I received a very disappointing email yesterday. I mean, in the scheme of the global crisis we’re facing, it’s a nit but it was disappointing nevertheless. It came from Ticketmaster letting me know that one of the shows to which I had tickets was being canceled. I’ve had several postponed already but this one was now completely off the board. Boo.
The show was Journey and the opening act was The Pretenders. Now before you comment on my musical taste being stuck somewhere in the late 1980s, let me say that I saw Journey a year or so ago (with Def Leppard) and it was a phenomenal show. I’ve not seen The Pretenders in probably close to 30 years and being able to hear them live again was a huge bonus. Maybe next summer.
It did get me thinking about a Journey song, however, that I think is a good reminder to us all these days. It’s called “Be Good To Yourself” and it starts out describing a situation many of us might be in as we’re staying home and trying to work (or find work) as best we can:
Running out of self-control
Getting close to an overload
Up against a no-win situation
Here’s the video – I picked one that features Steve Perry singing and check out Randy Jackson’s haircut!
The song reminds us to be good to ourselves. I forget to do that sometimes and maybe you do too. Maybe you put a lot of pressure on yourself to be as productive as you were before all of this. That’s crazy talk. No one should expect themselves to be superhuman and deliver the same 100% rate of output during a global pandemic and a lockdown.
We all have worries during this time. Maybe it’s a fear of getting sick. Maybe it’s even more real than that prospect because you’ve lost your job and are depleting your savings. Maybe your health insurance is ending because you’re unemployed. When we have issues that lie at the base of Maslow’s hierarchy, there is no question that we put pressure on ourselves to solve the problem. You feel overwhelmed by a lack of control. I get it and I’m not minimizing it.
But you still need to take some time each day and be good to yourself. You didn’t create this situation. You’re not to blame. That can be taking the time you now have to walk each day and clear your head. Maybe you make a list of the things you really enjoy and do one every day. Maybe you call a friend to whom you’ve not spoken in a while. The key is not to beat yourself up over the situation. Negative self-talk just digs a deeper hole.
So I’ll shut up and let you think about how you’ll be good to yourself today. OK?
What the heck do you do when everything changes in a couple of weeks? I fell behind reading my daily newspapers and as I was catching up it dawned on me that nearly everything I was reading related to a world that really didn’t exist a week later. The sports sections were previewing games and events that will never take place. Forget the numbers and analysis on the financial pages. Even the front pages dealt with topics that now seem so unimportant.
People can’t travel. You can’t really go out to eat or hang out with friends. Who could ever have imagined that the bars would be closed on St. Patrick’s Day as they were here and in many other places. Those are just a few examples of the devastating impact this pandemic has caused and the businesses that can survive this will be badly damaged. Many others won’t survive at all.
So If you’re a businessperson what can you do? May I offer a radical thought?
Quit selling. I’ve received many emails from companies that are behaving as if nothing is different. They’ve not changed their tactics or messaging at all. Others have done even worse by trying to capitalize on this global tragedy. Not only do I find these messages offensive but I’m making mental notes never to buy from those businesses again.
Everyone is suffering losses of some sort. Some folks are out of work completely with no income at all. Others are trying to work from home while schooling or at least amusing their kids. My parents who are in an assisted living facility can’t leave their room. Meals are sent up and there is no socialization. I think it’s the right course of action but I feel horrible for them and the other residents. People have had to cancel vacations and weddings. Others can’t attend funerals of loved ones. Everything has changed.
So quit selling. Recognize that now isn’t the time. If you give any sort of credence to the notion that you need to love your customers, love them now by asking how you can be helpful. Ask what you can do for them and not what you can sell them. There will be plenty of time for that when things return to whatever normal will become.
Maybe it’s a radical thought but these are times that call for radical thinking, don’t you think?
It’s Foodie Friday. We went out for a bite last night to one of the places that’s in the usual rotation. On most Thursday nights the bar is crowded and there’s often a wait to grab a table. Last night we pretty much had the bar to ourselves and there were tables available without any delay.
My buddy Tina the bartender said that business wasn’t great and I think we all know it’s due to the fear of the coronavirus. It’s hard to keep a safe distance from folks in a crowded bar or when tables are close together. While you expect your servers and cooks to have clean hands, it’s not a great time to find out otherwise. Apparently, my little microcosm isn’t much different from what’s been going on around the country and, I suspect, around the world.
What a number of food businesses (this one included) are doing is a great lesson for those of us in other businesses with respect to how to behave when the proverbial pandemic hits the fan. I’ve seen Facebook posts and received several emails from places I patronize and most of them have the same message. First, they aren’t minimizing the situation with any kind of casual joking (“Hey! Come on out and play! It’s just a little flu!”). Second, they all talk about both their normal cleaning process as well as the enhanced measures they’re taking during the crisis. This includes more frequent cleaning using higher-strength disinfectants and retraining of staff.
It’s the big guys too. Starbucks, which markets itself as a gathering spot (not something we’re being encouraged to do these days) has actually taken to limiting seating, spacing seats further apart, and even closed a store temporarily after a worker fell ill. The message is loud and clear: we place our customers and their health above the short-term profit hit we’ll take. Well, duh, people. Dead customers don’t buy things, so helping to prevent the spread of this virus is smart business no matter the cost.
Some places have amped up their delivery service. I’ve heard of other places that will bring your food to the curb so you don’t have to get out of your car if they don’t deliver. Who knows – maybe those services will become a normal part of their business going forward – we all know how delivery services’ menu of menus has grown over the last year or so. Acknowledging that not everyone is comfortable or able to go out for dinner at this time and not attempting to persuade them otherwise is being supportive and adult. That’s what any of our businesses need to be.
We overtipped last night (50%). Why? These are our friends and they might be hurting for the next month or so. If you get out, do the same. Buy a gift card at your favorite place, restaurant or otherwise, and use it down the road when you go back. We’re all in this together, right?