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  • Bessie M. David

Will Our Servants Survive?

March 16, 2020

Wow! What the hell is happening? I’m sitting here safe and secure in my home after returning from dinner at a local restaurant that will be closing down tomorrow for a minimum of two weeks, putting every employee out of work and most likely unable to collect unemployment. No severance pay, no sick pay. Only the money they make tonight which goes towards a household that more than likely lives paycheck to paycheck. Sure I tipped her 30% tonight but that amount will not go far. I had more than that to give but I also have two adult children supporting themselves in the service industry.


My daughter is a business owner who has worked and operated a very successful hair salon for five years. She is about to open a second salon in a couple of months. Her success has been built on hard work, commitment, and the value of getting what you give. She spends as much time helping out the local community and her home state while providing careers for six other stylists.


Today she closed her salon. Not because she went out of business but because of the COVID-19 Pandemic. She still has to pay rent on that salon and a second one which was due to open in April. Yes, paying rent with no income. How many others are having to do that? Her only source of finance will have to come from her savings if she has that. How long will that last? What will her stylists do? This breaks my heart. I realize she is one of many who are experiencing this epidemic of sorts.


My son is also in the service industry. A very introverted genius of sorts who is passionate about the food and cocktail industry. He is an amazing Mixologist and peddler of good food. He has an innate ability to wine and dine those who are fortunate to be part of his world.

He too is losing his job; be it temporary. Two months minimum is the timeline. He may have to file for unemployment and who knows what that looks like. Is it even an option? Yes he will have to find another job. He will be searching for work alongside thousands of others who work in the service industry. Think about that; ‘Service Industry’. The people who make it possible for everyone else to enjoy a night out. You don’t feel like cooking and cleaning the kitchen tonight? Go out and have a server wait on you, a chef cook for you, and a bus person clean up after you. Enjoy and hopefully tip those who provide you that service. They make less than minimum wage per hour so their ability to live a decent life depends on your tips.


Well now what. You can’t go out anymore. The restaurants and bars are closing down. You have to stay home and cook for yourself while all those servers, cooks, bussers, hostesses and others face unemployment in the worst of times. It’s one thing to be unemployed and have options of work, but to be unemployed in an industry that no longer exists must be overwhelming.


There are thousands of people who have already lost their jobs and are being told to hunker down for a few weeks. Easy for me, I can work from home getting paid the same salary as before. Does anyone realize how many servers, bartenders, hairstylists, barbers, retail workers and other non-essential service employees are and will continue to be without a job?


I get that we are having a national emergency and doing what we think is the best thing to prevent mass deaths from this virus. What’s the price we are willing to pay? What will happen to the lives of millions of people who can’t work? Unemployment is already an issue. It seems that one crisis is creating another. Which is worse? I don’t have an answer. I won’t even begin to understand the reasons behind the decisions being made or the capacity of the problem.


What this is to me is personal. I’m seeing my children about to embark on a journey of which there is no guidance, no formula, and no map. They will have to forge out a new way to survive. I’m seeing a future of plagues, financial depressions and war happening all at once. That’s right folks, nothing stops for humanity. There may be a temporary lull as everyone adjusts to the new way of life but sometime soon, all the goodness that people are doing to try and help one another is likely to collide with the greed, hysteria and insanity that wait to implode.


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