Wolfe’s Woofer: Tourist Economics
Sunday, November 23rd, 2014
“This town is nice and quiet,” I said to the hotel keeper, who also worked as the bartender.
“Si,” he said. “It is quiet because we have no tourists. Because we have no tourists, we have no money. Everyone is poor.”
Looking around the bar he said, “Since the cruise ships quit stopping here we have no money coming into the town. The two men sitting in the bar have businesses but no customers. The man in the corner is Juan, the butcher. Sitting next to him is Pablo. Pablo has a finca, a little ranch where he raises cattle. Yes, we are very poor. We need some tourist economics.”
“What are tourist economics?” I asked.
“When money moves,” he said, “everyone benefits. It works like this. First . . ”
Just then the bar room door opened and a man walked in. He was extremely well dressed and obviously wealthy.
“Innkeeper, I would like a room for the night,” he said, as he laid a $100 U.S. bill on the bar. “That bill should cover it. You can keep the change.”
The bartender yelled, “Roberto!” and a boy came running from a back room.
“Take the man’s bags up and show him his rooms.”
As the customer disappeared up the stairs the bartender said, “Juan, take this $100 on the money I have been owing you for the steaks.”
Turning to the rancher, the butcher handed the money of to him, saying, “Pablo, here is the money I owe you for the last two cattle you sold me.”
As he tucked the money into his pocket a good-looking girl walked in and the rancher called, “Maria! Here is the money I owe you for Saturday night. I had a great time.”
“Oh, gracias,” she said. “I owe a hotel bill.”
She laid the money on the bar and the owner reached for it. He paused as his new customer came from upstairs and walked over to the bar.
“I don’t care for the rooms,” he said, as he took the $100 and put it in his pocket.
As he left, the innkeeper turned to me and shrugged his shoulders.
“That’s what I mean about tourist economics,” he said. “Nobody gets rich but at least we can all pay our debts.”
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