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Don't forget servers, retail workers

Johnson City Press • May 23, 2020 at 6:00 AM

As stay-at-home orders are relaxed and we are once again able to venture out, we should give some consideration to the people who are hard at work during this outbreak trying to help us feel normal.

Retail and restaurant workers are under more stress than usual right now. There are pages of new safety practices they’ve rushed to learn to help keep patrons safe, and their jobs have only gotten more time-consuming and difficult.

Some stores are operating at half-capacity, and restaurants have fewer seats because of continued social distancing recommendations.

If you’re asked to maintain six feet from the person in front of you in line, or if the wait for a table is longer than you expected, be gracious. These people are offering you services in high-pressure environments.

Tip well. Consider tipping more than you did before. Their jobs have gotten harder, and the value of these essential workers’ services have been demonstrated.

Religious pamphlets don’t count as tips. Caring about your server’s salvation is commendable, but scraps of paper with Bible verses can’t pay the rent. Say a nice prayer for the restaurant’s staff and then leave at least 20%.

Some restaurants furloughed their employees during the state’s stay-at-home orders. Some were entitled to unemployment benefits, but the logjam from thousands of people rushing the system at once delayed some checks.

Your server may be worrying about overdue bills. They may be trying to provide for their families or paying for their education.

Grocery and hardware stores stayed open through the pandemic because they sold us the things we needed to get by. Their workers have been coming in every day, keeping your pantry stocked and your toilet flowing.

The Golden Rule is in play here, but it’s the bare minimum. Treat these people better than you expect them to treat you.

Thank them for their service. Let them know how meaningful eating out and shopping is to you and how much it helps your mental health to be able to try on a new outfit or to sit down for a meal somewhere other than in your house.

Truly appreciate your ability to enjoy their services and show them that appreciation.

A little kindness goes a long way.

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