What I miss most during these Covid 19 times is the craic with our customers.
Serving people in the shop is often accompanied with a conversation around weather or the news of the day. For example I hear much droch mheas poured on the colour coded weather warning system (“Telling us it was Orange and it was only a small breeze”). Mayo’s chances in the next big match are also a firm favourite.
How a member of their family is getting on after a big event in their lives
(“How is Mary after her sickness ?” “How is Johnny getting on in Canada? “)
can lead to a conversation where people share things with me that I sometimes find mirrored in my own life. That can often help me to cope with things I might be struggling with. As well as help them I hope.
The outpouring of support I and my siblings received from customers on recent bereavements left us sometimes overwhelmed but always deeply grateful.
In my shop I am often a minor participant in major events in the lives of our customers. The first wedding out of a house. The death of a cherished loved one. The first school uniform for a child or indeed the arrival of a child into a family, often brings people to the shop. It is deeply satisfying to me when I have exactly what people need at a time when emotions might be running high and they need a little bit of help.
But that is all missing during the lock downs of the last year. People are still shopping with us online and by telephone, and I am very grateful for it, but there are no conversations, banter or craic. And I miss it.
I look forward to being open again as restrictions are eased. Mc Andrews shop has been open since December 15th 1948 through all sorts of times. This too will pass.
And I look forward to returning to again having the craic with our customers.