HERE WE ARE, heading into a second COVID Thanksgiving. Another year to reflect on all that makes us thankful.
These last few weeks, I’ve often felt less than thankful.
COVID restrictions keep changing. Mask wearing is never-ending. “If only” is on the lips of so many of us. If only more people would get vaccinated. If only mask wearing was mandated here or there. If only COVID would be over and we could get back to our lives.
I’m the first to admit that COVID restrictions have sometimes made it more difficult for me to be thankful. Restrictions are difficult. Our usual community events are canceled or online. I see far fewer friends and family. Going out and about is a chore.
But when I thought about what I was thankful for, my list was longer than I expected.
And one of the things I am most thankful for is all of the great retail workers that do such a great job.
There was the young tech at the computer store who quickly and expertly fixed my cellphone. A few clicks here, a few clicks there, and the phone was back to working normally. As a bonus, the tech fixed a few things I didn’t even know were wrong. Then they handed it back to me and said “no charge”. What great service.
There was the shipping clerk at the courier store who went step by step with me through all the forms I needed to fill out to send something to the States. Patient and informed, they knew all the procedures I needed to know about.
There are the workers in my favorite coffee shop who keep the restaurant spotless and clean no matter how busy it is.
The cashier at the hardware store who cheerfully helped my 89-year-old dad navigate the computer kiosk.
And my hairdresser still gives me a warm greeting, from behind their mask, even after months of COVID.
As difficult and annoying as COVID restrictions are, again and again, places I go are filled with people who give great service. The masks, the COVID passports, the plexiglass and the 6-foot distancing has not diminished the quality of the service.
I am amazed and impressed, and extremely thankful at how friendly, helpful and warm retail staff are.
I am not the greatest of shoppers even at the best of times. I spend only a few hours a week in stores and restaurants and I often feel stressed and persnickety, trying to get shopping done as quickly as possible. Huge kudos go to all of the retail service staff who provide such great service, day after day, even to reluctant shoppers like me.
As more and more shopping goes online, I’ve come to appreciate the face-to-face service more and more. Mouse-clicks and text-boxes are no substitute for in-person service.
Heading into the second year of COVID Thanksgiving, this week has been a time of reflection on how thankful I am for the people who are behind the counters waiting to provide service to me and others. Kamloops has some amazing retail service employees, and COVID has only made them shine even more.
Nancy Bepple is a former City councillor of Kamloops with a strong interest in community building projects.