Thanks to a failure in hotel quarantine in South Australia, a failure of the federal government in terms of quarantine and a failure of the federal government on the Covid vaccine roll out, Victoria is in the middle of a 7-day lockdown, to try and suppress transmission of a particularly virulent strain of Covid.
Okay, blaming aside, this lockdown has shown, again, the important role small business retail front line team members play in our communities. This is especially true in newsagencies.
For people living alone or caring for someone at home, the interaction at the counter is important. Over the last few days there have been several examples I have witnessed of this, where shoppers talk for a bit longer, soaking up the interaction. Our shops are hubs for this warmth.
Good retail team members spot the need and provide interaction that is encouraging and helps the customers feel better than when they arrived.
What’s been happening in newsagencies in Victoria over the last few days is a reminder of the importance of local small business retail in communities, the role we play, the support we provide.
I am writing about local small business retail as it is in that setting that shoppers are more likely to have a personal and nurturing experience. Our local small businesses are less focussed on KPIs, interactions are more authentic than the corporate national retailer dictate of the five rules of every customer contact or whatever corporate rules the staff are told they must follow.
The warmth and genuineness of the interaction in a local high street newsagency setting is helping plenty of Victorians through this latest lockdown. Our channel can be proud of the role we play on the front line, the role we play in the mental health of so many who visit our shops.
If only politicians would take a moment to see first-hand the role local small business retail plays in the community in situations like this. There are retailers in our channel who do more good in a week of customer interactions than a year of words press releases, announcements and doorstops from any politician, especially federal politicians who love a big announcement but fail at the action.
Kudos to all newsagents in Victoria who have been open through the lockdown and who have provided extra care at the counter to customers keen for personal contact and support.