Are You Sick of People Too?

Photo by Ryan Franco on Unsplash

You’ve seen them everywhere, those signs that basically say, “We’re short staffed, please be nice to our employees.” You see them in restaurants, hotels, and even hospitals.

I’m not here to get into the politics of why employers are struggling to hire, whether you think it’s because of the unemployment stimulus payments, or because employers need to start offering living wages, or because people can’t find child care.

Instead, this is about how mean people have become, how entitled, how impatient. Everyone has heard the stories about how someone lost their shit because the vinaigrette came on the salad instead of on the side. Or the people who scream at restaurant employees because there is not a table right away. Overloaded hospitals hear tantrums from friends and family of loved ones on why THEIR sick parent should get treatment before anyone else.

Why have people become this way?

When the case numbers started coming down in the spring, people were getting out again, were seeing friends they haven’t seen in over a year. For most, seeing loved ones was a joyous occasion. For others, they came out of their homes mad at the world for keeping them cooped up for so long, like it was personal.

They started demanding service that had been denied them for over a year.

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

I work in a retail store, and the last year has been astounding because of the vast number of stupid and angry questions we have heard over and over, and that we’re still hearing. Why do I have to wait to go in? Why are the shelves so empty? Why don’t you have any appointments? Why can’t you hire more people?

BECAUSE THERE’S A PANDEMIC THAT’S NOT OVER.

Why is my food taking so long? Why don’t you have more tables? Why am I being forced to wait? Why is your menu so limited? Why are you open shorter hours?

BECAUSE THERE’S A PANDEMIC THAT’S NOT OVER.

Why is shipping taking so long? Why does the website show so many out of stock items? Why is everything more expensive? Why, why, WHY?

Now, bad customer behavior is nothing new, just ask anyone in hospitality and retail, and it’s part of the reason some places are now desperate to hire.

A great number of people had a chance to really think about how they wanted to make a living from here on out, and millions decided serving customers who felt entitled was not the answer. So those workers may not be coming back, even for more money.

And the ones that stayed are not happy either.

They had to make up for those missing, which meant longer hours and a lot more work. So it’s a breaking point for everybody. Employees are struggling to put on a smile for you while you’re being unreasonable because THERE’S A PANDEMIC THAT’S NOT OVER.

Think about this really hard: Do you really want to piss off people who are handling your food? Do you really expect better service from someone you’re yelling at?

Back off, people.

You being able to now flash money around because you didn’t have work expenses (commute, lunch) for over a year does NOT give you the right to abuse anyone.

So how do we fix this?

How do we go back to being civil, let alone nice?

It’s possible we can’t, that the divide in America is way too vast.

Remember when we all complained about being stuck at home all the time? Don’t be surprised that people are now thinking those were the GOOD times, and that given the opportunity to stay in their nest, with the doors locked and the blinds down, they will. Just don’t yell at the delivery people.

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Podcast and broadcast consultant. VoiceOver Pro. Writer. Presenter.

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George “Ace” Acevedo

George “Ace” Acevedo

Podcast and broadcast consultant. VoiceOver Pro. Writer. Presenter.

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