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P. 771: Onsite employee housing under construction at Dollywood

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^ Having two inverted coasters with no inversions would just be silly. Nevermind that they would be right next to each other as well. Wouldn't make sense.

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The way Dollywood has set up the single rider line for Lightning Rod is really great if you are willing to use it. I don't remember it being that way in 2019, the last time I visited the park, but I was able to lap Lightning Rod at will over the past 2 days.  Crowds were light on Friday. Park was busier on Saturday but not as busy as I was expecting for a Holiday Weekend. 

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On 6/17/2021 at 3:09 AM, TEDodd said:

Where do you suggest they get employees. Close rides to put bodies in food servIce?

I'm sure they hire anyone that applies right now.

Per the wait time site, WE tried to run Fri (10:00-10:30) but otherwise down since. It did run all day last Thu though. 

Dollywood needs to up their pay. Cedar Point upped their pay to $20 an hour. Dollywood needs to do the same. There's nothing worse than a theme park being understaffed. I also find it laughable that people are listening to the Dippin' Dots girl for new coaster information.

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9 hours ago, u4icmusic said:

 I also find it laughable that people are listening to the Dippin' Dots girl for new coaster information.

Annie Potts GIF by Ghostbusters

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On 7/10/2021 at 6:08 AM, u4icmusic said:

Dollywood needs to up their pay. Cedar Point upped their pay to $20 an hour. Dollywood needs to do the same. There's nothing worse than a theme park being understaffed. I also find it laughable that people are listening to the Dippin' Dots girl for new coaster information.

Do they? Every park was struggling a month ago. How are they faring now?

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12 hours ago, prozach626 said:

Do they? Every park was struggling a month ago. How are they faring now?

I was there Sunday. There were still several restaurants closed with signs on them that said, "closed due to the current staffing situation." They are also having job fairs over the next two weeks. Their pay is between $10 and $11 per hour. You can get more than that almost anywhere else right now.

2 upcoming job fairs:

Wednesday, July 21 | 2 - 6pm at Dollywood's DreamMore Resort & Spa

Monday, July 26 | 2 - 6pm at Dollywood's DreamMore Resort & Spa

What's also odd is that people that I've seen working there for years are no longer there. I'm sure part of that was people not wanting to work during Covid, especially since a large part of their staff was older. The new staff is much younger now and not as friendly either. We had a blast, but it was so hot out on Sunday that we couldn't stay all day to see the fireworks and drone show, which everyone is raving about.

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On 7/10/2021 at 7:08 AM, u4icmusic said:

Dollywood needs to up their pay. Cedar Point upped their pay to $20 an hour. Dollywood needs to do the same. There's nothing worse than a theme park being understaffed. I also find it laughable that people are listening to the Dippin' Dots girl for new coaster information.

$20/hr for that sort of unskilled labor?
Might entice a few but then ticket and food prices will increase a lot to cover such high labor costs.

The problem with the government paying more to sit at home and do nothing.
At one point here it was equal to $15/hr for a 40hr week (more if you include taxes which generally wasn't deducted), For part time people with only 30 hrs it was like $20.

$20/hr is more than my son makes as a mechanic for the city (not unskilled labor).

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There's no such thing as unskilled labour. Every job requires skills. Customer service is a skill like any other, and the above lamenting of the longtime employees not coming back tells you exactly how important customer service skills are.

 

And your assertion that unemployment payments were the thing that was keeping people from accepting work is belied by the labour force participation rate not increasing in the states that removed the federal unemployment benefits.

https://www.epi.org/blog/there-is-no-justification-for-cutting-federal-unemployment-benefits-the-latest-state-jobs-data-show-the-economy-has-not-fully-recovered/

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I will GLADLY pay more for a meal at a theme park if it means that the staffing is at a level where the line to get said food is not an hour + line.

if Dollywood really is only paying $10-$12 an hour for their employees?  yeah, they need to up the pay, immediately.

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21 minutes ago, bert425 said:

I will GLADLY pay more for a meal at a theme park if it means that the staffing is at a level where the line to get said food is not an hour + line.

if Dollywood really is only paying $10-$12 an hour for their employees?  yeah, they need to up the pay, immediately.

Yes! And if the boss doesn't want to do that, well, we know what to do.

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcR5W6_MVZ_RPBbty31wTuW

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Off topic on a lighter note a Storm Chaser friend of mine unveiled his new license plate today which I pointed out to him that it fittingly matches a certain popular rollercoaster at Dollywood. He loved it and laughed.

