Working As A Grocery Store Clerk During Covid-19

Working As A Grocery Store Clerk During Covid-19

Photo: Russ Allison Loar / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

I first started working in my teenage years and had always worked closing shifts. On a typical workday, most of what I do is play with numbers. The different food codes, charges, change, coupons, and timekeeping. My experience as a cashier during my time with my current grocery store has been invaluable to me. I love working there more than I enjoyed working with my friends from high school. All of this being said, though, it’s been a pretty trying few months for everyone.

Even at a job that you love, a pandemic can bring a lot of unease to your space, your coworkers, and the customers you all serve. The novel coronavirus has thrown millions of lives across the world into disarray. The way that we interact with strangers has changed, unlike anything we would have ever imagined. In the United States, a lack of preventative measures were not present upon the arrival of the novel coronavirus. As other parts of the world took or are still taking heavy measures to flatten the curve, the United States is still in the middle of a large game of catch-up, and essential workers have a very visible role in all of this.

I never imagined that my role as a cashier would be in league with the importance of the staff in clinics and hospitals. For a time, the people who would overwhelm hospitals would just as soon come to buy out entire shelves of our stock. Unlike most other grocery stores, though, we always had something for our shoppers to pick. While we couldn’t ever rely on getting everything we needed, shipments were still coming in weekly. There have been plenty of times where customers come to my lane, upset about out-of-stock items. I’ve had to let shoppers know exactly how clueless I was; I never knew when the next time I’d see any particular item, nor did the managers ordering them. I would get asked about hand sanitizers and dry goods, as much as I would get asked about sales and store hours. Half the time, the most I could do was shrug my shoulders and ring up their orders.

Being a cashier, there was always a lot of changes that would go past me. New implications like panes of plexiglass and one-way entrances were edged into my typical workday, week by week. I’d hear from my superior, who would hear from their superior, who would hear from corporate. Some changes I would find out about the day they happened, while others would come to my ear as rumors first. At times we impose limits on certain goods, like meats and water, but it has definitely cooled down in the last 3 weeks, compared to the initial first wave of the outbreak.

In the time that the first wave died down and people started adjusting to new forms of normal, there were social distancing posters and floor markers everywhere. Having to wear masks and gloves, as well as strict cleaning policies. Of all of these new implementations, I was most surprised to watch a whole new department form over the course of two weeks. The store gathered a few select employees to create a curbside delivery department. It was strange to have a coworker appear as any typical masked customer, but sure enough, they’ve made a legitimate workflow of things. New employees have appeared en masse, relative to how many new people I’ve seen since working there.

Sad enough to say, a lot of the newer employees give me an edge of uncertainty. Brooding as I may, I can absolutely understand why anyone would be so discordant. There are still the struggles of on boarding in the beginning, and every department has its own unique set of challenges with shoppers and area-specific responsibilities. As a cashier, issues like conflicting sales prices and shopper confusion are only made worse when limits and restrictions keep adding to the process of things. But it’s not only on the employer/employee side of consumer business that suffers from miscommunication. Our shoppers are facing their own types of confusion.

Typical shopping hours were reduced and have been restored, and still, a large number of regular shoppers are not aware of that just yet. While part of me wants to let everyone know that we’re completely back in business, I am still very glad to not have too many customer-related issues in my closing time. Instead of receiving an influx of shoppers, our evening traffic dies out perhaps an hour and a half before closing. Our esteemed guests are also finding themselves confounded by things like the pre-packaged self-serve items and our policy on reusable bags. Even things like returns and coupons have seemed to alter slightly from how they were once accepted.

In a matter of months, the store’s policy on refunds have changed several times and now relies on the approval of a manager, prior to giving one. The item almost never goes back on the shelves. Coupons have only recently started to resurface, and barely any are store-exclusive but comes with the product. I’ve come to realize that our shoppers reflect the varied reactions and feelings of everyone else, as a species.

Some of our customers walk around without a face mask or any other type of PPE, from either lack of concern or from basing the severity of the pandemic on solely their own health. On the other hand, there are whole families, concerned with even having their items touch anything that isn’t their own hands. From validated germaphobes and confident conspirators to fed up medical assistants and recently unemployed individuals, people everywhere are seemingly showing the fear, doubt, hubris, optimism, hope, exasperation, and the other infinite arrays of feelings that this chapter of American life has invoked in me.

