Service of Worker Shortage

July 15th, 2021

Categories: Customer Service, Restaurant, Retail, Service, Travel, Work, Worker Shortage

Have you been impacted by worker shortage? The answer would be “yes” if you were trying to renew your passport. Debra Kamin reported in The New York Times that it could take 18 weeks to renew by mail vs. six to eight before the pandemic. Appointments at one of the 26 official passport centers around the country–if you hope to fast track a renewal–are almost as hard to come by as winning lottery tickets.

A shortage of Transportation Security Agency (TSA) workers has created inordinately long Airport lines.

Yet service was perfect at the Hudson Garden Grill located in the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx last Sunday. One of my friends asked the waiter if they were serving monkey bread and he explained that the restaurant is short-staffed and not fully back to where it was before the pandemic, so not yet, but soon. [I’d never eaten, seen or heard of this bread. Next time.]

I was happy to find an item that was out of stock at the three CVS stores within walking distance of my apartment when I happened to be on East 72nd Street. The store was clearly short staffed as it took too many minutes to get someone to free the item from behind locked doors. And then there was trouble with an express checkout machine and only one cashier. A valiant very young man was trying to answer questions, assist at checkout and open locked items.

CVS usually sends a “how did we do?” query after I buy something and I gave my experience an 8–because I was so happy to see the hard-to-find item. There’s space to explain your score. I was blown away when the store manager wrote the day after my response. Here’s an excerpt of his email: “As the Store Manager, I deeply regret that we were not able to meet your expectations regarding the items you wanted being locked up and your checkout experience.

“Good news or bad, feedback from our customers helps us understand the experience for all, and when necessary, make improvements to meet your expectations. We will continue to get better at unlocking items. I truly apologize for the inconvenience. In terms of your checkout, we do have some new hires that we are training and it takes some time to get them up to speed. They will get better as well. I hope next time your experience is a 10!

“I would like to personally invite you to let me know how we are doing. Please respond directly to this email with the best date, time, and phone number to reach you.”

Now that’s customer service!

Has the worker shortage affected you? Have the businesses and services you frequent been able to work around it?

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4 Responses to “Service of Worker Shortage”

  1. lucrezia Said:

    No problems here. The grocery works, the pharmacy works, and most of our local businesses have survived the virus… far! Our restaurants are doing well, and there appears to be plenty of staff. This is far from over, so let’s wait a year for more concrete results.

    Sadly, our Southern States seem to ignore common sense precautions, and the virus and its cousins are returning full spate. Either something is done to curb this potential calamity, or we might well be back to square one. So don’t throw those masks away yet!

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    If my apartment building is typical, we’re not in good shape in the north either. The new version of the virus is up 23 percent in our area and building management asks tenants and guests to wear masks and go back to 3 max passengers in elevators. We wouldn’t get daily reminders if people were complying. I plan to write more about this in a future post.

  3. MarthaTakayama Said:

    One of the most annoying aspects of worker shortage is constantly waiting on the phone! It seems no matter where you call or what you have to attend to there is a shortage of workers to attend to whatever needs to be attended to. It is frightening to think of the amount of time I have spent because too few workers are available for so many businesses, hospitals, taxis,and Almost all of my experience with theses shortages have been with phone service because I have barely gone to any store except for brief forays into supermarkets or pharmacies. Since many of the phone workers are working from home I cannot understand the shortage. But much of pandemic and not really post-pandemic life consists of being on hold.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Thank goodness for the speaker option on mobile phones! I stick my phone in my pocket with muzak on speaker while I wait for someone to pick up, meanwhile I water my plants, dust my living room, clean my kitchen counters…..Otherwise I’d go nuts. I avoid calling but sometimes it’s the only way to resolve a glitch. Not all corporations provide a phone number….another irritation.

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