Do grey nomads really steal van park toilet rolls?

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Do van parks need to 'grey nomad proof' their toilet tolls?

Australia’s grey nomads are generally famed for their friendliness, their adventurous spirit, and for the economic boost they give rural communities … but there is a flip side to the equation.

Apart from the well-worn jokes about slow-moving grey nomads clogging up the highways, there are some who have also labelled Australia’s older travellers as ‘whingers’ and – heaven forbid – ‘penny pinchers’. Even worse, in some quarters, grey nomads are being labelled as nothing less than sneaky thieves.

Earlier this year, huge publicity was given to a fruit and vege stall holder in Roma, Queensland, who claimed a grey nomad stole tomatoes from him. And there are constant stories circling about nomads who take soap from the amenities block soap dispenser to put into their own smaller containers, or who – for some unspecified reason – steal the plugs from sinks. Toilet rolls apparently disappear with alarming regularity and there are even stories of cistern floats being snatched for use in grey nomad crab pots.

Free camping grey nomads are certainly not above suspicion either. They regularly stand accused of such acts as sneaking into van parks for a free shower, or filling up with water from other people’s tanks.

However, it seems that long-term caravanners and motorhomers are not the only travellers standing in the dock for ‘souveniring’ … or who have a guilty secret.

In a new TripAdvisor survey, two-thirds of Aussie holidaymakers admitted to stealing items from hotel rooms.

The international survey of more than 19,000 guests found some 45% of guests confessed to taking toiletries, 22% to taking tea and coffee, and 21% to walking off with stationery supplies.

The survey found that hotel towels and coat hangers also regularly found their way homes of guests. Other items stolen included batteries from the remote controls, ashtrays and light bulbs!

Are grey nomads worse ‘thieves’ than anyone else? Is van park soap fair game? Have you ever ‘pinched’ the odd minor item from a caravan park? Have you seen others doing the wrong thing? Comment below.

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19 Responses to Do grey nomads really steal van park toilet rolls?

  1. Have I ever pinched something from a caravan park? I once took a magazine from a park laundry. I have pilfered a few small wrapped soap bars from hotels and any extra tea bags and coffee sachets that I didn’t use.

    • Well,technically, it is not pilfering. You paid for the soap in the hotel so you actually own it :o)

  2. Its not just the Nomads that are doing this its the backpackers as well they tend to do this more so, I have seen quite a bit happening by the backpackers while travelling in the past 12 months. The backpackers should be looked at more closely than the nomads.

  3. we owned a small budget motel in Busselton for a few years and found toilet rolls to be the item most guests seemed to take, not only the spare but the one on the holder as well. Some people would come to the office just before they were checking out and ask for another . Asking for extra coffee to make a thermos for the road, was another. We had dark green towels and bath mats and found we only lost about a dozen in 6 years. most of these were older people.

  4. We are presently long term stayers due to injury, in a caravan park near Mandurah WA. We use the park ablutions and have found that a small minority of people and backpackers who also use this park, and not all are grey nomads, constantly steal toilet rolls, liquid soap from the dispensers and some even steal underwear and clothing off washing lines. The park managers have replaced toilet roll holders with sealed units so rolls cannot be removed. The soap dispensers are only filled with a very small amount of liquid soap every day.
    The people who steal these items make it very hard for people like us, who are grey nomads on a pension, to stay in parks, without paying enormous fees. The group of long term stayers in this park look after our sites by mowing lawns, weeding, watering and tidying, and also act as part time security by reporting people who steal and disrepect the amenities. We do not get paid for this but we all wish to live a happy and contented life without the annoyance of what I would identify as Feral travellers. The park respects and appreciates our efforts.
    So anyone out there who is looking to come and stay in or near Mandurah do not steal or you will be reported most of the time.

  5. We are Grey Nomads and have been for 13 years in all that time we have not taken a thing from anywhere, we have noticed back packers pilfering things also going to the toilet without burying it, in free camping areas, and someone stole the shower head from the free showers supplied for tourists at Tinaroo in Qld and also in St Helens Tasmania, these are supplied for travellers and tourists and through the rotten mongrels have or will be lost,

  6. I have heard of groups of grey nomads who travel separately, but occasionally meet up somewhere. The story goes that they have an ongoing competition for who has stolen the most toilet rolls since they last met. They must produce the rolls as evidence. If this story is true, they are placing all travellers under suspician.

  7. Now who would bother stealing their toilet rolls. They are the thinnest ply and of the cheapest quality they can find. I often take my own now!!

