Beach Week Report: “Unprecedented demand, help wanted”…

Just back from our family’s annual summer week on the Delaware beaches.

Here’s what I observed this year:

> “Unprecedented demand”: That’s what the condo-rental agency headlined … and, it wasn’t just rate-jacking hype … full occupancy was evident … open parking spots were few and far between (and far away from destinations).

> Families galore: The beaches were crowded with frolicking families … always a pleasant sight to see … seemed remarkably normal.

> What COVID? There were very, very few masks  … and only a few tattered “keep your distance” signs that just hadn’t been taken down yet.

> “Help Wanted”: Every store, restaurant and service counter had a sign that warned customers that “due to a severe labor shortage, our service isn’t up to our standards so please be patient”

One pizza restauranteur lamented: “Kids just don’t want to work” .. young adults are just enjoying their government-funded summer vacations … the Eastern European teens & twenty-somethings  who usually staff the shops and beaches can’t get visas.

>”Demand management”: Marketing is alive and well.  To cope with the “unprecedented demand and labor shortage”, establishments are trying desperately to smooth demand across day-parts (think: early bird specials).

For example, to spread the workload for cleaning crews, our condo agency offered a partial refund if we’d accept a later than usual check-in (late Saturday evening or Sunday morning, instead of Saturday afternoon)) or a very early checkout (Friday afternoon or evening, instead of Saturday morning)

> Patience reigned: Admittedly, we stayed mostly cocooned in our condo and on its beach, but … when we got out, people seemed to be going with the flow … patiently waiting in line for service without whining or line-cutting … servers had great attitudes while hustling their butts off.

> “Thanks for working”: To the prior point, even cheapskates like me were tipping more than usual … and thanking workers for working.

I wonder if that will become a new normal…

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