As someone who has looked for a new job more than once during a pandemic, let me tell you, it is stressful and hard. The jobs I found during my search were mostly geared toward working with the public. As much as I would love to work remotely, I needed to be realistic. So, currently, I am working at a restaurant.
I love my co-workers and staff, but there is something that always gets in the way of me being content with where I am employed: namely, the customers.
I am not saying all customers are bad. Some are kind and treat us with some degree of human decency, but then there are others who make my job immeasurably uncomfortable.
There are many regulations put into place in El Paso County, such as limited capacity and the requirement of masks for everyone inside, and sometimes customers make the decision to not uphold these regulations.
The worst part is that I cannot control the regulations, but I do have to enforce them. Customers that are twice my age do not like being told that they must wear a mask, or they have to wait outside for their order. They choose to be unpleasant or yell at me as if I have a say in the policies and it’s my fault.
This is not just my reality; many other retail workers face these same challenges. Those working in service industry jobs, others like me who need some source of income, are facing rude and disagreeable people.
I understand that we are in a pandemic and many are undergoing stress, but this is not an excuse to harass people who are trying to support themselves or their families.
On top of the unpleasant experiences some customers may bring, there is also the stress of another lockdown. Not only are people worried in their current situations, but they also fear losing their jobs in the future.
With all these factors in mind, there are many steps that can be taken to ensure that you are making others comfortable in a public setting. For example, if there is a sign that says masks must be worn inside, then wear a mask inside. That means if you are going to a sit-down restaurant, any place that is not your table, you should be wearing a mask. Yes, this includes the bathroom.
If you feel like going above and beyond, wear a mask when you are talking to your server. It is not required, but it is a sign of respect for others around you.
Lastly, though not pandemic-related, please tip the servers and workers. People are working hard to ensure you have a good experience, a task made even harder in a pandemic, so make sure you are also being kind and giving back. And if you cannot afford to tip, please take that into consideration before choosing to eat out.