What it is like to work in a grocery store now

During+this+pandemic%2C+grocery+workers+are+put+to+work+despite+social+distancing+regulations.+Fear+of+infection+and+dealing+with+customers+hoarding+are+two+of+the+many+challenges+workers+are+facing+during+this+time.

Shriya Vanparia

During this pandemic, grocery workers are put to work despite social distancing regulations. Fear of infection and dealing with customers hoarding are two of the many challenges workers are facing during this time.

Shreya Beldona, Staff Writer

Coppell resident and Natural Grocers cashier Amanda Larsen never thought working in a grocery store would involve constant sanitization, switching out gloves and face masks. Yet, due to coronavirus, these changes and behaviors have been common. Despite not being able to work at home, Larsen faces these changes while also maintaining a positive attitude.

Has working in a grocery store increased or decreased your fear of the coronavirus?

It’s probably decreased because I have to deal with [coronavirus] first hand. Instead of being at home and becoming more fearful of what could be, I still have to get out there and go to work every day. 

What is the most intense experience for you during the pandemic? 

It was when everybody first started freaking out and were running through the grocery store and the hoarding began. None of us were expecting all that. We are just trying to go through the motions. People were panicked and the people who weren’t panicked were getting worked up because of the people that were panicking. But then you have those people who were still just coming to get their normal stuff and weren’t going to feed into the frenzy. 

Mostly, I just want to go and bring love and joy [to the store] every day. We all need it more right now.”

— Amanda Larsen

What are some of your thoughts while working?

Sometimes it’s like “Oh, does that have [coronavirus] on it? Oh, I have to spray my hands again. I just touched my face. This mask isn’t fitting.” But [my coworkers and I] are happy to be working and still have a job. 

What is the most over-the-top measure a customer has taken?

There was one person who had gloves, sunglasses, a mask and a shield over the top of that, and they were still jumping back when somebody would get even a little bit close. [Their response] was exaggerated and it’s sad a person has to feel that way. 

What are some of your thoughts while heading to work?

“I don’t want to be late” or “Oh shoot, I forgot my mask.” Mostly, I just want to go and bring love and joy [to the store] every day. We all need it more right now. We are all really stressed out. If there is any guidance that I can show them and have peace and love with myself and what I do every day, then that’s a good thing.

How do you feel after you have finished your shift?

I have tired feet because [my job] is physically demanding. Other than that, I feel good. I usually am happy that I went to work. A lot of customers are grateful [that I work] so people are pretty nice. 

Do you consider your job to be dangerous or life-threatening now?

I guess it is now. I don’t really think of it that way because it’s just my job, it’s just what I do. It is how I support myself and my family. I like what I do. I would normally think a [dangerous/life-threatening] job would be a policeman or somebody in the service, not working at a grocery store. 

How have your family members reacted to you working during this time?

[It] has been hard for them to adapt to. I have to sanitize as best as possible when I get off of work. They understand that it is also my job and I’m lucky to have it. I really can’t blame them, [my job] is a front line [job]. I take measures into my own hands and try to be as sanitized and respectable as possible when I come home. 

What do you think about coronavirus-related changes in your workplace?

I feel like I can’t breathe in my mask. I’m just going with it. It is a bit sad that we are all having to go through [these changes] in the first place. I haven’t really thought about it, I just keep going. Watching everybody go through the motions of [life and work] on the front lines is hard.

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