This weekend I had the pleasure of visiting my local favorite gardening and nursery center. It was mobbed! There were many more cars than I remembered from last year, people and cars and BIG construction trucks all operating in the same traffic lane. And the customer service assistants were running around, literally, not making eye contact, carrying on their own conversations among themselves and confused, apologetic and harried when I asked them questions. Long lines, a confusing flow to get into the check-out lines, and narrow aisles that made close contact with other mask-clad customers impossible to avoid. This was not a reassuring post socially-distant, reopening environment!
So here is my appeal.
Please add lots of big signs. We (your humble customers) need them. We are confused, we are nervous, we are trying to be hopeful (buying lots of beautiful flowers) but we need to know WHAT and HOW the new normal looks at your business. We need to know we will be safe in the traffic flow (please don’t mix people and small children and cars and big construction trucks in the same place), we need to know where to stand in line (it’s different than last year).
And please add lots of smiles, direct communication and explanations of the new normal (how many people are allowed inside your building). We need your patience and kindness in your mannerisms, in your tone of voice and in your body language (please slow down and look at me and talk kindly, not shouting, or pontificating please).
In this time, we need structure and guidance. Show me the lines, the rules, the new way of doing things. Please be patient. I want to comply, I want to adjust to the new normal. I want to feel safe in the new normal.
It’s a new time, a time for reflection, adjustment and change. Things can and will be good: colorful plants and flowering trees and healthy shrubs! But it will feel chaotic if we don’t have a new structure around the old ways.