Surf Report

(June 14, 2019) Every week in this fine newspaper a Commentary page appears which includes the masthead, an always timely and comedic cartoon by Marc Emond and an equally amusing column entitled “Public Eye.”

Public Eye is written by editor Stewart Dobson and is quite an insight to, shall we say, an alternative way of looking at things.

Mr. Dobson manages to get various points across in an offbeat, skewed manner, on a consistent basis. It’s certainly not hard news. A friend keeps asking me to find out what type of coffee Stewart drinks!

So, I thought I’d follow suite and incorporate some of this style.

I’ve had a surf shop in town for quite some time. At this time of year it becomes apparent, once again, that the one-man show has its limitations.

As Dirty Harry/Clint Eastwood once said, “A man has to know his limitations.”

Generally speaking, I could use three of me in the summer and maybe one-half in the winter, with the resort economy being what it is.

The study of economics can become quite theoretical. The study of business is much more practical. Throw a bit of psychology into the mix and maybe a decent workable plan can be had.

We’ll assume a certain knowledge of surfing equipment and its vagaries. We’ll also assume a goodness of human nature.

At times, certain other activities will force me to either close for the day or alter the stated hours of business posted on the front door. We can loosely call this the honor system.

It’s pretty much like a fruit and vegetable stand on the side of a country road where payment is made by the customer.

Yes, there is no one “manning” the stand, no clerk to receive payment. There is notice as to the price of the available goods or the payment is left to the “help yourself” individual.

The shop would be open for business despite no one there to operate and manage.

Now this would require a bit of preparation on my part. I’d certainly have to clean things up and make sure everything is nicely displayed and priced.

The “honor system” assumes the honesty of the customer. This is where the goodness of human nature comes in.

Yes, I’d leave a phone number to field any questions and answer any particulars. It would probably not be a 24-hour operation, although it could be. Most likely I’d show up to “open” and “close.”

In the off hours, figuring it’s not going to be a 24/7 operation, a box of wax could be left on the front porch with payment, once again, by the honor system, just like the aforementioned fruit and vegetable stand.

Maybe the name of the shop would be changed to something like “Automatic” or “Self-Serve.” That’s it! Four S!Self Serve Surf Shop. A new concept in retail surf marketing.

Then again, another S word might have to be added, as in Sketchy. All of this would be based on the honesty of the potential customers and human nature being what it is…it might be better to give this idea some more thought.

It could offer more time in the water. That alone might make this concept really worth looking into!

— Dave Dalkiewicz is the owner of Ocean Atlantic Surf Shop in Ocean City

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