Getting Back to Normal?

by Chris Bjorklund

I’m happy to be writing for the Diamond Certified Consumer Report again after a short hiatus. Since March, so much has happened to all of us (I was in a scary car accident, my husband had foot surgery and I broke my leg to boot!) that I don’t really know what getting back to “normal” means right now. But let me share a few observations.

Most of us are beginning to resume some activities, albeit with many adaptations. I’ve continued having groceries delivered, but now I make brief forays into stores that have best practices. Medical appointments are now a mix of Telemedicine and in-person visits. So far, I’ve been impressed with the safety protocols at these offices. Patients are spaced out so waiting rooms aren’t crowded, the employees perform temperature checks, and my doctors and dentists often have me wait in my car until my appointment time. I’ve also stopped procrastinating about home maintenance and hired service providers for outside work such as tree trimming, landscaping, and roof repair. For in-home services like house cleaning, I’ve returned to preferred trusted providers (my “regulars”) because I know they’re putting safety first.

Which brings me to my main point. Now more than ever, it’s important for us to stick with companies that will answer our questions and explain the steps they’re taking to protect both their customers and employees. Look for the information on company websites or posted at the stores themselves, and back off if you have any doubts about how they’re operating. We’re starting to know what to look for and what to avoid. Last month, for example, I made the mistake of shopping at a supermarket that I quickly realized was doing a half-baked job. They didn’t wipe down carts, offer hand sanitizer, keep things in stock or manage foot traffic. I won’t be going back any time soon.

In future Consumer Reports, we’ll be keeping you up-to-date on a variety of issues related to consumer behavior and company responses during the pandemic, and we’ll also be sharing lots of great tips to help you as we chart a path to the “new normal.”