When we imagine bravery we often picture someone running into a burning building to save a life. We don’t likely picture an individual who works in a grocery store. However, during COVID grocery store workers are putting themselves out there risking exposure every single day. Their work makes shopping at stores or having groceries delivered possible. Sadly, this job is not recognized as it once was.
During the beginning of the pandemic, grocery store workers were considered to be essential and were greeted with things like hazard pay, raises, and recognition. Now as we are months into the pandemic grocery store workers are feeling overwhelmed, overworked, and under-appreciated. Many feel that their jobs could be cut a moment’s notice whereas at the beginning of the pandemic grocery stores were struggling to find workers to staff their places of business.
Many have expressed that work has become harder than ever before with the same pay and now added risks. For those individuals who took sick leave at the beginning of the pandemic, they no longer can afford to take unpaid time off now, even if they feel unwell. Adding to the stress, many workers say, are the new responsibilities that were added to their daily workload, including disinfecting store fixtures and enforcing social distancing and mask requirements.
Many grocery store workers are faced with angry customers on a daily basis who are frustrated (or refusing) to wear their masks while they shop for 20-30 minutes where those workers are wearing their masks for an entire 8-hour shift. The customers are also angry that things are out of stock and taking out those frustrations on grocery store employees. Now, most employees report that they are screamed at multiple times a day by angry and hostile customers. The early days of the pandemic when they were heralded as heroic front-line workers seem to have disappeared.
If you are out at the grocery store shopping wear your mask! This helps keep yourself and workers safe. Bring some hand sanitizer just in case or some rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle and spray down your cart outside before you head in. As you go through the checkout consider saying simple thank you or have a brief kind conversation. This could mean the world to someone who is in a difficult environment all day long for work. Remember to **treat others the way you would want to be treated! **These individuals are facing hazardous conditions just by showing up to work to earn money for their families.
Do you know someone who is working in a grocery store right now?