Tuesday, April 29, 2014

No way to run an RV railroad

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
My husband just had another episode of management frustration. He retired as a business consultant and cannot seem to let go now that we are traveling full-time. We tried to book a couple weeks in the campground at the Grand Canyon. The reservation.gov site would only let us book 7 consecutive days on the only site we could find available. He called reservation.gov to find out if it was that particular site, or were all sites restricted to 7 days. They did not know. That started it. He thought they should know or be able to find out. They offered no other assistance and told him to call the park. A call to the park only made it worse. Like many corporations, the National Park system doesn’t want to talk to people either. They hook you up to several minutes of voicemail choices and then you reach a dead end with no option to talk to a real person. That only makes him more determined. He Googled for an hour and finally found a news release about a new Assistant Superintendent at the park. He called the media specialist and found she was stationed at the Superintendent’s office in the park. She tried to get rid of him, but he insisted she find an answer for him or connect him to the Superintendent. Finally, he found out that all sites at the Grand Canyon are limited to 7 days because it is such a popular destination. This is just one example of how he won’t let poor communications, poor marketing, poor organization and poor information services slip by without making a fuss. How can I get him to relax and go with the flow.
--Karen at the Canyon

Dear Karen:
Maybe it is not a problem. Perhaps he enjoys the challenge. I like the way he thinks. When I have a problem with a Corp. or a government agency, I always start at the top and work my way down. It’s so easy today to find out the name of the CEO. You never get to talk to the CEO but you always get your answer or problem solved so much faster that way. I agree with him that if some person in a New York city cubical is going to run the park service campgrounds they should have all the answers or have access to them. If his focus on things running properly is upsetting you, then you should create a time when he can work on these extracurricular activities without involving you or giving you a blow-by-blow account of what is happening. Some people would love to have an onboard wagon master that could solve all the problems, get all the answers and work out a route through the hostile territories of business and government. An onslaught of government bureaucracy can be very frustrating. Now the park service is handing over so many management activities to concessioners that it creates more opportunity for buck passing. It can get overwhelming.
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink


Anonymous said...

I think it is great that he takes the time to get answers and doesn't hesitate to do what it takes to get someone to answer his question. My husband does that also. If it bothers you, leave the room and let him deal with it. There will be times you will be glad he is so persistant.

Ron Lane said...

You think Grand Canyon is bad...try getting a reservation at Yosemite.

Queenie said...

I'm with this guy. We certainly should have answers to simple questions.

Anonymous said...

On the National Park Service website for Grand Canyon camping, it clearly states that campground reservations are limited to 7 consecutive nights. We have been camping at Grand Canyon National Park several times over the years. You must make a reservation as far ahead as possible, just as you do at all the most popular National Parks. Just a fact of life. If you work with the system instead of fighting against it and make your reservation many months ahead, you will get a campsite.