Letters from a Grocery Store Clerk: What I wish People Knew

This is my second “Letter from a Grocery Store Clerk.” When I started this blog the summer of 2018 I did NOT think I was going to write about a global pandemic. Heck, when I wrote the first post in March I didn’t think I’d want to write 3 posts about Covid-19. (If you’d like to read either of those posts, click on the link Where Do You Find Your Hope? and Letters from a Grocery Store Clerk…Buy the Ice Cream). And yet, here I sit, on a rainy April day, writing again about Covid-19. There are politicians on a local and national level taking about Covid-19, stimulus checks, debt relief, & PPE money. We have health professionals talking about ways to protect yourself against Covid-19 and to manage symptoms in the event that you contract it. We even have people talking about not injecting Lysol type products into your bloodstream (what the cray cray?!!!). So, what is there left to say? From my humble Grocery Store Clerk/Pilates teach position, here are the things I would like to say. (And wish people knew). On a side note, if you’re an English Teacher, I’m sorry about the horrible run on sentences and grammar in this post. 🙂

    1. Please don’t be paranoid enough to police my glove/mask/face shield wearing while I’m at work. Yes, I did say paranoid and I will call out those people for how they are behaving. Sound harsh? It’s reality. And my reality is that my work as a grocery store clerk at a very high end grocery store means that I am REQUIRED to wear a mask & gloves at all times. For certain jobs I have to wear a Face Shield on top of that. I am required to change my gloves at certain intervals, as well as sanitize my check stand at certain intervals. My managers have taped off 6 feet increments throughout the store and built protective shields using 2×4’s & plexiglass at each check stand, along with ropes to keep customers from getting too close too me. The last thing I need is a customer being paranoid enough to tell me to change my gloves in front of him because he’s afraid I’m not being hygienic enough. I DO NOT HAVE THE TIME OR PATIENCE FOR PARANOID HALL MONITOR BEHAVIOR FROM CUSTOMERS. DO US FRONT LINE WORKERS A FAVOR AND CALM THE HECK DOWN!
    2. As stressed/tired/anxious/frustrated/nervous as you feel, please don’t dump or share these emotions on your grocery store clerk. This may be a novel idea to you, but when we work 8 hours at a time at a check stand, we hear these emotions/words/complaints ALL DAY LONG! It’s exhausting being the brunt end of people’s emotions when we have our own to deal with. Please be respectful of front line workers. Many of us are showing up to work so that you have the luxury of grocery shopping. And when you feel angry about certain rules, or the lack of items on the shelves, please don’t get angry or aggressive with your grocery store workers. It is not their fault, nor can they do anything about our new norm. This is what happens when there is a Global Pandemic.
    3. If you are someone who lives in a first world country, and has the ability to shop for groceries easily (especially at a high end grocery store like the one I work at), please remember how lucky you are. Yes, I am telling you that you are lucky. I will tell you how lucky you are until I don’t life in me. Even though America is a First World country, there are still people that live in the relative poverty of Urban landscapes and Rural areas (e.g. Appalachia). These are food deserts where they lack the money to get food as well as stores to shop at. So the moment you come through my check stand and start complaining or being angry about certain things that are in place, is the moment I loose all respect for you. You want to complain about your middle class, upper middle class or wealthy lifestyle? Try living like one of your country men who don’t have access to food, healthcare or literally can’t stand 6 feet apart because their neighborhood is so dense with people. Or think about people that live in third world countries. Coved-19 does not discriminate between who it attacks and right now, the people who are already living at a deficit are going to get hit harder than you are.
    4. And lastly, our lives are being changed significantly by this pandemic. Think about how you want to keep hope alive in your own heart as well as others. Covid-19 is not an invitation to be selfishly paranoid forever. Yes, practice good self care, but also remember that there are people around you that need hope, help, & some laughter. Take the time to look at who needs help in your community and do the small thing that will make their life better. Whether it’s a bag of groceries or a few things to keep their kids occupied while being home. Keep your focus off yourself and on other people. Lifting other peoples spirits will help life your spirits. I promise

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