Beach stand workers give O.C. visitors a boost

You're heading out to the shore and you forgot your beach chair. No need to worry because help is already on location at your street's beach stand.

These friendly folks are there to help visitors enjoy their stay by providing daily rental of beach chairs for around $6, umbrellas for around $16 and a few even offer body boards for a small fee.

For some this job might be only a one-summer gig, but many guys and gals are veterans in the beach-stand game and really enjoy what they do.

"It is nice to sit on the beach and enjoy yourself all day," said local Ocean City resident and long time beach stand worker Sophie Townsend. "But it's still your job to make sure other people get to enjoy themselves. It takes a little bit of the fun away from enjoying the beach but it's worth it."

For beach stand workers, a normal day starts roughly at 7:30 a.m. and doesn't end until 5 p.m. However, the job isn't done yet for these beach standers, who finish their day by collecting all the rented chairs and umbrellas as well as cleaning up the beach.

For long time beach stand workers, seeing their fair share of weird visitors and strange situations is not out of the ordinary.

"Sometimes people will ask ridiculous questions such as: 'What time does the dolphin show start?', 'Is that the bay or the ocean?', 'How late is the beach open?,' 'Is this the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean?', 'What time do they let the sharks out?' - the list goes on and on," said Townsend, whose sister Anna and brother Jack have also spent summers working beach stands. (Jack currently is holding down the fort at Castle in the Sand Hotel's beach stand for the 2012 season.)

Overall, Townsend said the experience of working stands is a great one and one that she has enjoyed doing off and on for the past seven years.

As far as advice for customers, Townsend said: "If I could say anything to the customer, I would say that tips are always appreciated and remembered."

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