OPINION: Time to stop blaming Covid and get on with our lives

Companies can no longer use the pandemic as an excuse for poor service, says Rachel Moore

Companies can no longer use the pandemic as an excuse for poor service, says Rachel Moore - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

After nearly two years of being treated as gullible fools, Plan B’s scrapping tonight must be the kick up the backside for companies, organisations, councils and schools to stop blaming Covid for everything they don’t do well.

We must get back to normal and move forward. Sitting back and waiting for a virus that is unlikely to ever die to go disappear is wreaking untold harm two years on.

Product shortages – “It’s the pandemic.” Long waits for services, tradespeople or repairs – “It’s all down to Covid.” No one answering the phone – “Due to Covid”. Snail-pace delivery times (or no delivery at all – “There’s a pandemic on.” Ropey online teaching or under-staffed schools – “Down to Covid.”

Feeble excuses at best, bare-faced lying at worst, to cover up a contemptuous attitude to customers, laziness and a ‘we’ll do it when we do it’ no-effort mindset. A pandemic is not a reason for poor service.

We’ve had enough (long ago) of companies, organisations and local authorities hiding behind this excuse. Challenging times demand innovative solutions to make services and businesses work in a crisis. Delivering the best in difficult times is what sets businesses apart.

No one minds about delays if truthful open explanations answer their questions about late services or deliveries. Sick and isolating staff and scarcity products happens. Just tell us.. We understand difficult markets and trade conditions exist.

But we smell a very whiffy rat after two years of blanket “it’s Covid” excuses. Unless 25 staff are off, that’s a reason and an explanation and the detail, and apology, we need to trust you.

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No wonder complaints about poor service have rocketed to their highest level since 2009.

Lying points to an untrustworthy business that can’t make an effort for customers, so customers look elsewhere, and lose faith.

This week the Royal Mail stands guilty as charged by blaming Covid for Christmas cards dropping through London families’ letter boxes in the middle of January.

Hospital letters, gifts and parking fines were also turning up weeks late.

The ripple effect hit reputations of businesses outside London delivering to those postcodes waiting weeks.

A woman who runs an online cake company in Northern Ireland was horrified to discover that 80 of her London homemade goods orders worth more than £3,000 failed to be delivered on time.

They only had a use by date of two weeks, so were ruined once they arrived.

With online reviews and social media, this could be devastating for Lynsey Bleakley’s business. Her complaint to the Royal Mail received little explanation and no compensation, but a blanket excuse that staff shortages were caused by Covid illness and people isolating.

It was Christmas in a pandemic. Did it not have a contingency plan for ill staff? Who made a decision to leave post and parcels sitting around for weeks?

The contempt for the small business/lone traders trying to make a living by a huge organisation that clearly doesn’t give a damn. Christmas coming was hardly a surprise? It wasn’t an unusual circumstance, or odd that so many deliveries needed to arrive by December 25.

Spouting the Covid excuse indicates inefficiency, an organisation too far removed from customer needs and a nonchalance about who helps their bottom line.

With the end of Plan B, it’s time to reverse the untold effects of the last two years – especially children who have lived through unprecedented health fears, home schooling, lost learning, lack of socialisation and stimulation to get back on track.

Research issued this week was horrifying, stating that one in five 11 years olds are starting high school with reading age of six. The UK, home to the world’s best universities, greatest innovators and brains, is 14th in the league table of 70 for reading ability.

Even worse, high school teachers are having to be trained to teach these children to read to give them a hope in hell of getting a proper secondary education.

Then, falling behind with their learning, children are instilled with fear and foreboding of getting ill and dying, with fanatical hand washing, terrified to touch anything in case of catching germs and getting ill, all the time trying to make sense of everyone having injections but still catching it and passing it on.

Yet still teachers in some schools want children to continue to wear masks in classrooms despite guidelines.

For children and young people to thrive, we must regain some sense of normality, and purpose to live post Covid, recover and live among strains of a virus that will probably never go away, to get on with shaping a brighter future from this mess.

Trying to conquer it is as futile as trying to push water uphill.

Hermit culture could make us all obese

Nipping to the shops to pick up something that’s run out is being replaced by clicking an order for a speedy cyclist to deliver.

Run out of nappies? A new pack can be on your doorstep in minutes? Milk and bread? The same. Burger and chips (that never travels well) at your door in a jiffy.

No wonder we have an obesity crisis. Walking down the road to the corner shop to stretch your legs is now the equivalent of a polar expedition, too much effort and a gargantuan challenge.

Instead, a toned and skinny cyclist rocks up, looking the peak of fitness handing packages to the pasty overweight hermits. Nothing more weird than real life.