Working as an essential employee, namely a grocery store cashier, has been an absolute whirlwind of changes appearing and dissolving before they’re even recognized. A lot of the time I find myself taking things shift-to-shift basis. I do what I can in the day, smiling (and sometimes cursing) behind a mask. Even still, I find that I need a lot of help. Had I not been in close quarters with such incredible coworkers, I doubt that all the experience in the world could make me a good enough closer. These days, it’s even more important to know who you’re closest to, and if you happen to be working as an essential worker, chances are, you’re going to have to get to know who you’re working with.

 

10 Best Things to Do In Madison, Wisconsin
Best Things To Do In Santa Fe, New Mexico
10 Best Things to Do in Santa Fe, New Mexico
Best Things to do in Best Things to Do in Albuquerque
10 Best Things to Do in Albuquerque, New Mexico
10 Best Things To Do In Oakland, California
10 Best Things to Do in Oakland, California
Best Hats For Summer
7 Best Hats For Summer
7 Maxi Summer Dresses For 2020
7 Maxi Summer Dresses For 2020
9 Pairs Of Cute Summer Pajamas You Will Love
9 Pairs Of Cute Summer Pajamas You Will Love
Hot Bikinis For Summer 2020
10 Hot Bikinis For Summer 2020
15 Best Records Stores In New York For Vinyl, CDs, & Other Cool Stuff
Shopping In San Francisco
Top 5 Places To Go Shopping In San Francisco
Shopping In Atlanta
Top 5 Places to Go Shopping in Atlanta
Shopping In Las Vegas
Top 5 Places To Go Shopping In Las Vegas
Best King Size Mattresses For Back Pain
10 Best King Size Mattresses For Back Pain
Self Care Products You Need For Summer
7 Self Care Products You Need For Summer
tips for a better bath experience
Tips And Ingredients For The Best Bath Experience
Grace & Stella Anti-Wrinkle + Energizing Gold Collagen Eye
Review Grace & Stella Anti-Wrinkle+Energizing Gold Collagen Eye Mask
Home Spa Experience
4 Ways To The Perfect Home Spa Experience
Las Vegas Spas
Top 5 Spas In Las Vegas
Spas in Salt Lake City
5 Best Spas In Salt Lake City, Utah
The 5 Best Spas in Paris
10 Best Restaurants In Flagstaff, Arizona
10 Best Restaurants In Flagstaff, Arizona
Best Restaurants In Phoenix, Arizona
10 Best Restaurants In Phoenix, Arizona
Best Restaurants in Tallahassee
5 Best Restaurants In Tallahassee Not To Miss
5 Best Restaurants In Raleigh
5 Best Restaurants in Raleigh, North Carolina
Boston California Chicago Florida Georgia Las Vegas Minnesota New Orleans New York North Carolina San Francisco Seattle Texas Virginia
Best Things To Do In Santa Fe, New Mexico
10 Best Things to Do in Santa Fe, New Mexico
Best Things to do in Best Things to Do in Albuquerque
10 Best Things to Do in Albuquerque, New Mexico
10 Best Things To Do In Oakland, California
10 Best Things to Do in Oakland, California
London Manchester York
London Bin Man
Working As A London Bin Man During The Covid-19 Pandemic
Best Hotels in Manchester
5 Best Hotels In Manchester, England
Manchester Museums
Exploring The Best Of Manchester’s Museums And Galleries
Paris
The 5 Best Spas in Paris
Amorino Gelato
Amorino Gelato Is The Place For Amazing Gelato In Paris
French Snails
Why You Must Try Snails In France
Rome Venice
5 Best Hotels In Venice
5 Best Hotels In Venice, Italy
Lost In Venice
Getting Lost In Venice: And Why It’s So Much Fun
Deserted Venice
Exploring Deserted Venice In The Summer
Best Amsterdam Sandwich
Best Amsterdam Sandwich In Amsterdam
Heineken Experience Tour
Why Amsterdam’s Heineken Experience Tour Is So Much Fun
Amsterdam's Canals
How To Experience The Beauty of Amsterdam’s Canals
Amsterdam Bicycles
Amsterdam Bicycles Keep Tourists Eyes Off Their Cellphones
Cologne
Munich City Center
Exploring The Munich City Center
Top 5 Hotels In Cologne
Top 5 Hotels In Cologne, Germany
Beer Gardens
The Joy Of Germany’s Beer Gardens
Shopping In Vancouver
Top 5 Places To Go Shopping In Vancouver
Date Night Ideas In Vancouver
5 Best Date Night Ideas In Vancouver
Best Hotels In Vancouver
5 Best Hotels in Vancouver
Top 5 Coffee Shops In Vancouver
Top 5 Coffee Shops In Vancouver