Tour guides accompany groups of visitors to tourist attractions, whether on day trips or longer visits, and give them information and insights that help them make the most of the experience.
That is the simple definition of a tour guide, but on a recent trip to South Dakota, Valerie, Gus and I found that the duties of a tour guide can greatly vary and are sometimes embellished on the spot. Ours kept referring to the registration and orientation that had somehow taken place without our knowledge. In fact, everything about this arrangement is almost sure to come back to bite us. The word that we fear the most, and it was bandied about quite often, is Surcharge. The word can be both a noun and a verb and I’m pretty sure our tour guide is familiar with all that the ominous sounding word implies
an additional charge, tax, or cost.
an excessive sum or price charged.
an additional or excessive load or burden.
verb (used with object), sur·charged, sur·charg·ing.
to subject to an additional or extra charge, tax, cost, etc. (for payment).
to overcharge for goods.
to show an omission in (an account) of something that operates as a charge against the accounting party; to omit a credit toward (an account)
The first thing that seemed a little unusual was when our “tour guide” announced that we were going to split all of the expenses four ways, meaning all of his expenses were included in the total. We had no control over what he ate. He really likes steak and other expensive dishes. Valerie, Gus and I found ourselves consuming large amounts of food. Since we were splitting the bill four ways, we figured we were not going to allow the tour guide to benefit from the four-way split.
The biggest head-fake was when he announced that anything we got for free was free. There wouldn’t, in most cases, be a surcharge for free stuff. We were required to eat a big breakfast but lunch was on our own. Who wants to eat lunch when you know dinner is going to be humongous and breakfast was enough to keep most people going for days.
I don’t know about Gus and Valerie, but I am dreading the day the bill comes. He’s waiting for his credit card statement. Oh, I noticed he really likes to tip big. That is another form of surcharge.
I mentioned one morning that we hadn’t been on a single tour in three days. He loaded us up and dropped us off at a local museum. He said he would be back to pick us up in three hours or whenever he woke up from his nap…dinner would be early because he was going to miss lunch.
Hanging out with Wild Bill and Calamity Jane at the Adams Museum in Deadwood, SD
Downtown Deadwood (I love the camera Gus gave me and I have figured out how to change the date or remove that function.)
We were able to snag a few freebies, but he tried to tell me that he would take care of my registration for the All School Reunion which would amount to $135.00. I got out of that one when I found out that it included a $105.00 surcharge.
As far as tour guides are concerned, I would give him 2 out of 5 stars, but only because he’s my brother.