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The newest shortage during COVID: Common sense

Oleksandr Hruts/Getty Images temporarily closed sign
APPLYING COMMON SENSE: Apparently some businesses believe that customers can read minds. At least give them a hint, like a sign or a cone blocking a drive.
Common sense seems to be in dangerously short supply!

One company couldn’t get lids for herbicide jugs. Certain herbicides are hard to find. People wait months for furniture and appliances. Yet as the COVID-10 pandemic continues, the biggest shortage of all may be for a commodity that isn’t grown, manufactured or shipped. It’s common sense.

OK, you’re expecting to read that this is just a tongue-in-cheek play on words. No, a lack of common sense as 2022 comes to life is the story. If the pandemic has contributed to it or is just the scapegoat, I’m not sure. But it’s obvious that sometimes people aren’t making decisions based on good, old-fashioned, rural Indiana common sense.

Here is an example:

Read our minds

I pulled off the street to pick up prescriptions at the drive-thru pharmacy. It was 9:45 a.m. and I was five cars back, blocking a driveway. When no one budged for a couple of minutes, I moved, parked and went inside. The person in front of me said, “People have been waiting in their cars in line for 30 minutes.”

“Oh, we just opened,” a lady filling a prescription piped up.

“But people have been waiting a long time,” the customer countered.

“We just opened,” the lady repeated. This conversation was going nowhere.

Finally, a clerk appeared, obviously just arriving for work, and helped the customer. Then it was my turn. Once I had my prescriptions, I asked my own questions.

“So, what time do you open?” I asked. The young clerk hemmed and hawed, and finally the same lady behind another counter piped up again.

“We open at 8 a.m.” she said. Before I could ask why the delay today, she continued. “A pharmacist called in sick today and we couldn’t open on time. A pharmacist just got here a few minutes ago, and now we’re open.”

Yes, I could see they were open now, but how was the lady in front of me and everybody in cars supposed to know the pharmacist didn’t show up?

Find better solutions

I can think of two possible solutions — ways farm folk would have handled this situation. Placing a cone in the drive-thru or a sign on the drive-up window saying the pharmacy was temporarily closed would have signaled the lead driver to move on. There was no cone, no sign. Or, one of the people who couldn’t work in the pharmacy until a pharmacist arrived could have put on a coat, stood outside for a few minutes and personally told drivers what was going on.

That would have been friendly. That would have been customer service. That would have been common sense. That didn’t happen.

Did the world end? No. I was delayed a few minutes, but I got my prescriptions. Do I have a warm, fuzzy feeling about that business? No. instead, I wonder, if they don’t care more about me as a customer than that, can I trust them to fill my prescriptions correctly?

One vocational agriculture teacher in Indiana recently said people are too hard on today’s high school students. The teacher said at the end of the day, they are responsible and have common sense. I hope so. I want to believe it. Common sense just might be the commodity in shortest supply of all today.

Comments? Email tom.bechman@farmprogress.com.

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