I was an early proponent of online shopping. I lived in a rural community without much access to retail, so it was a natural fit. I even experimented with grocery purchases when it was a new and novel thing. I wrote about the crazy packaging practices of my delivery orders back in 2017. Yes, I was that cutting edge.

I didn’t make online grocery shopping a habit. I preferred to pick out my toilet paper in person.

Then COVID hit in early 2020 and all our worlds – and shopping habits – changed, perhaps forever.

E-commerce had already established itself in our daily lives, but COVID cemented it there. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, e-commerce sales jumped nearly 32 percent in 2020, making it not only cemented but set in stone, for many good reasons.

Why carry heavy bags of groceries when you can have them delivered to your doorstep? TVs, furniture, clothing, tennis shoes, garden implements, snow blowers, generators and ceiling fixtures - all available with the click of a mouse.

And you can do it all in your pajamas (or sans pajamas, if that’s how you roll. Wink.)

You don’t have to wear a mask or worry about hand sanitizer. All with better prices and better selection.

It’s, in a word, convenience. For me. For you. But not for everyone.

Not for the good folks bearing the burden of this societal shift: the people delivering the goods.

I propose an ode to the delivery people who now tote our toilet paper and canned goods. Those who haul furniture boxes and those labeled ,“Fragile, this side up.” Their days are made up of long hours, barking dogs and too many addresses.

They deliver long past dark, even though dark comes too soon right now. I’ve witnessed it firsthand. They wear the company uniform and a smile and they get the job done, all so we can order toilet paper and have it delivered free with two day shipping, even on weekends. Even on Sundays. Since when do we need our laundry detergent or area rugs delivered on a Sunday? Since now, supposedly.

These good people work without the benefit of tips (at least that I know of). I hope they get incentives and bonuses, but I’m not sure. They deserve all three. I’m not sure how often people let them know they are appreciated and their work is valued, but we should. Shame on us if we don’t. In that vein, I have one message for them:

Thank you.

Thank you for all you do. Thank you for working early in the morning and late into the evening just to make sure my new bedroom pillows arrive on time. Thank you for making sure I get my granola, pesto sauce and cat treats well within the estimated delivery window.

Thank you for making our lives easier, during the pandemic and probably after, if an after ever comes. Thank you for carrying the heaviest packages inside my door because it would be hard for me to do that by myself. Thank you for providing a rescue to many during a difficult time for us all.

Thank you isn’t enough, really, but it’s all I have, and it’s delivered from the heart. I see what you’re doing. I see how hard you work. I see the long hours that are required of you. I see that you may be taken for granted and I’m sorry for that. I see how much you benefit us all from simply “doing your job.” I see, and I hope others do as well.

Thank you.

- Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright and author. Don’t miss a slice; follow the Slices of Life page on Facebook.

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