As the coronavirus pandemic gets more intense with each passing day, it's time to acknowledge some absolute heroes among us: grocery store workers.
Grocery stores are busier than ever, and their employees are putting themselves in harm's way every single day to make sure the rest of us stay healthy, safe, and properly fed. They deserve our endless respect and gratitude.
And given how chaotic the stores are these days, I wanted to know what customers can do to make the lives of grocery workers a little bit easier and safer. So I spoke with an anonymous employee at a major US grocery chain to get some insight from the front lines.
FYI, this person works as a cashier, bagger, stockperson, and cleaner at their store. Here are some tips they gave me:
1.Don't bring your whole family to the store — come alone if you can.
2.Don't get in an employee's personal space.
3.And don't ignore any markers on the floor that encourage social distancing.
4.Don't come to the store if you feel sick.
5.Don't give employees unsolicited advice on how to protect themselves.
6.Don't come to the store "just to get out of the house."
7.Don't touch stuff you don't intend to buy.
8.Don't tell employees how "lucky" they are to work.
9.Don't complain about items being out of stock.
10.And don't ask them to "check in the back" for out-of-stock items, either.
11.Don't complain to your cashier about having to touch the keypad to complete your transaction.
12.On a similar note: Don't try to sanitize the credit card machine before touching it.
13.Don't fight with other customers over hard-to-find items.
14.Don't complain about the store's new hours.
15.And if your store has set up special shopping hours for elderly, pregnant, or immunocompromised customers, don't violate them.
16.Don't whine about store limits on how much toilet paper or hand sanitizer you can buy.
17.Don't pay with cash if you have the option of using a credit/debit card.
18.Don't tell employees that you think all these new precautions are an "overreaction" or "unnecessary."
19.And finally, just don't be rude!
TL;DR: Keep your distance, follow the rules, and don't be a jerk. Let's all do our part, please!
Oh, and P.S.: If you want ANOTHER way to support your local grocery workers, look up what minimum wage is in your state. Is it livable? If not, now's a good time to push your representatives for a better minimum wage. Times like this remind us that the workers we rely on most are often paid the least. Just a lil' food for thought. Goodbye!