Interesting Philadelphia Inquirer front-page advertorial on behalf of the Ocean City, NJ, tourism industry. The reporter noted that O.C. lost a lot of potential tourist dollars last week when coastal areas were evacuated as Hurricane Irene approached.
The story had no news value but was instead a pitch to people in the region who hadn’t made plans for the Labor Day weekend. Publicists for the town were quoted, all complaining about Irene’s effect on business and rattling off the same message: “Come on down.”
It’s ironic that Irene spared the South Jersey shore but did some damage in the northern part of the state. But wait… Shouldn’t the Ocean City spokespeople, instead of complaining, be thanking their fickle mercantile gods that Irene didn’t wipe their island off the map?
The reporter maximized the story’s tackiness by quoting a woman who urged upstate disaster victims to put the wreckage out of mind, at least long enough to enjoy an expensive weekend of sun and fun in Ocean City:
“Our hearts go out to the people who ended up with a lot of storm damage and problems,” said Michele Gillian, executive director of the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce. “But we think the best solution for them is to come down here and enjoy the beautiful weather in what’s left of the summer.”
Gillian, whose family operates Gillian’s Wonderland amusement pier on the boardwalk, said business in Ocean City was down as much as 70 percent at the start of the week. But people have trickled back to “America’s Greatest Family Resort,” she said.
Great idea! Bring what’s left of your life savings and spend the money on what’s left of the summer in our kitschy little shore town. And don’t forget to blow some cash on my family’s amusement pier…
I know this story had an editor, but it’s hard to believe the editor actually read it.