We all know how tragic the Covid-19 pandemic has been, both personally and professionally, for so many people. Hopefully, we will never have to go through something like this again in our lifetimes.
But among the many unintended consequences that have resulted from the pandemic conditions of the past two-plus years is the way some businesses have used them as an excuse for what can only be called bad business behavior.
I’m talking about the hotels that have eliminated housekeeping services, blaming labor shortages or cleanliness procedures, when the hotel across the street is operating just the way it did before the pandemic.
I’m talking about car rental companies charging exorbitant fees, and claiming fleet reductions yet, when you go on their lot, see as many cars sitting there as ever.
I’m talking about telephone customer service lines across a broad swath of the American business landscape where the time on hold is measured in hours rather than the more acceptable minutes.
And I’m talking about fast food places where you can only order on the app, even when you go inside the open restaurant and there are people behind the counter standing around able and willing to take your order. (I wouldn’t have believed this last one if I hadn’t experienced it myself. Needless to say, I walked out of there and went to the place next store that was conducting business as usual.)
We’re seeing some of this same behavior in the retail trade, but frankly, it is holding up better than most. But surely there are stores out there using the pandemic as an excuse to eliminate staffing, reduce hours, and generally cut corners wherever they can.
I get the labor shortages and the cost increases in just about everything. And like most Americans, I have been patient, tolerant, and sympathetic to businesses coping with all of it. But I think we’re seeing a threshold being crossed where folks are just taking advantage of things.
You can’t prove anything and maybe some good people are getting caught up in all of this, but for the rest of the people abusing a bad situation and making it worse, there’s only one remedy: stop giving them your business.
Award-winning Journalist & Consultant for the retailing and home furnishings industries with extensive business media experience in both fields.