6ft Rule Slows In-Store Sales, Frustrates Pot Habitués

As the health and financial detriment caused by COVID-19 continues to unfold, the service industry’s ethos of garnering the customer’s favor with expedient fulfillment is becoming discordant with the myriad of safety measures with which its adherence is a requirement of its continuation. The 6-Foot Rule, an aspect of social distancing which suggests for any individual to keep 6ft away from any other individual at any given time, is grossly affecting the stores stocking the supplies we have deemed to be most vital.

At long last, 53% of Americans have agreed: marijuana shall be endowed her long-awaited seat at The Table of Essential items.

In this veritable ghost town of an economy, marijuana dispensaries are still one of the few businesses running – not as usual – but as well as they are able, given the circumstances. The shops that are open are festooned with visual cues such as informative signs, cones, and strips of colorful duct-tape demarcating the 6-foot berth customers must be reminded of giving one another. In accordance with those safety measures, any of these establishments must also limit their number of staff to ensure enough of a proximity between employees, a move which has rendered smaller shops and boutiques defenseless against long lines and the ever-present threat of coronavirus exposure. In states where customers are allowed, and often encouraged, to sniff-test flower before purchase, bud tenders are now being banned from offering whiffs of the crystal-laden green nuggets purveyed by their shops. Buying pot is not the hands-on, personal experience it has been since America’s first states were legalized in  2012, but the steps which are creating distance are being taken in order to protect the health and well-being of everyone involved.

Though there are shops that have their physical doors open for business, most give their customers the option of reserving goods online, with menus on their websites or links to sites such as leafly.com or iheartjane.com, where anyone with an email address and a phone number can sign up to browse, choose, and place an order. Most sites do not require online purchasing; all they usually need is a phone number, first name and initial, or the name on the driver’s license of the person picking up. Moment-by moment alerts are oftentimes available as well, where the dispensary will send texts or e-messages when the order is received, as it is being prepared, and when it is ready to pick up in-store or curbside. When it comes to pick-ups, medical patients and those with preorders have first priority – meaning any walk-in recreational consumer without access to the internet, a smart phone, or familiarity of this expedition process in the first place, has the potential of waiting in line for a bewildering amount of time.

It could be conceded that dispensaries are not relegating enough time to advertising methods of purchasing that are more efficient to the buyer. But the argument could also be made that, as stores grapple with the growing responsibilities they’re taking on to ensure the safety of their clients and employees, consumers can ease pressure on both sides by finding out for themselves ways to streamline their personal shopping methods. Some businesses are becoming inundated with orders, therefore customers would be wise to order their necessary goods even up to a day or more in advance, rather than at the last minute to pick up ASAP.  As the economy searches for ways to nurse itself back to health, could the grab n’ go culture of yesterday give way to a more prudent and patient time in society – one where the big picture of humanity and the ongoing plight of our world are taken into account before grievances over wasted time are aired?

Amazon is no longer offering Prime 2-day shipping, in order to let essential items be first in line for deliveries. Restaurant counters are closed, if someone wants food from a restaurant they must pre-order, then pick up and eat it somewhere else. In modern America it has never been more difficult to just walk into a building and receive service quickly without a prior request. Is it not better to shop with premeditation? Wouldn’t everyone like to dissuade their own impulse-buying? Though we may live in a country where instant gratification is so glamorized, this luxury no longer vibes with our current affairs.

The devastation of this pandemic is worldwide, already infecting 1.22 million people, not to mention dogs, house cats, and even tigers at the Bronx zoo in New York. Rumors swirl as conspiracy theorists claim COVID-19 not be a virus at all, but a cover-up for something more sinister.

We could all stand to think a moment on the risks your father/mother/sister/brother are taking on a daily basis just to keep food on the table. We all want life to return to “normal”, but if our culture decided to undergo a collective shift in attitude – one where consumers treated their brethren in customer service with the compassion and respect they deserve – it might make this ordeal a bit more tolerable, at least.