My inbox has been flooded with emails from companies which I do business, telling me about how they are protecting their employees from the novel coronavirus. It says something when a company cares enough about their employees and customers enough to help with the situation, but most of these emails are just public relations stunts. They are jumping on the COVID-19 bandwagon to get their name in our email box.
It’s funny when some of these places, like 100% online services, announce through these emails that they are here to serve us and that we should not visit there locations. They completely ignore the fact that their home base, perhaps even the only building they occupy, is thousands of miles away from me. But the good news is that their online tools are available for us to use during the COVID-19 crisis.
They’ll announce that they are letting some of their employees work from home. That’s nice. I work from home myself, so I can appreciate the opportunity to do so. I don’t think it is necessary to add junk mail to someone’s mailbox to announce it. Work from home, work from an office building or a storage unit, we tend to not care as long as you provide the service we are paying you to provide.
Some Are Actually Useful
One of the financial companies (Ally Auto) sent a useful notice. They announced that customers can defer payments for up to 120 days. Interest will continue to accrue, but there will be no late fees and no harassing phone calls. That’s nice – that’s useful!
Bandcamp sent an email letting patrons know that they are waiving their revenue share for one day, March 20, for all sales. It’s only for one day, but that will hopefully help make a financial difference to music artists.
Fedex announced that it is reducing the requirement for signing at delivery of certain shipments. We’ll ignore that most of the time, they deliver without requiring a signature, but apparently they are going to do that more. Now if I can get them to stop leaving the packages directly in front of the door!
A number of stores are shortening their hours or offering curb-side service and delivery. These communications and efforts are appreciated. Some food stores have announced special hours where only senior citizens are allowed to shop, to help them stay safe.
Say It Again
Then there are the one’s that again are just trying to get their name in front of us. They aren’t really telling us anything new or useful, because we have already received so many emails with relatively the same content.
Yes much of the information is important, but I have already been told be every media outlet, relative and friend, plus the PR junkies in so many of these companies. Thanks; I get it.
On the Bandwagon
So in summary, some companies are just as crappy now as they have always been, while some are actually stepping up to the plate to help out with the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are a few key tips that have been repeated thousands of times now:
- Social Distancing – If you end up in a public place where there are other people, try to remain several feet away from everyone.
- Wash Your Hands – Use warm water and soap. Lather soap on your hands for about 20 seconds, including the wrists, back of the hands, and between your fingers. Rinse with warm water. Use a fresh paper towel to dry your hands and have the paper towel between your hand and the handles when you turn off the water and open the door.
- Properly Prepare Your Food – Lots of illness can be sourced back to incorrectly cooked foods. Clean your preparation surfaces and cooking tools correctly. Make sure that your feed reaches a high enough temperature to kill germs that may be present.
- Hydrate – Drink plenty of clean water. Water helps your body function and flush out bad stuff from your system.
- Rest Well – Get a good night sleep and do not over-exert yourself. When you feel tired, your body is tired and cannot protect itself as well.
- Sanitize – Use sanitizing products to clean frequently touched surfaces, like grocery carts and door knobs.
Don’t Be Scammed
I actually just got a phone call from a man who was clearly in a call center on the other side of the world. His accent was so thick and the background noise so incredible that I had to ask him to repeat himself a couple times, slower. It was amusing the first time I said it, he asked me to repeat myself because he couldn’t understand me. “Exactly” I responded.
Anyway, this call was a suspected COVID-19 scam. The caller told me about the low-cost supplement insurance he is selling to help people cover coronavirus related medical expenses. He just needed me to verify my social security number, etc. I like to waste as much of these scammer’s time as possible, so I led him on for quite a while before he caught on that I was wasting his time.
Don’t let companies use the virus to scam you. If you need help from you financial institutions, food banks, medical field or whatever – you call them. Never trust someone that calls you, unless you called them first and were expecting a callback. More anti-scam tips can be found in my Telephone Scams article.