Welcome Police Handbook

tpd-logoThe notion of establishing (or at least pretending to want to establish) a tourism police force first captured my imagination this summer, when I discovered there was such a thing. As it turns out, countries that have the spare cash, the will and the need, establish tourist police forces. Depending upon the country, tourist police do anything from making sure con artists and sketchy street vendors (as well as “legitimate” hoteliers, cab drivers, etc.) don’t take too much advantage of the tourists. The also tend to be dressed in spiffy, military dress-type uniforms to separate themselves from the proper police and appear friendlier when making recommendations or giving directions.

This kinder, gentler, police force isn’t merely a civil concierge corps, they also are responsible for maintaining cultural norms with which travelers might not be familiar. This is especially true of societies that have state-enforced religious taboos. The point is, we thought it would be awesome if we wrote a handbook for our pretend Welcome Police force, and that’s where you come in.

We at the Todcast hope to establish a definitive guide to being a tourist on the Eastern Shore. This will include inside information on off-the-beaten-path attractions as well as guidelines for behavior. It’s the guidelines for behavior we’re most interested in.

For example:

On the Eastern Shore it is considered gauche to stop your car, lean out of the window and photograph the Assateague ponies. When you do this, you bring shame upon your ancestors and descendants.

What we’d like is for you to email, tweet, or just post suggestions on Facebook that will be included on the master tourist police handbook. If we select yours, we will send you a horrible prize from my desk collection of weird things I’ve found at flea markets or have been sent. I promise they will be valueless, but at least you’ll get a package in the mail.

We came up with the idea for this contest during Todcast Episode 134, which you can hear here.