Yesterday I went to my local food supermarket with reluctance, unsure of what I would find. This week I had attempted to obtain goods or services from several other retailers. They had been closed, kept me waiting, conducted demanding identity checks, imposed automatic responses that denied my wants and prevented me from complaining about the treatment I was getting. These ordeals had made me feel isolated and superfluous. Without personal attention, consideration or courtesy, I began to wonder if somehow I was unworthy. I was fearful of COVID19.
Going to the food store, I prepared myself for unpleasantness as shoppers scrambled for the few second-quality goods I imagined.
With great pleasure I found business as usual, with produce in abundance (only a few empty shelves). Usual high standards of order pertained, with cleanliness, high quality goods and courteous staff.
You don’t need to know the name of the retailer. A loyal supplier is easily recognised.
Prices were as usual, not cheap but without the exploitation of COVID19 that a duopoly could apply.
This immaculate store validated my individuality. I was a free buyer, without my identity mattering. I was as good as anyone and could buy anything in the store. I had been a loyal customer and they were being a loyal supplier.
This one supplier revived me. Their civility made hope possible and austerity bearable.
Cynics will say they did it for market share and profits, with staff diligent in fear of losing their jobs. That’s okay. Bill Gates has shown that kindness can coexist with business. Not all profits are subtracted from the public good.
The fabric of our civilisation is fragile and no more anywhere than in supplying food. Would that all other suppliers e.g. banks, utilities, social media and government departments, were as loyal, as we strive towards a future together, against COVID19.