Yes, I’m one of the very few that is still working during the virus pandemic. As of right now, I’m enjoying my very last day of time off by the time you are reading this, I’m probably at work by the morning. During the days off, I’ve been doing lots of thinking and gathering all my mentality before I go back to chaos.
A lot of my friends have been laid off, some were able to apply for unemployment while others are not that lucky. Even with the stimulus payment, it’s not enough for them to survive through these next few months. A few of them even told me that I must be so lucky to still be working. Eh, I say it’s half and half. Sure, I’m glad that I’m still working. I’m still getting money. What else can be worse? Everything.
I work at Joann Fabrics and Crafts. I’m not sure if anyone would consider the store to be essential as we don’t carry any household items such as cleaning supplies. The least that the stores do carry are handsoaps. Additionally, we do carry supplies for small businesses. I’m also sure that most of you have probably heard about store employees upset over at how the CEO refused to shut down all the stores. Although, some stores have been shut down by their local authorities. The store I work at and all the other Joann stores in the same region remains open. Needless to say, things have been hectic. I’m not even going to go into details, because it will turn into a mini-series drama.
The reason why I dread so much going to work now is mainly because of customers and how corporate is treating retail employees. Like any other store, Joann is also starting to limit their customers. So of course, there is a line and you have to wait until it’s your turn to come in. A lot of the customers don’t understand that there are people waiting outside to shop. So, they like to take their little time looking around. I once approached a customer to informed her that there were other customers waiting and she had been in the store for over an hour. She was upset, so she stormed out. She left nothing for us to put back too because we didn’t have what she originally came for. She didn’t grab a shopping cart or shopping bag. Moreover, I have overheard her talking on the phone that she was going to browse some more waiting for her friend to come.
We even had customers waiting in line who comes in and then gets upset when I ran out of what they wanted to buy. I want to make something clear. Joann doesn’t carry essential supplies, we carry crafting supplies. Corporate did not send out an email telling stores to limit how much customers can buy. I had even told a few of my friends, that if the products in the stores were considered essential, then Corporate would have sent a memo to limit the amount customers purchased. First, it was toilet paper, then it was elastics. What’s next? Interfacing? 100% cotton materials? Sewing machines under $100?
I really hate how customers don’t follow the six feet rule. There were a few consecutive days, that I had to make ten announcements within an hour time frame asking customers to stay six feet apart. I was getting frustrated with customers not following the social distancing rule. I was getting tired of babysitting them. Moreover, corporate wants employees to cut as many bandanas we can per day, to hand out to customers who are not wearing face masks. As soon as I saw that message, I was just telling myself Joann is a joke. I’m already worrying about my health, I don’t have the time or energy to worry about some customer’s health. Last time I check my job description when I apply, babysitting or “adult” sitting was not listed.
There was this one day I was talking to a friend. This friend is a nurse. She was telling me about how she feels unappreciated by her patients during this hard time. I told her I most definitely understand, but that I was jealous of her. I told her that at least many sewers across the nation are coming together making these masks to give out to hospitals, nursing homes, the elderly, and whoever whatever. But not us. Not the essential workers and not the nonessential workers. I reminded her that there are many posts on social media platforms praising all the doctors and nurses for all hard work and effort. But what about the people that stock the meat at the grocery store? What about the people selling liquor because apparently that’s considered an essential business in some states?
I told her we, the retail employees, are the forgotten population. That for once, I would really appreciate it if the customers at Joann just show the slightest appreciation for us remaining open. Everyone that is out of work is telling us that we’re lucky to be working. However, I want to tell them that yes I’m lucky to be working, but that’s because I’m lucky that I haven’t gotten the virus yet as well. I reminded her that her patients may be annoying the crap of out her right now, but so are my customers. Sadly, we’re both in the same boat.
I really am happy that I have not yet gotten the virus, despite having so many customers coming in and informing us about how they know of someone who has the virus. Some even come to shop even though their doctor had ordered them to stay home until their results are out. Still, I’m happy that because I have not gotten the virus I’m able to work. What I don’t appreciate is a customer coming to shop even though he/she is supposed to be quarantine under doctor’s orders. Customers yelling at me or my coworkers because we ran out of something we did have in stock. No, I don’t appreciate it.
If you are told to stay quarantine because you went to get tested, don’t go out before your results are in. If your results are negative, great. However, what if your results came back positive?! Do you know how many people you may have infected? Yet, you’re busy telling everyone you come across to stay safe. It will be a whole lot safer if you would have stayed at home. Also, if you know someone who has been tested positive for the virus and had made contact with that person. Then get yourself to the nearest available testing location! Don’t go out shopping and informing people you come across. Lastly, if we ran out of what you want, don’t get upset at us. We understand that you waited in line, but you had the option to call the store asking to put on hold a specific amount for you.
Of all my years working in retails, working the COVID-19, is the worse. I feel like these customers are just eating me alive. They get upset because we don’t have what they want and all the other crafting/sewing places are closed. When they ask why we don’t carry what it is they’re looking for, they get upset, then rude and they want to call corporate to make a complaint. They tell us to stay safe, but then they turned around telling us that they know someone who got tested positive, or that they were supposed to stay home until their results were back.
If you are a customer out and about shopping around, please just be nice to the store employees. If you have been laid off I hope you get your unemployment benefits as soon as possible. I also hope that you will find a job soon because grocery stores are hiring I don’t know what else is hiring in your state. Finally, if you are an essential worker or a nonessential worker, stay strong and take a mini-vacation to refresh your mind and spirit if needed. Everyone stay safe