By ESTEVAN MEDRANO
Port Isabel-South Padre Press
In spite of the persistent black skies, Spring Break activity hasn’t been overshadowed by the long stretch of damp conditions, and the enthusiasm is translating into tremendous financial gains for the City of South Padre Island. The dripping hair and running mascara caused by less than ideal Laguna Madre weather isn’t keeping down coed spirits as eager students have arrived by the thousands to enjoy this vacation period with sleeveless shirts, acid washed short shorts and a fistful of spending money. In order to meet the demand Spring Breakers have for drink, food, and novelty items, local businesses have hired on extra staff and are staying open late.
“It’s much more fast paced because usually people sit at our tables for a long time to enjoy the meal while Spring Breakers are kind of in and out and it changes the whole atmosphere of the restaurant during this two or three week period,” says Samantha Wells who has worked at Louie’s Backyard, Padre Brewing Co. and Padre Rita Grill, but is now working through March at Gabriella’s Italian Grill & Pizzeria. “It is a little bit more stressful just because you’re dealing with a group that’s a little bit more rambunctious or wild than your normal customer… It’s just faster in that way. You just have a lot more volume coming in,” she said.
Larger crowds typically bring about more eager demand, with demands for merchandise like souvenirs just as high as it is for booze and food. According to Sergio Treviño, who worked multiple years during Spring Break at Ocean Motion, a local novelty and souvenir shop, the high concentration of visitors opens the possibility of stealing and other problems.
“There’s so many people that you can’t really keep and eye on everybody which hurts with shoplifting,” says Treviño. “A lot of drunk people and indecent exposure within the area. You know, you just have a lot more chaos inside the store… Circumstances change and it makes it harder to hire more people when you’re not making the same amount of money, which means that you have the same workers doing more work which really hurts because it makes it harder to stay on top of everything,” he said.
As Texas Week winds down, things will gradually settle back to the laid back beach atmosphere locals recognize and for many employees their tenure will end along with Spring Break.
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