How many backpackers does it take to change a lightbulb?

Thumbrella is conducting an exclusive industry survey this week, with just one question. How many of your customers are idiots?  

I seem to spend a lot of my time defending backpackers to those who would label them drunken morons, bringing nothing but trouble to the communities in which they reside.

Hardly a week goes by when I’m not on the phone to some tabloid hack in search of a story (pot, kettle anyone?) explaining how young travellers take hard-to-fill jobs, then spend more than they earn, ploughing A$3.5 billion into the economy in 2009.

And then a couple of pissed-up passengers decide to jump off the Manly ferry and swim to the Opera House after a night on the sauce and all my hard work goes to waste.

Yes, we all do stupid things when we’ve had a few – I once jumped on to a tube line at London’s Victoria station to retrieve a cigarette and told the arresting officer I wasn’t prepared to accept a caution as he was “only nine years old”.

Fortunately, I was just one of many drunken loudmouths out in the capital that night, and the incident never made the news. I doubt Sydney’s idiot quota is any lower than London’s, but it’s a smaller city so these things tend to make a bigger splash (pardon the pun).

And actually, we don’t need the results of a poll to tell us that, just like any other, the backpacking community has its fair share of idiots. But that’s not going to stop the locals reading their newspapers this morning and concluding most of our customers are stupid.

7 thoughts on “How many backpackers does it take to change a lightbulb?

  • June 1, 2010 at 5:50 pm
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    Come off it! That`s not implying their idiots, I don`t reckon

    We`ve all done silly, reckless things in our youth: I still do. To quote Monty Python:

    “I mean, who can honestly say that, at some point or other, they`ve never set fire to some great public building? I know I have!”

    Jumping off a ferry and swimming to shore under the Opera House seems like a bloody ripper idea to me, age 21! Maybe not now, but, still……not a true definition of “idiots”.

    We had 3 English lads check in here one fine morning in `98, who asked how far Dunk Island was from our beach (4kms), said thanks, we don`t need a water taxi, we`ll swim there and wandered off.

    Mel, our receptionist, thought they were having a laugh, until they rang from Dunk that arvo, exhausted, asking whether the taxi made one-way trips!

    There are often very large tides, boat traffic, occasional sharks and even crocodiles that could have interrupted their pleasant swim!

    It`s just something young folk do.

    Now, for a tale of idiocy, there was the time someone thought the powdered pool chlorine we stored in our laundry was detergent and thought they`d pull a sneaky and use it in their wash…..THAT was moronic!

    Reply
  • June 1, 2010 at 5:56 pm
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    They made the news and isn’t that every kids dream?

    Reply
  • June 3, 2010 at 7:08 am
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    I could (should) write a book !!! It would probably be a best seller on the all-time ‘dopey things people do list”. Trouble is some things are incredibly dangerous and others just incomprehensibly stupid, (and we really don’t want to advertise these for even dopier copy-cats, do we).
    All in all their actions (of this minority) end up costing Australian tourism providers very large amounts of time and money, not to mention the frustrations, and then there are the labels the media want to tag “all of us” with, when they discover one brainless stunt, (……..or injury or murder) let alone two. By that stage the media calls it an epidemic.
    It would be interesting to rate blind stupidity by Country. Now that’s a poll !!!!
    We empathise with your frustrations.
    ’nuff said…………

    Reply
  • July 21, 2010 at 2:25 pm
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    I’ve got one – how many Greg Coles does it take to change a lightbulb?

    Two – one to change the lightbulb and the other to comment about it on Thumbrella!

    Reply
  • July 21, 2010 at 2:26 pm
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    I’ve got one – how many Greg Coles does it take to change a lightbulb?

    Two – one to change the lightbulb and the other to comment about it on Thumbrella!

    Reply
  • July 21, 2010 at 2:43 pm
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    just make sure it a energy efficient one

    Reply
  • July 23, 2010 at 3:42 pm
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    How many Peters does it take to be funny? Clearly more
    than two.

    Reply

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