This past week we had two major celebratory events… Cinco de Mayo and Mother’s Day. I do not work in the restaurant business, but from what I have seen, heard, and read since those days, there was an unprecedented demand placed on the online systems for these restaurants. So much so, that many had to cut off online ordering in a panic, leaving customers disappointed in not being able to participate and it appears, waiting in some very long lines for the orders that were able to go through.
As I scrolled through my social media feed, I was saddened to read post after post of keyboard warriors not hesitating at all to tear these businesses apart. Many scathing commentaries on how “unsafe” everything was and the lack of poor planning. The thing is though, that this wasn’t one restaurant which might indicate that it was exactly that – poor planning. This was SEVERAL local restaurants who found themselves with this scenario, which leads me to believe that this was a perfect storm at which they unwittingly found themselves at the center.
We have seen the hashtag #allinthistogether all over in the past few months, but I have to shake my head and ask… are we?
I understand feeling frustrated at needing to wait and feeling unsafe, but those who were complaining and standing around in crowds were adults too who could have chosen to get into their cars and even leave if they were feeling unsafe. They could have chosen to later ask for a refund, I am sure they would have received. They could have chosen to offer grace to the establishments that have never planned for something like this before. They could have offered an understanding that perhaps there were online ordering system glitches that arose during this unique time which have, quite frankly, not been an issue until now when the demand was so exponentially high. They could have said to a fellow human, “You know what… this has been hard. You are doing a great job.” Because, even though I don’t work in the restaurant business, I promise you, all of them thought they were staffed adequately and had a good plan in place. None of them set out to anger their clientele and create unsafe waiting situations.
We are asking everyone to do things they have never done before. I will say that again, for the people in the back. We are asking EVERYONE to do things they have never done before. Folks, this includes restaurants, hospitals, retail stores, small business owners who are fearing for their livelihood, parents who never dreamed they would be working full time from home, and trying to teach their kids. I would be willing to wager that none of us have done this perfectly.
So, as the world begins to open back up, I am here to ask that we all remember to offer grace. People are going to mess this up. Restaurants are going to mess this up. We are all figuring this out.