217568766_10159566696088410_1618182052422748642_n.jpg

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2 hours ago, ytterbiumanalyst said:

And your assertion that unemployment payments were the thing that was keeping people from accepting work is belied by the labour force participation rate not increasing in the states that removed the federal unemployment benefits.

https://www.epi.org/blog/there-is-no-justification-for-cutting-federal-unemployment-benefits-the-latest-state-jobs-data-show-the-economy-has-not-fully-recovered/

If it's say, $100 a week plus the 300 federal = 400, that's equal to Dollywood's starting $10 an hour and at $12 that's $2 an hour over staying home, not counting expenses. There may be people higher up the pay scale that can't get anything suitable, but for theme park employees how can it not be relevant? 

That article says Tennessee is one of the states cutting benefits, so we'll be finding out. This has been going on for long enough I think they should have been able to figure out how much people actually need and isn't giving them a raise. I worked all last year, in person, for less, so not sympathetic.

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22 hours ago, TEDodd said:

$20/hr for that sort of unskilled labor?
Might entice a few but then ticket and food prices will increase a lot to cover such high labor costs.

The problem with the government paying more to sit at home and do nothing.
At one point here it was equal to $15/hr for a 40hr week (more if you include taxes which generally wasn't deducted), For part time people with only 30 hrs it was like $20.

$20/hr is more than my son makes as a mechanic for the city (not unskilled labor).

Let me tell you what is happening now at Dollywood, most likely because the pay is only $10-$12 an hour. The staff is very young, they are untrained, unfriendly and sometimes downright rude. The two new people working on Drop Line are a prime example of who should NOT be on the Dollywood staff, at least in a position that deals with the public. They are both rude, never smile and act like they don't want to be there. There should be a supervisor walking around and correcting these issues instead of letting these two "kids" make such poor examples of Dollywood employees. Chik Fil-a, right down the street, is staring people out at $15 an hour and Cedar Point is starting people off at $20 an hour without raising any prices other than typical annual price increases we see everywhere. And so what if they have to raise prices. People don't want to wait in line 30 minutes for a drink refill or an hour for a hot dog. Adding 25 cents to the price to get more staff at a restaurant would be worth it to most people. People are not taking low paying jobs anymore when they can go down the street and find one that pays more. Dollywood is raking in the cash and they surely can afford to pay their employees a living wage.

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In the states where they terminated the UI, there's not any evidence yet of improvements in labor availability. Old people who were on the cusp of retiring or working part time are done now (or more pessimistically, dead). There's few foreign visa employees because of restrictions for entry and those that are here are arriving very late. The labor shortage in the US has been reported about with frequency in the United States since at least 2014 if not prior. It simply was able to be glossed over for most. Not any more.

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1 hour ago, DirkFunk said:

In the states where they terminated the UI, there's not any evidence yet of improvements in labor availability. 

Mainly because the effects are just starting to be felt. Sure they announced the terminations in May and June, but most weren't effective until July. Tennessee announced in mid May with an effective date of July 3. So it's barely been a week. Here in Alabama the effective date was June 19. 

And that was only the federal $300 extra. Regular unemployment continues, though they have started requiring reporting again. Hopefully they add back the requirements to show you are actually applying for jobs.


Beyond that, most teens don't appear to interested in working and that was the case pre-pandemic.
Even fast food places were staffed with a lot of older people instead of the teens that were the norm when I was a teen in the 80s.  My kids peers don't generally don't work nor want to. Both 10 years ago when my soon was a teen or now when my daughter is one. And a lot of his peers still don't have long term employment. They bounce around changing jobs all the time, seldom staying at one place for more than a year.

 

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If we're going to argue about minimum wage, can we at least throw in some COVID safety arguments, too? I long for all of this. If only we could find a way to add abortion and gun right debates into the mix. We can make it relevant, because one correlates to the amount of potential customers, and related to the christianity undertones throughout the park, and the other is related to park safety. 

Who's up for some international tariff arguments, since it may be related to the cost of building materials?

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2 hours ago, u4icmusic said:

Chik Fil-a, right down the street, is staring people out at $15 an hour and Cedar Point is starting people off at $20 an hour without raising any prices other than typical annual price increases we see everywhere. And so what if they have to raise prices. 

Yet. Right now they are just trying to stay operational. We haven't seen the effects of the higher wages yet. If they raise prices much right now they will loose customers.

But just like in the past with increases in minimum wage it takes a while for the effects to be felt. But every time it's been increased in my lifetime the result was the same. Within a year prices increased such that the buying power stayed the same for those that were making minimum. And those that were in the gap between the old and new minimum saw buying power reduced to match those at minimum. And those slightly above minimum saw a reduction in buying power.

