It’s a weird time we’re living through, when a trip the grocery store is about our only opportunity to go someplace different than hour house, and every grocery trip feels a bit like entering the arena of The Hunger Games.
Our grocery store workers are certainly underpaid heroes of the coronavirus era. Every day, they go to work to make sure we all have food to eat, putting their own health at risk to do so. And unfortunately, the stress and strain of pandemic panic and economic uncertainty have led some people to treat these heroes with far less respect than they deserve.
A grocery store manager (unnamed in this post, but perhaps originally Jason Baldwin) shared a 20-point list of things we need to know when we’re venturing out to the grocery store right now. The post, republished by Roy Allen Stagg, has been shared more than 580,000 times because it contains blunt truths we all need to hear.
I manage a grocery store.
Here’s some things everyone should know:
1. I don’t have toilet paper
2. I don’t have sanitizer
3. I run out of milk, eggs and meat daily
4. I promise if it’s out on the shelf … it’s not in a hidden corner of our back room
Those are the predictable ones, now for the real stuff:
5. I have been doing this for 25 years I did not forget how to order product
6. I did not cause the warehouse to be out of product
7. I schedule as much help as I have, including many TMs working TONS of overtime to help YOU
8. I am sorry there are lines at the check-out lanes
Now for the really important stuff:
9. My team puts themselves in harm’s way every day so you can buy groceries
10. My team works tirelessly to get product on the floor for you to buy
11. My team is exhausted
12. My team is scared of getting sick
13. My team is human and do not possess an antivirus… they are in just as much danger as you are. (Arguably more) But they show up to work everyday just so you can buy groceries
14. My team is tired
15. My team is very underappreciated
16. My team is exposed to more people who are potentially infected in one hour than most of you will in a week (medical community excluded, thank you for all that you do!)
17. My team is abused all day by customers who have no idea how ignorant they are
18. My team disinfects every surface possible, everyday, just so you can come in grab a wipe from the dispenser, wipe the handle and throw the used wipe in the cart or on the ground and leave it there… so my team can throw it in the trash for you later
19. My team wonders if you wash your re-usable bags, that you force us to touch, that are clearly dirty and have more germs on them than our shopping carts do
20. My team more than earns their breaks, lunches and days off. And if that means you wait longer I am sorry.
The last thing I will say is this:
“The next time you are in a grocery store, please pause and think about what you are saying and how you are treating the people you encounter. They are the reason you are able to buy toilet paper, sanitizer, milk, eggs and meat.”
“If the store you go to is out of an item.. maybe find the neighbor or friend that bought enough for a year … there are hundreds of them… and ask them to spare 1 or 2. They caused the problem to begin with…”
“And lastly, please THANK the people who helped you. They don’t have to come to work!”
We owe our grocery store workers a huge debt of gratitude and an enormous amount of respect. If this pandemic is teaching us anything, it’s that we rely far more on people in these positions than we’ve probably ever thought about, so we should absolutely be treating them with dignity—at the very least. If you think you’re stressed, imagine how these workers feel. If you feel frustrated, imagine how these workers feel. If you’re afraid you might get sick, imagine how these workers feel.
Care and compassion go a long way. Let’s give our grocery store workers an extra measure of love and kindness, as our ability to keep living our lives at home literally depends on them.