A few months ago, there was still a debate around raising the minimum wage. Now? Look who’s putting in the hours while the rest of us get to watch Netflix.
There are a lot of heroes showing America what our best looks like right now. There are obviously healthcare personnel working long hours, saving lives around the clock. There are truck drivers and delivery workers ensuring that we’re getting our packages and daily mail. There are cooks and other workers in the food service industry who’ve changed up what curbside looks like with offering amended menus as a different option instead of cooking.
One group of people who may not be top of mind are grocery store workers. These are the folks ringing up your Hungry Man dinners and boxes of ramen, stocking the shelves, and keeping America fed. They’re working around the clock to keep life moving.
But there are things we can do to make sure that we’re helping keep their jobs—and them—safer. None of these are rocket science. Everything is self-explanatory, but these should be taken seriously. Here are a few simple things to keep in mind while we’re practicing social distancing and being mindful of our surroundings:
Don’t come to the store “just to get out of the house”
If you don’t need to buy essentials, stay home. If you’re bored, go for a walk or play catch with your kids in the yard. The grocery store is not the place for a casual stroll. People are trying to get in and out.
Also, don’t bring the kids. This is not the time for a family trip. Get your Wheaties and split.
If you’re not feeling well, stay home
Seriously. We shouldn’t have to tell you this. Don’t go anywhere but to the hospital if you’re not feeling well.
Whatever is sold out is sold out. Don’t complain to workers about supply chain issues they can’t control, and don’t ask them to check if there’s something in the back. Right now, we’re all making sacrifices. You not getting your favorite brand of cheese pizza is what it is. The hours are what they are so workers can restock the shelves safely. Getting mad doesn’t help anyone.
Respect personal space
Don’t try to reach over people to get your bag of BBQ Lays. There are enough cans of Pepsi for everyone. Most stores have specific markers set up for people to mind their space, so please respect them.
Another big no-no? Getting too close to any of the stockers. They’re just trying to do their jobs, and no one wants random shoppers in their personal space, especially now.
Don’t be “that guy”
This isn’t a hoax, and people aren’t overreacting. There’s a real medical emergency occurring, and there’s a death toll attached. We’re all trying to protect as many people as possible, so save your conspiracy theories for Facebook.
Don’t tell employees how “lucky” they are to be working right now.
If there are special hours for elderly, pregnant, or immunocompromised customers or medical workers, don’t try to shop then. These hours are set up for a reason. If you’re feeling fine and need some garbage bags, you can wait like everyone else.
Don’t be a hoarder
It’s still a mystery why everyone is hoarding toilet paper, but don’t. Also, please be rational with the hand sanitizer. There’s plenty of hand soap, so buy that.
Keep the people working the registers in mind
You’re going to have to touch the keypad. It’s ok. You can wash your hands directly afterward. Don’t try to sanitize the machine first. Worst case: buy gloves. If you can, use your card instead of cash to help reduce exposure for everyone.
Lastly, be kind. Everyone is dealing with the situation. Show these folks your respect. They’re risking their health for us. Don’t be rude. Be courteous and respect personal space. As long as we follow the rules, we’ll get through this pandemic.