Help Wanted with Patience 

On a recent Thursday, around 7:30 pm, my family and I decided we needed some mashed potatoes and brown gravy. My son and IChair of the Board for the New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce Nathan Manlove hopped in the car and headed to the fast-food establishment that, to us, is famous for mashed potatoes and brown gravy. As we got near the place, I got pretty excited because the drive-thru didn’t have a line. But as we got closer, I noticed the parking lot and restaurant itself were as empty as my prospects for mashed potatoes and brown gravy. A sign on the drive-thru let us know the restaurant now closed at 7 pm due to lack of staff.  

Wait. What? This was a fast-food place. They never close. Yet, this one did – AT 7 PM ON A THURSDAY. As we drove away, I couldn’t help but notice the four huge flags by the road in front of the restaurant begging people to come work there. 

The mashed potatoes and brown gravy restaurant is one of about ALL the retail and food-service businesses in New Braunfels that are short on staff with little hope of filling positions.  

We could argue all day about WHY there’s a labor shortage, but the fact that there’s a labor shortage would remain.  So, what do we do about it? Aside from taking one of the many open positions in New Braunfels or encouraging someone you know to take one of the jobs, we need to be patient.  

When we go to a local restaurant, we need to remember that the waiter who didn’t refill our water as fast as we’d like is probably taking care of about half the restaurant – alone. When our food takes a few extra minutes to come out, we need to remember the kitchen is probably running on half the staff it needs.  

When we go shopping in a local store, we need to remember that it’s probably the owner helping us in-between doing the books, paying the bills, and begging suppliers for inventory that they don’t have and can’t get.  

Let’s all remember the employees in a restaurant or retail establishment are there because they care. They care about being productive. They care about the place they work. They care about doing their best. How about leaving your waiter a 30% tip and personally thanking that retail employee for caring? 

Let’s also remember the owners and managers are doing the best they can, too. They’re coming off a terrible 2020, and now that things are opened up again, and they should be recovering in a hot economy, they can’t get people to work for them. How about buying something extra from them to show you care? 

I’d encourage us all that when we see a “Help Wanted” sign, we see it as “Patience Appreciated” instead.