Customer Service in a Pandemic

By Maya

Treat customer service workers like human beings. While this is always applicable, it takes on a new meaning in the midst of a pandemic. Now, it means the lives of the workers and their families are worth no more than the minimum wage. Unfortunately, this truth seems to have been lost on much of the public.

This summer, I have been working at a locally owned ice cream shop in the middle of a college town. Parking was expensive, I made most of my wage from tips and I was constantly putting myself and my family at risk. Due to the economic challenges presented by the pandemic, which were amplified for a business that relies on the presence of college students, we got no hazard pay. In the small shop it was impossible to distance myself from coworkers, whose lives and social responsibilities I had no control over. Not to say that I hated my job. There were many positives including the friendships formed with my coworkers and of course the free ice cream. However, every shift involved asking customers to wear their mask or stand 6ft apart. Both of these often ended in an argument despite the statewide mask mandate.

This shines a light on the flaws in public health policy and management on both the macro and micro levels. As well as the politicization of the issues. I am very interested in exploring these issues in depth and paying attention to the way it plays out in the future.

I hope that as the pandemic progresses that people pay extra attention to those who make the few things we can still do possible. Ideally more people will understand that the mask is less for you and more for the person behind the counter who has served 200 people today. So mask up Blue Devils!