Business: Meet Richard, a Worker at Baskin-Robbins in Bellevue, WA
Interviewer: Nandini Daga; June 5, 2020
Interviewee: Richard Nguyen
Richard working at Baskin Robbins (Richard Nguyen).
Could you tell us about how the pandemic has affected your life?
Despite everything that’s going on, from school to quarantine to protests and curfew, I have been steadily going to my job at Baskin Robbins because ice cream is an essential service. As you would expect, since March, there have been a lot of changes to our policies and to business. Notably, since the very beginning, we have implemented social distancing rules, which included staying 6+ feet apart, no dine-in, etc. That did mean we have had to stop sampling for the time being.
But I don’t want to talk about technicalities for this entire article. I want to talk about the people who’ve come into our store. Most of the time, our customers now are just ordinary people who respect social distancing laws and other policies. However, there have been quite a few more energetic people.
"Most of the time, our customers now are just ordinary people who respect social distancing laws and other policies. However, there have been quite a few more energetic people."
One such person was a typical Karen. I will admit that I was at fault and forgot to wear gloves. But this Karen was on a different level. She barged into our store and demanded a couple brownie sundaes. I kindly informed her that we were out, so I suggested a cookie sundae instead. After 5 minutes of her debating with herself, she finally was like “fine whatever.” That entire process itself was time consuming and honestly a bit exhausting. As I went to get her cookies with tongs (I never touched any of the food), she demanded me to wear gloves. So naturally as a food service employee I was like “yes, sorry for that.” However, after I put on gloves, she said “you know you really should be wearing gloves.” This may be a good time to mention what she, herself, was doing to protect herself and others from Covid-19. While I was wearing an N-95 respirator from a pack my dad had from construction before the pandemic, she was sporting a maskless face. She did not maintain a distance of 6 feet (so I stood as far from the counter as possible). Also, this was in March when the stay-at-home orders were new and were meant to be taken seriously. So yes that wasn’t the worst Karen I’ve met, I’d say she was more mild or moderate, but that was a really fun experience.
Sundaes and ice cream! (Baskin-Robbins).
There still have been other better people, though. A lot of the time there will be people who respect our policies and ask for things respectfully. I’ve even gotten a couple “you’re so brave” and “thank you for your service” comments which were appreciated.
So moral of this I guess is to please respect everything that is going on. I remember how in March and April people would begin emails and Zoom calls “during these hard and unprecedented times,” but honestly now this has become a new normal. As new things pop up, like new policies and movements rising, please be respectful of essential workers, anyone from food service to public transportation to healthcare providers.