Is COVID-19 making people crazy? Are people watching too much negative news recently? Are people panicking unnecessarily? Are anxiety and panic as contagious as the Coronavirus itself? YES unfortunately.
The past few months have proven that people generally are not mentally prepared enough for crisis. Any sudden change of regular routines would easily throw them off balance. This is evidenced in recent panic buying of grocery and fighting over a roll of toilet paper. These scenes of Hollywood comedies are actually happening in real life. Recently, police have been frequently called in to sort out silly conflicts in supermarkets and retail stores between overly anxious and panic customers.
Talking about police, we too today had an interesting police incident.
This morning a customer and her husband called in police on us because we were late to an appointment and we didn’t return their emotional-charged messages fast enough. Yes I know, being late for an appointment was no good. But it wasn’t illegally, was it? The police officer actually turned up at our door and called us on behalf of the customer. Don’t laugh, it actually happened and I’m not writing a comedy script. Here is the story. A bride got married earlier than initially planned in another dress (thanks to Mr Covid) and she wanted to take her first dress back for a refund. The job hasn’t yet started and as usual we were more than happy to refund. But because we didn’t response fast enough their messages, they probably thought we were keeping her dress for some god-know reasons. She got panic and then her husband got panic together. Then out of desperation, they called the local police station for help. They nearly gave me a heart attack, I thought someone died.
On the phone, I couldn’t resist but to ask the police officer “Do police now have a new role of calling businesses for consumers?” If so, that would be handy. Next time when I want to make dinner booking, I can call the police station rather than the restaurant, because they can response faster. When I asked the police officer for his name or his police identification number, he refused to provide. Damn it. He was such a good customer service representative, how do I know who to call when I need to make my next restaurant booking.
Taking away the funny part of the incident, we weren’t angry with the customer but we were not impressed with how customers could quickly become irrational due to a mere small issue that could easily be resolved with a bit of patience and calm communications. The couple seemed to be reasonable people when I talked with them afterwards and they perhaps normally know how to handle unforeseen events constructively. So I don’t blame them. But I blame COVID-19 and how the news overly publicises it and is making people crazy.