I’ve been feeling like a million different people lately. I’m so happy and thankful for my life and my health and my privilege and my resources. I’m so sad and worried for those without these things, and I want to help but I’m scared and anxious. So anxious. About my kids, my grandma, people who work with me, homeless people (what will they do), undocumented humans, all humans. About this business.
I’ve been sitting on these thoughts tugging on my heart all day about how what the truly right thing to do is to cease all online sales for the time being, save for gift cards. Cause they virtual, baby. And how it’s probably not the right thing (for me - no judgment) to offer pickup, etc.
Then I came home from celebrating my daughter’s second birthday with a beach walk to news of the “Shelter in Place” and a thought provoking post from an amazing friend whom I admire very much. Despite spending a lot of time over the past few days to push online sales, and a desire to use ecommerce as a tool to keep this business afloat, it really isn’t sitting well with me. There’s too much room for error, the stakes are too high.
Our neighborhood UPS driver was at our house today looking thrashed. Just exhausted. I’ve been concerned by reports of a lack of preparedness and/or accommodation at UPS, FEDEX, and USPS facilities surrounding COVID-19. There have been extensive reports of employees being forced to work despite illness or fear of illness amongst genuine fear of loss of employment. Delivery drivers and those at distribution facilities are highly exposed and are not offered hand sanitizer, chances to wash their hands or masks (although I read USPS will now begin providing masks “upon request”).
Capitalism has always been a system that could thrive without worker exploitation (with the proper protections in place) but which has historically been one that does really well DUE to exploitation of workers (especially those without safety nets working paycheck to paycheck i.e. the majority). I don’t feel right about participating in this activity as it is empowering these companies and government entities to continue abusing those who keep them in business.
Health experts say you likely can not “get” COVID-19 through the mail. It seems reasonable to me that IF workers were being protected and respected this would be something to weigh against the inevitable economic impact of this virus and other concerns surrounding online shipping such as the need to prioritize medical goods, for instance.
A recession is coming - the scope remains to be understood, but those currently socioeconomically disadvantaged will ultimately pay the largest price around the world. These people continue to be at the forefront of my mind and thinking. As for now, it seems unlikely to me that UPS or FEDEX will step up unless forced. I see more thought and action on the part of USPS but am still concerned by things I’ve witnessed personally in postal offices and things I’ve heard from employees and news reports. So, just hopping on to say, this is a great time in history for research and critical thought and most of us probably have more time than we’re used to to do so.
I don’t want to burden the system or those working to keep it moving. I believe what we’re doing is worthwhile but I know there are things much more important. Therefore, we will be ceasing online sales for now beginning tomorrow. Gift cards will still be available and are an amazing and risk-free way to support our shop and employees.
I am an anxious person in an anxious time and somehow, despite this, I know it will be okay. Our shop will survive, and continue to grow, and thrive. Because we believe in what we’re doing, and we know you do too. Thank you ALL so much for all of your support AND your online purchases, they have meant so much. All open orders will be fulfilled, and discounts will be honored whenever we are able to resume shipments and/or reopen, just as we honor you for supporting our mission to do right by people.