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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!


Ann Arbor

By Maya

I used to dream of palm trees, sandy beaches and salty air. I used to dream of being surrounded by new languages and old cultures. For as long as I can remember my mind was in love with everywhere that I was not. Despite obvious challenges, the last few months gave me the gift of falling in love with where I am. This is an ode to my home, Ann Arbor, Michigan. This is an ode to the beautiful things that we can control in a time when nothing is certain.

This summer has been a haze of confusion, a cycle of making plans and then seeing them obliterated. This was particularly painful for me, as an avid planner. I schedule everything from breakfast to an afternoon nap. Instead of immersing myself in French culture, as I had previously planned to do beginning August 1st, I have found myself immersed in Ann Arbor. It turns out I had just as much to learn here. This summer I had the opportunity to intern with a local prosecutor campaign. Not only have I learned about local politics and navigated uncharted virtual campaigning terrain, but I have explored my county. Dropping off yard signs, I discovered that not only does my county extend far beyond the bounds of what I had imagined but that these surrounding areas were stunning. Roads framed by overhanging trees casting a kaleidoscope of light below became something I looked forward to daily. Finding joy in these moments is something I can control. Once I applied the wanderlust I previously felt to my own home I began to fall in love with every moment. Following that same logic I have made it a goal to watch every sunset I can. Whether it be from the park adjacent to my house or the docks along the Huron river, this has made a huge difference in the way I have been viewing my days. I’m looking forward to making the best of the next year and discovering the most I can wherever I may be.