Did you survive Covid but now suffer from HOGO?

Amid reports in the UK that people aren’t turning up to restaurants or even events for which they’ve already bought tickets, are you affected by HOGO (hassle of going out) too?

After spending lockdown at home and used to ditching plans and skipping social events, some are bound to be feeling a bit weary – and wary. Whilst there’s no excuse for no-shows in the era of mobile communications, I suspect people book venues to lift their mood currently and then feel that they just can’t face it as the hour draws near.

For some, going out has certainly become less fun. Everything has to be pre-planned. You can’t get a table at a restaurant, and when you do it’s full of excuses why the service is lacking, the menus are ‘reduced’ for lack of staff or ingredients, and ‘can we have your table back at 8:30, please?’ ‘And please be considerate to our staff as we have zero tolerance for abusive behaviour.’ For these customers, it feels like prices have been hiked to pay for the extra checks and regulations that make going out more of a hassle than it’s worth.

Attitudes have definitely changed – and why not? People, especially in the winter, can stay home and watch movies in HD, get food and drink delivered at reasonable cost in total safety.

But the retail and hospitality sectors are at risk of dying a slow death because that’s where we meet other people and mingle. That all takes effort and only a critical mass of attendees can make the experiences work. No matter how fantastic the food, exciting the film or entertaining the play, these events need to be experienced as a collective event to get the right energy levels and succeed.

Small businesses need our help more than ever this Christmas!

There’s absolutely no excuse for no-shows at restaurants etc. in the UK or anywhere else. It’s just selfish behaviour. But seemingly part of a general, ‘It’s all about me’ attitude that unfortunately seems prevalent these days…

Nora Johnson’s psychological crime thrillers ‘The Sentinel’, ‘No Safe Place’, ‘Betrayal’, ‘The Girl in the Woods’, ‘The Girl in the Red Dress’, ‘No Way Back’, ‘Landscape of Lies’, ‘Retribution’, ‘Soul Stealer’, ‘The De Clerambault Code’ (www.nora-johnson.net) available online as eBook (€0.99; £0.99), Apple Books, paperback and audiobook. All profits to Costa del Sol Cudeca cancer charity.

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Nora Johnson

Novelist Nora Johnson offers insights on everything from current affairs to life in Spain, with humour and a keen eye for detail.