We’re living in such unusual times. For the past five months there hasn’t been a competitive sports game or a pub open. There has been no Leaving Cert, facemasks are a common sight, perspex shields are in almost every premises that is open.
As business and society re-opens, it’s giving us all a whole new series of challenges. Businesses which have been closed for months have had to incur considerable costs to re-open, more often than not to work longer hours and make less than they previously did.
As businesses began to re-open their doors back in June, LaoisToday launched a #LoveLaois campaign urging the people in the county to support.
“Local businesses – ones that are genuinely embedded in and supportive of their local communities in so many ways – deserve to be considered when you go to spend your money,” we wrote.
“It will be difficult for traders and customers alike. But be patient … be supportive.”
Covid has been tough for everyone. Businesses and schools closed for months. For most people, the routines they have been used to for years have been completely turned on their head.
But in this “new normal”, there’s a responsibility on us all to help businesses get back on their feet. Not showing up for an appointment or a booking – and not informing that business – is one of the worst things you can do as a consumer. Not only is it not supporting a business, it’s actually damaging them and costing them time and money.
Last week hairdressers and beauticians opened again. Few industries have had to battle as hard or make as many changes to their previous procedures.
But in recent days there has been a surge of hairdressers on social media announcing that they are being forced to introduce a deposit on bookings, given the unprecedented level of people not showing up.
“We are aware of people booking into numerous salons and going with who takes them first,” said Clare Flynn owner of CoCo’s Hair Salon in Stradbally.
“And that’s fine once you just cancel your appointment everywhere else you made them.”
Kilminchy Hair Design took to Facebook to say that due to “a number of no shows for large colour services going forward we will be requesting a deposit of 25%”
“Since we have re-opened our salon there have been a number of customers who didn’t show up for their appointments and they don’t even botther to let us know,” posted Iris Hand and Foot Spa. “This is very unfair to us at this very difficult time.”
The Blow Dry Parlour in Portlaoise went further: “If you’re not able to make your appointment would you please let us know.
“Businesses are struggling and this selfishness effects more than the business owners. It also effects our staff and their hours.
“Please be mindful of this when you decide not to show up and refuse to answer your phone. We will be asking for full payment from such people in advance going forward.”
How tough must it be for a business owner to have turned away someone as they thought they were booked up? How hard is it then to pay staff when they don’t have the work they thought they had for them?
When the country was locking down, Iris Hand and Foot Spa were giving out free sanitizer. Many other hair salons did up gift bags for front-line staff. Most of them support local clubs and fundraisers consistently and generously.
A bit of respect towards them – at what is the toughest time ever for the industry – would go a long way in return.