world stuff.
Aside from getting work done, I watched as families swarmed the breakfast bar in a “Good Earth” style plague. And I learned a bit about some of the leisure traveler family archetypes buzzing about during the complimentary meal.
1. The Loud Family
Whether they are conscious about it or not, this family insists on being the center of attention. Unable to modulate, their only tones are loud, and loudly screaming. Meanwhile, their kids run amok while mom and dad yell at them for their bad behavior. Yet, it’s the yelling that everyone hates; not your kids being kids.
2. The Messy Family
This family has yet to learn to eat like humans. Caught somewhere between eating like a troglodyte and a happy stupid dog, they lose more food to the floor, tables and walls then they manage to scarf down their slack-jawed maws. And, of course, they have a raging sense of entitlement and feel no compunction to clean up their awful mess. After all, the hotel has staff to do that!
3. The Why-Get-Dressed Family
This bedraggled group of lazy travelers never seems to realize they’re in a public place. Though we clearly understand the dining area is not an extension of the guestroom, this family thinks it’s their own private place; and dress accordingly. Disheveled pajamas, sweatpants riddled with holes and unkempt hair that would make a great wig for Phil Specter were all on full display. (Somehow I managed to avoid a Donald Trump doo joke!)
If you want your free breakfast, do us the decency and at least pretend you care. Just a little effort will show the world you, and your family, are not a complete embarrassment.
4. The Food Hoggers
Each member of this family chows down as if they have never seen food before, and will never see food again. Guess what people? You are going to an amusement park where there is more crappy food than you can possibly stuff into that gullet. And I saw you lady: taking those bananas to eat during the next month, you were fooling no one.
5. The Table Savers
It’s 8:15 am, and the lobby’s packed with hungry patrons. So this family saves a table for their friends that haven’t yet showed up. And probably won’t until they’re done eating. Nevertheless, they hold a table, even as folks have nowhere to sit who are very sad they cannot eat their fresh made-to-order pancake. Annoying everyone with their selfishness, they seem to believe they are the only ones that matter. Good job!
What’s your favorite family archetype at the breakfast bar? I’d love to hear some of the funny stuff you’ve observed during this morning ritual. Email me at [email protected] or on Twitter and Instagram @TravelingGlenn and share your stories.
Glenn Haussman is editor-at-large for HOTEL MANAGEMENT. His views expressed are not necessarily those of HOTEL MANAGEMENT, its parent company Questex Media Group, and/or its subsidiaries.