  8. We stayed at a small community park in NSW for a tiny fee of $10 for a powered site with water, and clean amenities. The caretaker told us that grey nomads in big rigs had stolen the sink plugs – apparently they paint them with the name of the town and display them on their souvenir wall at home. Also the shower curtains which she had paid for herself were taken.
    We have been told of grey nomads stealing toilet rolls – some even take the cordless drill to the loo and quickly wind up the toilet roll onto the drill.
    It is so disheartening when supposedly mature adults engage in this kind of behaviour and spoil it for everyone.

    • My hubby and I have heard a host of Winnebago owners bragging about how many toilet rolls they have pinched with power drills. Ironically these were the very same pretentious butt wipes that looked down their noses at us for not owning the $400,000 plus motorhomes they did. We’re in a Bedford bus, happy as larks and not pathetic people who have to stoop so low. Most grey nomads are honest yet these morons give us a bad name.

  9. Ok Grey Nomads we had better come clean,,, so to speak. Grey Nomads are guilty of the JFK assassination, we caused the 1950’s great depression, the recent GFC. I’m pretty sure we are responsible for global warming and that idiot that drives in front of you others at times. In fact we steal, beg and borrow our way around Australia in gangs that are akin to outlaw bikie clubs. In reality we have what everyone wants the freedom and means to travel this great land as and when we please. if you can’t join us beat us.

  10. Unfortunately, it seems the majority of Grey Nomads are being unfairly tarred with the same brush as a handful of ratbags. Most of us take great pride in our independence,which means we don’t have to steal to get by. Few of us would be rich, but we pay our way. Sadly, people are too quick to generalise.

  11. We witnessed a group of Winnie motorhome club members on their way to Tasmania for a Rally, hold the fireside meeting, to score the number of toilet rolls they had acquired. We were disgusted that “older responsible” members of our society, condone such behavior.
    A van park owner tells us, that he caught one guy with a cordless drill winding the paper off the roll. Now that is desperate…
    As most public toilets now only use 1 ply paper, why would you want to steal it anyway?

  12. It all ages, race and creed and, yes, I have also taken the soap in the hotel room. But there are more of us Grey Nomads so I suppose we will get all the blame. I have yet to meet a Grey Nomad who has sneaked into a caravan park for a shower! We are mostly self contained and prefer our own shower. Grey Nomads also get tarred with the label of messing up the free camps sites and I also dispute this. We belong to the ‘Leave No Trace’ Scheme’ and recently cleaned up a campsite. Now, you can’t tell me that Grey Nomads are leaving dirty kids diapers behind!

  13. While there may be a few grey nomads that steal from parks, we use to manage a park and found the most trouble we had was with young international people who try often to sneak in and use amenities, laundry and camp kitchens (& leave them in a mess) We even caught some young French guys stealing our campers food in the camp kitchen. I didn’t tolerate theft of any kind or by any person regardless of age so we evicted them from the park and notify the police. People who do this are only making parks increase fees and then they complain about the cost. I now travel the road and if we stay in a park we will do the right thing for the benefit of all other campers. There still are the few greyies who don’t care about others and they need a wake up call also. We also found the worst of these grey nomads are the ones with the biggest flashest caravans and motorhomes who complain about costs and then steal. Most parks will let people use amenities etc for a small fee to cover the costs of supply and cleaning.

  14. in my and my families experience it seems all types of people take bits and pieces from motels. caravan parks. and anyplace really, even just public toilets. what’s old saying it takes all kinds of people.

  15. My husband and I have a Winnebago Motorhome that we live in full time and travel Australia and we have never stolen toilet rolls or anything like that we have noticed that a lot of the time it is the backpackers we stayed in a caravan park in the West and we actually saw some backpackers drive in and use the showers and toilets and then drove off again so a lot of times Nomads get the blame.

  16. Never stolen anything in parks or free camps but yes I have known of other nomads stealing from the fellow traveller. It is a low act especially knowing that person who stole your belongings is sitting across the table from you in the Camp Kitchen yet not knowing which one. Had my clothes basket stolen in a showground camp. Didn’t like it anyhow but what hurt me was someone could do that. Remember we are travelling but so are thieves. Never ever had a problem with backpackers but have given them food to begin their next journey and have always been shown the utmost respect and shown how grateful they are, More than I can say for many Nomads we have parked next to I may add

  17. Saw an overseas tourist in a Whizbang with one of those large toilet tissue rolls in the back of his van, they must have pinched it. Me? sorry but the quality of toilet tissue in parks is so poor that it isn’t worth pinching when we can buy a years supply of good stuff at the supermarket for a modest cost. But I must admit, the unused tea bag in a motel room is fair game.

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