My neighborhood grocery store, which once had very nice customer service, has degraded into COVID mask hysterics, and clerks now yell at shoppers for for allowing their own reusable bags touch the conveyer belt at the check out stand.
Far too many restaurants have devolved from friendly, really cool places to dine, to openly hostile with patrons – also known as “clients.”
Doctors offices are ordering patients to wait outside until they are called – in the triple digit heat of the California summer.
Fast food and chain restaurants also make patrons wait outside until the order is ready, pitting those who are fully masked and gloved, against those who love breathing fresh air out-of-doors.
The handling and politicizing of the coronavirus pandemic has made friends, neighbors and business patrons treat each other like walking contagions, while some store clerks and restaurant employees are openly hostile to people trying to live normally.
It’s as if many businesses are using the virus panic to end the time-honored tradition and business success of customer service.
One of the worst mistakes a service business can make is prioritizing company policy above the customer needs, as well as ignoring customer feedback.
Forbes reported last year that poor customer service costs businesses more than $75 billion a year.
The main reasons for customers ceasing to do business with a company should be obvious:
- Customers do not feel appreciated.
- Customers are not able to speak to a person who can provide them the answers they are looking for.
- Customers experience rude and unhelpful employees.
- Customers are being passed around to multiple people.
- Customers are put on hold for unreasonable lengths of time.
I had a run-in with a condescending and rude hostess at a favorite Sacramento restaurant recently. They already had plenty of outdoor seating before the COVID restaurant restrictions, so I assumed going there would be pleasant. I arrived and my lunch date was already seated. As I waved and started walking toward him, the hostess ordered me to put on a mask. I pointed to my friend who was maybe 15 feet away and told her he was already seated and started walking to my table. She said if I wanted to dine there, I had to put on a mask until I reached my table. Outdoors.
I told her that since I was outdoors already, there was no need to mask up, and that it was a fairly silly request. While I was pleasant and remained upbeat, it got worse from there. She made the mask demand again as I walked to my table. Minutes after I sat down, she walked up behind me and shoved a piece of paper in my face with “3-1-1” written on it, the city information hotline, and told me to call the city to familiarize myself with the mask law.
I replied that I was already very familiar with it, and noted that it is not a “law.”
This young hostess had designated herself the front line of defense for the restaurant’s mask police. I still do not know whether the restaurant management set the policy or if she did. I saw her hassle another woman who was also walking toward her already seated outdoors lunch date.
This is happening across the state in many different types of businesses and recreation areas.
Millennials and the elderly appear to be the most fearful of catching coronavirus out in public, and their fear is making them hysterically treat others like lepers or criminals, even in business settings.
Walking past people as they shriek, circle wide, and even back away, is becoming a daily occurrence. Some demand to know why not all are not wearing a mask – outside. When confronted, I’ve replied that I like breathing clean oxygen outdoors. If that is met with a finger-wave and the beginnings of a lecture, I’ve resorted to telling the righteous lecturer that if they are so fearful they might want to consider remaining at home and having groceries delivered.
And, if masks work, then their mask should protect them from those not wearing masks.
Many medical office clerks have also stooped to new lows, treating patients like infected swine, ordering them to wait outside in the parking lot. Many of the patients are elderly and in poor health, and not only cannot stand around for indefinite periods of time, but it is summer and is hot in many places. These doctors offices could remove half of the waiting room seating, schedule patients out a little more, and even put people in waiting rooms, rather than kicking them out of the office to wait.
“Covid has given every marginal health care professional (the ones who got in it for respectability and not service), a means to scold everyone else for not doing exactly as they say,” a friend reported.
Patrons and clients might not report a bad experience with a business, but you can bet that they will tell family members, their friends, co-workers – and total strangers.
I speak with people wherever I go, with most reporting the same observations. Even other employees at the places of business I’ve experienced COVID hysteria at say that cannot believe what has happened to their co-workers.
I recently wrote an email to the restaurant letting them politely know about my experience with their condescending and righteous hostess. I don’t expect a reply, but they needed to know. I expressed empathy with how difficult it must be right now trying to run a business, and still comply with the state and county COVID-19 orders, but that is no excuse for any employee to treat customers so poorly.
As Forbes explains, “Satisfied customers aren’t the same as loyal customers. Satisfactory is a rating. Loyalty is an emotion.”
As for mandatory face masks, here is the county/state’s “Guidance:”
“People in California must wear face coverings when they are in the high-risk situations listed below:
- Inside of, or in line to enter, any indoor public space; (1)
• Obtaining services from the healthcare sector in settings including, but not limited to, a hospital, pharmacy, medical clinic, laboratory, physician or dental office, veterinary clinic, or blood bank;(2)
• Waiting for or riding on public transportation or paratransit or while in a taxi, private car service, or ride-sharing vehicle;
• Engaged in work, whether at the workplace or performing work off-site, when:
• Interacting in-person with any member of the public;
• Working in any space visited by members of the public, regardless of whether anyone from the public is present at the time;
(1) Unless exempted by state guidelines for specific public settings; (2) Unless directed otherwise by an employee or healthcare provider.”
This is just a “guidance” for businesses, as long as they want their business licenses. As one California Globe reader quipped, “Previously the mask-nagging seemed to be mostly scaremongering propaganda. Now I think that being surrounded by self-righteous snitches who swallow the mask propaganda hook, line, and sinker is meant to dispirit informed, common-sense people who know the masks don’t work but are made to wear them anyway as the price of admission.”
You can read the rest of the County “guidance” HERE.
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