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14 hours ago, sdcfan88 said:

Off topic on a lighter note a Storm Chaser friend of mine unveiled his new license plate today which I pointed out to him that it fittingly matches a certain popular rollercoaster at Dollywood. He loved it and laughed.

That's a pretty neat coincidence!  Too bad Blount County isn't called Dollywood County, it would fit even more then!

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18 hours ago, ytterbiumanalyst said:

There's no such thing as unskilled labour. Every job requires skills.

You know exactly what that term means. Specialized skills above the general level with specific training and experience.

Changing the oil in a car is unskilled. And random person can be quickly taught how to do it.
Rebuilding a car engine is not something you can teach in a week.

Any random person can make burgers food restaurant. That doesn't mean they are a Michelin star chef.

Most can drive a car, that doesn't mean they can safely operate a semi-truck.
 

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1 hour ago, TEDodd said:

Beyond that, most teens don't appear to interested in working and that was the case pre-pandemic.
Even fast food places were staffed with a lot of older people instead of the teens that were the norm when I was a teen in the 80s.  My kids peers don't generally don't work nor want to. Both 10 years ago when my soon was a teen or now when my daughter is one. And a lot of his peers still don't have long term employment. They bounce around changing jobs all the time, seldom staying at one place for more than a year.

 

Why would teens want to work at a fast food restaurant or a theme park for pennies? Doesn't make sense vs. investing their time in academic or athletic pursuits that are likely to result in much greater returns through college scholarships/admissions. Besides, can't just rely on 14-17 year olds to make Taco Bell food or ring up groceries at 1AM on Tuesday nights. So hours are shortened and more like they were 20-30 years ago. 

Also LOL yeah I bounced around a little when I was younger doing minimum wage jobs. That's what's supposed to happen, isn't it? 

 

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1 minute ago, DirkFunk said:

Why would teens want to work at a fast food restaurant or a theme park for pennies? Doesn't make sense vs. investing their time in academic or athletic pursuits that are likely to result in much greater returns through college scholarships/admissions. 

Also LOL yeah I bounced around a little when I was younger doing minimum wage jobs. That's what's supposed to happen, isn't it? 

Money for gas, to go to movies and such with friends, buy clothing your parents won't, buy video games, All the same reasons most teens worked 30-40 years. We didn't have too, but wanted the money to do/buy stuff. I was buying concert tickets, records/tapes, car audio, etc.

At least my kids peers aren't/weren't investing in anything that would help their future. Video games and consuming social media. 

As for bouncing around, maybe in high school and college. A year+ at a steak house, about that long at a grocery store, then a technical job in college for a few years ($10/hr for part time work in the 90s). I started my first post college job at 25 and stayed there 12 years. I'd probably still be there if they had not closed the location I was at.
 

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As a just retired teacher and parent of an 18 year old that has worked at SFSTL for the last three seasons I can tell you that teens working traditional teen or summer jobs has been on the decline for a long time, the pandemic just exacerbated it. The parks were already having trouble filling spots before the virus hit. Many suburban teens are being pushed to spend summers doing extra classes and unpaid internships, in my opinion to their detriment, in order to beef up college admission resumes. Unfortunately, they are missing out on real world skills that no amount of extra classes can give you. But it has become a bit of a "looked down upon thing" to work that summer type job a lot of us did as kids. I actually had parents in my neighborhood quite shocked that I was "allowing" my son to work. Crazy. I don't think a lot of them can see that we are raising a lot of people that look good on paper but cannot handle day to day challenges. And for some dumb reason they cannot seem to make the connection of continual school/too many activities with the fact that we had two successful suicides and and multiple attempts at our very well off, large suburban high school.

On the other hand students in very poor areas, with few job opportunities, that could really use the money; have a very difficult time actually getting to the park. Let's face it, parks in large metro areas are not usually near the more inner city neighborhoods. I worked in a very poor district but it is easily a 40-50 min one way drive to the park IF you don't hit traffic. Not feasible for most. SFSTL has a bus that brings employees from one of the metrolink stops in a disadvantaged neighborhood to the park BUT not only is it a hell of a long ride, the employees have to pay for it which cuts down on their paycheck.

I know that is a long winded answer but the changing morays of teen life and the realities of the economic divide all affect staffing at the parks. Would a pay raise help? Sure. Somewhat, they did raise the pay a bit here, but the problem is too complicated to be solved that easily.

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