Explaining Geocaching To Muggles
Have you ever tried to explain geocaching to a muggle? It can be anything from a new convert to the geocaching game, blank stares, or GULP, having Officer McFriendly called on you.
Here are some tips for what to do when confronted by a muggle:
1. Invent a Story
Yes, I’ve been known to spontaneously invent a story when I get asked why I’m carrying a GPS. This is when I’m not anywhere near the cache and am just starting to make my approach.
I’ve used everything from “I’m doing classified work for the government” to “I’m a geologist mapping the lake shore”.
I usually get asked this when people notice the GPS and are just being chatty.
2. Be Honest!
Yes, it might be nosy-neighbor syndrome when they come bustling out of their house asking what you’re doing lurking around that bush. But, if you’re asked straight out what you’re doing, honesty is the best policy.
Here’s what I say:
I’m geocaching! Do you know what that is? It’s basically using a GPS to find hidden containers of “treasure”. There are over 1 MILLION of these hidden world-wide. You just go to geocaching.com to look for a cache near you.
Usually, people will say “Oh, that’s nice” and it will be the end of the story. I try not to get too technical with our terms like “micro” or “travel bug” but I might show them the GPS.
3. Carry An Official Looking Business Card
On your computer, print out a business card (or small piece of paper) that explains what geocaching is. You might even want to include your geocaching name on it! Then, you can just hand it to the muggle after you explain the game. People love “official” looking documents!
You can also find pre-made up business cards online that explain geocaching. I’ll be posting a download here soon and I’ll let you know when!
4. Be Polite
Yes, it can be hard to stay polite when somebody’s giving you a hard time. But remember how weird we look poking around in the bushes!
If somebody accuses you of suspicious activity and are getting upset after you’ve explained the game of geocaching, don’t get in their face. Most people are hyper-worried about terrorists, lone gun man and other bad guys that they just won’t calm down. It’s better to stay calm and leave then to have the muggle get upset and call the police on you. Or worse!
Readers Weigh In:
- What do you say to a muggle who asks what you’re doing?
- Have you ever had a muggle get really upset with you? What did you do?
September 5, 2010 @ 3:53 pm
Most of the time whenever I come into contact with muggles I try to explain the purpose of the game without using the “techniqual” jargon. I just usually tell them: It’s like a scavenger hunt using a GPS; dumb people go out and hide stuff and dumber people like myself go out and find them and then report the finds. Most people seem to accept that explanation – especially once I use the word “dumb”; that seems to relax them some (afterall “smart” people would not be out doing this stuff). Sometimes people will be extremely interested and would ask where to go to learn more – I’ll tell them the web site.
Sometimes, when people see me with the GPS and not know what it is, they would assume that I am some type of a maintenance person. That’s how I try to act around telephone poles, light poles, buildings, etc.
If I am in a play ground that is inhabited with children, I will definately tell people what I am doing so they do not think that I am some type of pervert or child molester. Most of the time, adults and/or children will help out in the search. Most of the time I get “odd” looks from the children and the adults will help search for the cache.
One time I was searching for some caches in New Mexico and muggles kept approaching me in a hostile manner asking if I was a surveyor. I would so no and tell them What I was doing. After about 3 encounters with hostile muggles, I figured it was time to leave and vacated the area at a high rate of speed. Figured the job of “surveyor” was not a promising career endeavor in that area.
Have had police pass by and watch what I am doing and, so far, had not had any problems with them. I would just aknowledge their presence, wave, and go about my business.
September 6, 2012 @ 3:59 pm
I know this is a bit diffren, but id liek to share the story of a muggler i caught in action of taking out prizes. I figured we, as geocachers, must all know that feeling of sadness when we come across a geocache not where it should be. I today am trying to stop one muggler forever. He happened to be an everyday person who went on my bus and to shcool with me. I herd him talking about this treasure as if it was junk. I stuck up for geocaching but he didnt put it back, so now im going to write him a letter for him to find in my fake obvious “geocache” so he can think he is being tracked by the FBI.