The Woes Of A Small Business Owner After A Year Of Pandemic


OK, readers. Just let me get this off my chest so I feel better and then we can proceed with humor.

It has been a year since the pandemic hit my antiques stores, forcing us to close from mid-March through mid-May 2020 while the government started the process of studying the statistics and researching the facts and entertaining the possibilities and calculating the costs and even, perhaps, of maybe beginning to think about what to do with this thing that they’d known was coming since at least December 2019.

Then, three months after the fact, they would discuss taking action. And then, actually take action, sort of.

Not that I’m bitter.

No, I truly don’t mind that the feds passed the buck of responsibility down to the states, who passed the buck to the counties, who passed the buck to the cities, who passed the buck to us individual business owners whom, as we know, always have extensive training on immunology and limitless resources at our fingertips.

No, not bitter at all.

And I can’t begin to tell you the joy of being on the front lines, telling people with money to spend to turn back around if they aren’t wearing masks — or to shoulder the expense of handing out free masks and hand sanitizer to everyone who comes in.

Not bitter.

The thing that hurt the most last year was packing up my Easter merchandise, lovingly arranged in cute vignettes throughout the stores just the week before. Now, that very same merchandise is out again — antiques and home decor that could conceivably be snapped up by mask-wearing, hand-sanitized customers who may or may not have been vaccinated. (And please don’t ask me to scrutinize their “I’ve Been Vaccinated” cards — even with the criminology degree I needed to open my antiques store, I really can’t tell an internet fake from the real thing.)

But Murphy’s Law has intervened again, this time putting Easter on the first Sunday in April, a time when people have just barely caught their breath after all the fun of not going to bars on St. Patrick’s Day. Now, instead of spending a happy month shopping for pastel Easter items, they’re going to flip over their calendar page and go, “Crap! Easter!” which I am pretty sure is not the what Good Lord intended.

Nonetheless, we small business owners are a plucky lot. We are plucky due to the fact that many of us took out loans or mortgaged our homes to get the money to open our stores.) So we are charging ahead as if everything is fine.

And I’d like to tell you that, on behalf of business owners everywhere, that’s what we would like you to do — charge ahead.

Or use Apple Pay. Or a check. Or pay cash. We accept it all.