The Smile Behind the Mask

20 May 2020 Published in Haas Style Blog

It goes without saying that customer service interactions are, for lack of a better word, strange right now. We’re being prompted to stay at home whenever possible, and keep in-person interactions to a bare minimum. Well, that’s kind of hard to accomplish. For one, we’re social creatures who need human interaction. And the other, that fridge still needs to get stocked with food, and beer.

The current circumstances have brought to light something we all know. That we rely on each other for many, many things. We need each other. We need each other for help to get beer, supplies, food, fresh produce, mechanical help, medical assistance, and countless other things. Prior to the shutdown, many of us had a handful or more of stores that we frequented on a regular basis. Some of those stores have people that we know by name, and we value our interactions with them as much as the products or services that they provide.

Now we’re living in a world of face masks, latex gloves, and 6ft. distances between us. In complete transparency, things are lonely. It’s difficult to hear what people say when there’s a piece of cloth covering their face, and they’re standing at a distance from us. It’s unsettling to not be able to give someone a hug, or a friendly handshake, when seeing them.

But apart from the strangeness of our current situation, it is so reassuring to see the people that make our community go round wearing proper protection. It’s inspiring to see that they’re doing all they can to make us all safe, and that they brave the world of invisible germs to help us get what we need on a daily basis.

As a customer service person behind a mask, I want you to know that even though you may not see it, there’s a smile behind that mask. There’s a person who’s grateful for job security, brief human interactions, and having the opportunity to help others. I’m still happy to see each and every person that rolls up to our curb, or braves the taproom to see what’s in our fridge. We've taken extreme cleaning measures to keep everyone as safe as possible. We wipe down everything touched by a staff or customer after each use, and have our masks snug on our faces before we ever walk into the building. We wash our hands constantly, and are now taking employee temperatures before each shift. We want employees and customers to feel safe, and to the best of our ability, they are.

After all this has ended and the world slowly seeps back into a state of normal, this distancing is only going to bring us closer together. It’s going to highlight how much those shared pints with strangers, friends, and co-workers meant to us, and we’re not going to take that feeling for granted. It’s easy to stop appreciating a good thing when it’s readily available, all the time. A selfish trap that many of us fall into from time to time. But that doesn’t take away from the value of those experiences. And now that we’ve all been asked to hit the pause button for a moment, it’s the perfect time to reflect on what matters to us - and cherish those things. Both now, and in the future.

Right now, I appreciate all those people wearing smiles behind their masks. And, beer. ;)