The summer is always a tough time of year to keep the money rolling into the F.A.T.S.O group coffers.
For those of you unfamiliar, F.A.T.S.O. stands for Flatlanders Adjusting To Solitary Oblivion – a winter support group for new transplants to New Hampshire who are learning to adjust to the difficulties of their first winters here.
The last couple of winters proved to be a boon to membership as the phone calls and emails piled up almost as fast as the snow. While some mild winters before that kept new membership, and our treasury, at record lows and our heads barely above water, we are now pretty flush thanks to Mother Nature’s winter awakening.
Still, previous experience has made us realize that we can’t just sit back and expect that things will be cozy from here on in. We’ll never know what the next winter will bring and with unexpected expenses arriving daily we decided that we really needed other forms of income to keep us solid in the lean times.
That is why this summer we introduced a new group; a satellite group to F.A.T.S.O and a sure fire money maker. We are pretty excited since it will provide not only comfort and solace to a nearly forgotten group, but it will also never be affected by the weather.
The acronym for this new group is N.A.S.T.Y. and it stands for Natives Adjusting to Summer Tourists Yearly. The purpose of N.A.S.T.Y. is to help those New Hampshire natives, many of them most likely here in the Lakes Region, who after a long and quiet winter and spring of quiet roads and local businesses, have to suddenly readjust to that morning, every year, when they wake up and, suddenly, there are people….everywhere.
These lifelong natives (and many “Native Flatlanders”) know this is coming. They know that tourists are as much a part of the summer as Black Ice is to the winter, whether they like it or not. It is a relatively short season, but it really does consume just about all of the weeks of really nice weather (certainly not a coincidence). It is often forgotten until it is finally here and when it does arrive it brings, to many, a great deal of stress that they hadn’t experienced for eight months or so.
We are confident that N.A.S.T.Y will help relieve a lot of that stress.
The guidelines for the N.A.S.T.Y program are still being developed after a test run this past summer (thank you to those natives who participated). As we go through the winter we will have more time to really tweak things and hit the ground running next spring with a complete program.
Just to give you an example of how the program will help those who need it, here is a sampling of the questions we will help to answer and the issues we will address.
How does the native deal with more than five cars at a stoplight when he/she is just going to the hardware store to pick up a couple of things?
We will help the native to understand why tourists drive at two speeds during the winter: way too fast or way too slow.
Why is that tourist from New York yelling when he is asking for directions? Did you do something wrong or is that really the way they talk?
We will teach the native the proper etiquette in dealing with tourists in many different scenarios and also make them understand that there are some instances where no etiquette is required. It’s really you or them.
We will answer burning questions such as: “Is it proper to laugh out loud when a tourist says that they are going to retire up here someday and open a restaurant?”
We will also explain to the natives why the day after Labor Day has never been declared a state holiday.
We are planning on having our introductory N.A.S.T.Y meeting in October so we can start initiating people into the process as well as getting some of those membership fees under our belts.
We know that many New Hampshire natives are a bit stubborn and not quick to ask for advice even when they need it, so we can’t stress enough the total anonymity we will provide to each member. You can be assured that any question you ask will be treated with the strictest confidence (unless they are really ridiculous then we will share them amongst ourselves over a couple of beers).
We are hoping that N.A.S.T.Y really takes off. It seems to be a niche that needs to be exploit…uh, addressed. After all, the more summer tourists that become residents, the more you will have to deal with them year-round.
Visit Brendan’s website for information on his books and speaking engagements at brendantsmith.com or follow his blog at FoolinNH.com