Last updateWed, 08 Jul 2020 1pm

The Retailer’s Perspective A New Normal

I don’t mind telling everyone that I hate that saying. Every time I hear a talking head on TV using it I want to throw a brick through the TV. Except TV’s are expensive, I don’t always have a brick handy, and talking heads are a dime a dozen. They’ll just stick another expert in there to continue telling us about the new normal. It’s not a new normal, it’s the current situation!

I think the last time everything was the old normal would have been in the ‘80s. Everything seemed to be predictable right up until the end of the 1980s. But, the ‘80s were a long time ago and it might just be wishful thinking on my part. It very well could have been just as nutty and chaotic back then too.

There’s something floating around the internet that says: ‘Can you believe that before social media people just kept those crazy thoughts in their head?’ There was a time when people actually put their best face forward while out in public. It was only when they were at home that they let out the craziness the rest of the world rarely saw. Well, that’s sure changed.

People will say things to others, online, that they would never say to their face. They wouldn’t say those things to someone’s face because they’re scared they might get punched in the nose. Online though, they have no problem. Mainly because they are 3,000 miles away. They just assume that no one would cross the continent just to punch them in the nose. I have been tempted though.

Now, as we are coming out of a worldwide shutdown, with some new rules in place, me thinks that some people are going to forget that social distancing doesn’t mean that someone won’t break that six foot barrier and come over and punch you in the nose because you forgot you weren’t online - or 3,000 miles away. Just because they shouldn’t, doesn’t mean they won’t.

It’s painfully clear that some people are not taking the coronavirus seriously. It’s also painfully clear that some people are taking it too seriously. And then there’s you and me. As we navigate the next phase of this disaster, now referred to as ‘the current situation’, remember this one rule - You do you!

One of my favorite sayings for last couple of decades is; ‘You can’t make people do the right thing’.  With the current state of our media, it’s hard to get accurate information. One news outlet skews information one way, while another outlet skews the exact same information another way. Wear a face mask, don’t wear a face mask. Wear gloves, don’t wear gloves. One thing that is clear though; you’ll never make everyone come around to your way of thinking. No matter how right you think you are! That’s why I say, You do you.  Let them do them.

During this worldwide pandemic, there is a very misleading term being thrown around like beads off a Mardi Gras float; quarantine order. This was not a national quarantine order. This was a shelter in place order. They are very different, and used for two different reasons. Yes, there were people that were ordered to quarantine, but the other 99% of the population was ordered to shelter in place.

This shelter in place order had three basic purposes to accomplish. One was to slow the spread to protect our health care capacity. Two was to identify and isolate the vulnerable populations. And lastly, it gave the emergency response system some much needed time to mobilize and gear up in order to tackle the problem. If you’ve taken my class on navigating your business through a disaster, you know the shelter in place order was to push the disaster to the migration point at the top of the curve. If you haven’t taken my class yet, ask your state association to offer it at your next conference.

Now that the shelter in place orders are being rolled back, people are starting to venture out again. My store was shuttered for 6 weeks, and I recently got to open at ½ capacity. Since I only hit full capacity once a year at my annual Christmas Eve party, it’s business as usual for me.

Most states and cities are requiring new measures be put into place inside retail stores. You have to meet the minimum requirements in order to open. That doesn’t mean you have to stop there. If you want to do more, then do more. If you want to add more rules for entering your place of business, then add more rules. Remember, you do you.

Will there be people that do the bare minimum because they’re not taking this as seriously as you? Absolutely. And do you want to know what you should do about that? Nothing. Why is that? Because you’re doing you. Let them do them. 

I can’t imagine a scenario where I’d report someone to the authorities because they are not following the rules the way I think they should be followed. I’ll just turn around and walk out of that store or restaurant and go somewhere else. If someone is not wearing a mask or a face covering, and coughing or sneezing, I’ll just walk away from them. I won’t lecture them. Why? Because I’m doing me.

As stores start to reopen, and employees and customers start interacting again, make the changes that YOU feel need to be done to protect everyone in your circle. Add more, add less, sanitize more, sanitize less. Find your own comfort zone and live and operate inside that zone. 

If you think it’s too early to go back to work or reopen, remember this; you can be ordered by law to shelter in place, you cannot be ordered to leave your shelter. If you think it’s too soon, do what you think is right for you and those that are in your care and custody.

And remember, it’s not a new normal; it’s just the current situation. Stay safe, be courteous to others, and mostly - You do you!

Chuck is the owner of Anthony Jewelers in Nashville, TN. Chuck also owns CMK Co., a wholesale trade shop that specializes in custom jewelry and repair services to the jewelry industry nationwide. If you would like to contact Chuck or need a speaker or instructor for your next conference/event he can be reached at 615-354-6361, www.CMKcompany.com or send e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.