Welcome to Jersey: Differences Between a Shoobie and a Benny
Depending on where you call home in New Jersey, you've probably hear the terms "Shoobie" or "Benny" every summer.
Both are, well, rather derogatory terms referring to vacationers. Vacationers are, of course, a mixed blessing to our coasts. They bring in revenue, but they also bring traffic - and dare we say it - sometimes some rudeness.
Let's start south and work our way up.
The term "Shoobie" was first used in the late 1800s to describe people who took the train from Philadelphia, with their ticket price including a lunch, packed in a shoe box, according to Wikipedia. It later became synonymous with anyone who came to the South Jersey beaches and packed a lunch.
Wikipedia says, "Either way, these daytrippers deprived local businesses of the revenue the tourists would have spent on food. Homeowners (whether year-round or seasonal) often walk to the beach barefoot or remove their shoes immediately upon reaching the sand."
Wikipedia says that while the term originated in South Jersey, it's also used in Delaware and in coastal towns in Southern California.
"Shoobie" seems to be used in Cape May, Atlantic, and parts of Ocean Counties. From about mid-Ocean County through Monmouth County, the word "Benny" kicks in.
According to Wikipedia, "Benny" "is a pejorative term used by year-round residents of the Jersey Shore to describe stereo-typically rude, flashy, loud tourists from North Jersey and New York."
As far as the origin of "Benny": "One common theory says the term originates from an acronym that was stamped on the beachgoers' train tickets, representing the city in which they boarded the train to the Jersey Shore: Bayonne, Elizabeth, Newark, and New York City. The term "Benny" may also originate from the early 20th century practice of wealthy New Yorkers taking trips to the Jersey Shore as treatment for myriad maladies such as anemia, hemophilia, and hysteria. These therapeutic trips were called "beneficials" by doctors and patients. Often, visitors would claim to be at the Jersey Shore on a "beneficial", hence the term Benny. "Benny" refers to Ben Franklin, whose picture is on the $100 bill. Still another theory refers to off-shore boat racing during the 1970s sponsored by the restaurant chain 'Benihana's'."
Again, whatever you call them, Shoobies and Bennies bring pluses and minuses.