New York- Before the pandemic, Cheryl Woodard used to take her daughter and her friends out to dinner at an IHOP restaurant in Laurel, Maryland, after her dance class. But now they hardly go there because it closes too early.
“It’s a bit disappointing, because it’s not as smooth as before”said Woodard, 54, who is doing most of her shopping online these days, not in person, as brick-and-mortar stores have reduced hours of operation.
Before the pandemic, consumers were used to instant gratification: packages and groceries delivered to their homes in less than an hour, stores that were open 24 hours to serve their every need Were.
But after more than two and a half years, in a world longing for a return to normal, many employees are fed up and don’t want to go back to business as usual. They demand better hours, and sometimes even quit.
As a result, many businesses still have not been able to resume the same hours of operation or the same services at a time when they are grappling with labor shortages. Others have made changes in the name of efficiency. For example, Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer and private employer, announced over the summer that it does not plan to return its Supercenters to the 24-hour operations they had before the pandemic.
IHOP says most of its locations are back to their pre-pandemic hours and some have even extended them. But others, like the one in Laurel that Woodward used often, have come back.
The changes are creating a mismatch between customers, who want to shop and dine out like they did before the pandemic, and tired employees who no longer want to work those long hours, a tug-of-war that all is becoming noticeable. Busy holiday season. Christmas shopping.
“Nobody wins,” said Sadie Cherney, a franchise owner with three Clothing Mentor resale stores in South Carolina. “It’s very demoralizing to see you come up short on both sides.”