Commerce, Courtesy and Convenience-What America Took for Granted (and how to move forward post pandemic)
The holidays are upon us and after two years of pandemic, lock down, and supply chain shortages, it does not appear that joy will be at the top of the to do list. In fact if you are like most Black Friday and Christmas consumers, desperation and chaos will most likely lead this season’s activities as you run from store to store searching for that all important, perfect gift. That is, unless the Covid 19 pandemic has systemically changed you and taught you this: take nothing for granted and stuff has little value.
America and other nations have taken consumerism to a whole new level over the past century with shoppers waiting in long lines for a “deal” and people beating each other up over the toys and gadgets of the season and of course, big screen televisions. When I moved to Colorado 24 years ago I thought people in this region were insane. Christmas items were on shelves in AUGUST and shopping was a dangerous sport. Restaurants were overwhelmed with long lines and stores ran out of merchandise early every season. I thought these folks were the shopping-est, eating-est people on the planet. Little did I know this state was typical of most states, and countries for that matter, where people value stuff more than they do each other.
In the 20th century, customer service was the key to the success of every retailer and you were valued as a consumer. Today, that is not the case. Stores like Whole Foods, Best Buy, Walmart, Target and others no longer see a face; you are a blur in a sea of mass consumers who don’t care to say hello or even thank clerks anymore, shoppers just grab, get and get out. I am appalled on a weekly basis of how the pandemic has turned people into animals; there is no common courtesy, high expectation and Karen’s galore.
The airline industry, (though much by the hand of their own karma for overcharging and treating travelers like cattle), has become a fight club of sorts. Karma does not excuse bad behavior and it should actually curtail it, if people truly understand the laws of cause and effect.
Americans are some of the loudest often most uncouth and obnoxious human beings on the planet and Covid and Trumpism has encouraged worse behavior. With no patience or compassion for what stores and workers are experiencing, unhappy people are more demanding than ever.