ON THE ROCKS OR IN A TALL GLASS? | WEEKLY REPORT FOR JULY 16, 2021
On The Rocks or In A Tall Glass?
We walked into a restaurant in downtown Lake Placid last week. It looked about half full — a few small parties were scattered throughout the place, numbering 30 at the most. My friends said the place had always been a “lively” spot. The Fire Marshall’s sign said capacity was 176.
The hostess, looking sad and exasperated, told us there’d be a 20-minute wait. The five of us waited patiently for a table and then waited again at the table. Our server approached rapidly in black running pants and high-top sneakers, with her long blonde ponytail swinging behind her. She stared straight at her notepad and quickly asked, “What are we drinking?”
No welcome, introductions, or small talk. She was BUSY.
“I’ll have a Maker’s Mark and ginger, please,” I said.
“You want that on the rocks or in a tall glass?” she asked.
“Um, I…uh,” I stammered. “Both?”
“I’m asking you if you want ice in your drink,” she snapped.
“Yes please,” I replied sheepishly. My friends and I all stared at each other in disbelief. I took a deep breath and kept smiling because I knew immediately what she (and every other server) is going through right now. This is 2021 America. Post-pandemic. And the cracks are starting to show.
I looked over and saw our server run back to the bar. She typed in the order then literally ran around the bar and made all five drinks. In addition to seating customers, the hostess was running around bussing tables as fast as she could. Her nice, new summer dress had a pizza sauce stain on the hip, which she dabbed with a napkin and soda water.
Bars, restaurants, and hotels are suffering through the worst labor shortage of my lifetime. Over 50 percent of U.S.
hospitality workers polled in a recent survey said they’re not returning to work. Unemployment is up and the Labor Participation Rate is just above all-time lows
. Despite rising wages, there are just not enough people looking for, and willing, to work. And a higher minimum wage of $9.50 in Virginia
or $13.50 in New York
means nothing when there are dozens of restaurant jobs listed on Indeed
in Lake Placid that offer up to $25 per hour.
The experts on the news give many reasons. Yes, some people are afraid to come back to work. Yes, some of them do not have child care. Yes, some of them got different jobs during the pandemic. But in my opinion, the biggest factor is “enhanced unemployment” benefits. Unemployment benefits in New York can top $806 per week. $506 from New York. $300 from Uncle Sam. I don’t blame them for staying home.
Would you like to work your butt off for $25 per hour or stay home on your butt for $21 per hour? I know what I’d do. We cleaned up our table. Took our glasses back to the bar. I handed her a big tip and told her to hang in there. That was the first time I saw her smile all night.
But the good news is companies can still find talent in a tough labor market. Next Friday, the entire Weekly Report will focus on strategies and tactics for getting more qualified applicants through social and digital media. Stay tuned.
Monday, July 12 — ALLISON & AJ
As the team welcomed me back from vacation, we also welcomed Account Manager Allison “Mama Bear” Nida back from maternity leave. Allison was greatly missed while she was out and we were all excited to see her “Mini-Me” Grace over Zoom at the Monday Morning Meeting.
Last week, while I was touring the winter wonderland of Lake Placid, we visited all the touristy spots, the U.S. Olympic Training Center
, the brand new Olympic Ski Jumping Arena
, and Emma’s Lake Placid Creamery
on Main Street, where I got the second-best chocolate milkshake in my entire life. Our incredibly talented Jr. Graphic Designer, AJ Stuit
, also hit the road last week to celebrate her birthday in New Jersey
. Happy Birthday, AJ! I’m glad you didn’t return to work with seven layers of spray tan. AJ Photoshopped
photos of me all over Lake Placid last week. I got a new Facebook
cover photo to prove it.
Tuesday, July 13 — HOPPY HOUR
On Tuesday, the Madison+Main-iacs met up for another in-person hoppy hour of 2021 at Triple Crossing Fulton. I missed the event, unfortunately, but I still got the tab. (I was on doggy duty, picking Gertie up from Four Paws Pet Resort.) Everyone else reportedly had a great time — apparently the Neapolitan-style thin-crust pies pair well with a Falcon Smash IPA. Interesting, but not my cup of tea. I’m the type of guy who likes meat on his pizza and his beer produced by a multinational conglomerate that advertises at the Super Bowl. #LetsGo #BudLight
Wednesday, July 14 — WORK IT
On Wednesday, we learned about our rockstar Account Executive Jeremy Colb’s weekend volunteering with Tri-Cities Workcamp, a local organization where high school students complete home projects for residents in the Petersburg/Tri-Cities community. Workcamp condensed their typical week-long schedule into one big Saturday of scraping, sawing, painting, building wheelchair ramps, and more! Jeremy looked like he had way too much fun to actually be working…but he showed up to work with the T-shirt tan to prove it. Congratulations to everyone who is part of this amazing organization!
Thursday, July 15 — ATLAS DIDN’T SHRUG
I am thrilled to announce that our newest client is Atlas 42, RVA’s premier event venue located in the heart of Innsbrook Shoppes. It means the world to us to work with this fun bunch and help folks easily book, plan, and execute their next big celebration. After all, 2020 was pretty uneventful, but people are ready for events in 2021. Planning a corporate event or wedding or both? Call 804-965-0420 or visit atlas42.com.
Friday, July 16 — TEXAS TEES
My two diners in Lynchburg, Texas Inn Downtown and Texas Inn Cornerstone, have always had T-shirts for sale. They range from wacky to tacky, and we are continuing that tradition this week with three new designs — a Trucker with a pocket, Don’t Mess With Debbie, and a Cheesy Tank Top. If you’re in Lynchburg, drop by either location to grab one of the T-shirts the Madison+Main-iacs designed. Or head to our website, they’ll be available online soon.
One of the country’s greatest unofficial holidays is tomorrow. Yes, that’s right — National Emoji Day
. (Not to be confused with National Emo Day
on December 19
.) To celebrate this monumental day I’ve decided to end the Weekly Report with my top used emojis. Here are some of my favorites. 🤣 🤠 ️
A Few of Our Favorite Events
Summer 2021 | 7 P.M. | Historic Ginter Park
Join Hermitage Richmond for a Concert Under the Stars
on our Front Lawn for an evening of live music. Bring your picnic dinner and chairs/blankets. Social distancing and masks required.
July 30, 2021 | 7 P.M. | Perkinson Center for the Arts & Education
The award-winning duo Bettman & Halpin
performs a fresh and enduring combination of Americana, folk and bluegrass. The perfect blending of Stephanie Bettman’s angelic voice and exquisite fiddle playing with Luke Halpin’s adept musicality on mandolin, fiddle, and banjo result in mesmerizing performances filled with irresistible lyrics, transcendent harmonies and roof-raising instrumentals. Grab tickets today!
Got an upcoming in-person or virtual event you want to share? Send us the deets! We promise we’ll look presentable.
“Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.” — Aristotle