Recently, I was talking to the owner of a local shop who despaired over how rude and impatient some customers have been lately. “What people don’t understand that we had to go from 0 to 100 overnight. We are all understaffed.” Hiring and training takes time. The pandemic has also highlighted how undervalued service work is, and this has further complicated rehiring.
You may also have witnessed, or heard about, scuffles on airplanes and in restaurants. But I don’t think it’s just a staffing issue because I’m also hearing clients report decreased patience and increased irritation in social situations with friends and family.
For over a year we were told that being around other people was life threatening, so it makes sense that we may have developed an almost phobic response to each other. Add to that the astounding variety of losses and stressors suffered along the way and people are understandably more on edge.
I wonder if we have also gotten rusty at this being-around-other-people-thing. It seems probable that it’s like riding a bike, and we will quickly recover our social skills and graces, but in the meantime let’s be extra kind and patient with each other.