Working retail gives me a front row seat to the impact the coronavirus is having on our community. For the most part, people in my area seem to have calmed down. No more lines down the aisles. Most items back in stock with the exception of toilet paper, hand soap, thermometers, etc.
Customers with whom I’ve interacted have been polite and grateful we’re still open and operating. Many say, “Stay healthy. Stay safe,” at the end of the transaction, as opposed to, “Have a good day.” However, I do not cashier in grocery – oh, man! Some folks don’t handle it well when we limit the number of particular products per customer or are unable to sell them toilet paper right now! One woman demanded to know why we weren’t stocking shelves. “I don’t see anyone putting things out! There’s no toilet paper! That aisle is completely empty!” as if we were unaware. Another woman approached one of the employees and questioned, “What’s going on?” My coworker had to explain the coronavirus and its impact on daily life. She had no idea! How does that happen?
I’m wearing gloves when I’m handling cash. I wash my hands frequently and more effectively. Hand sanitizer is available to us and I use that too. I’m taking Echinacea and, occasionally, black elderberry syrup which are supposed to support the immune system. However, I interact with the general public for hours at a time.
Discussing the situation with a woman, I admitted I’m kind of resigned to getting it. She passionately responded, “Oh no! Don’t put that out there. Plan not to get it. You look like a healthy, young woman. You’re strong.” “I’m 55.” The customer said, “Well, I’m 65 and I’m not gonna get it!”
Although these frequent precautions are tiresome very quickly, and this is a marathon, not a sprint; I will make them part of my new normal. Part of me thinks, “Screw it. I’ll do business as usual and get sick or not.” My husband, though, wants me to take precautions, and I will. I’ll keep ya posted.
p.s. Literally, the moment I hit ‘publish,’ a woman on the White House taskforce said, “Avoid touching hard surfaces outside your home. Do not spend time around people, even asymptomatic, because we’re contagious before we feel sick.” These are the two things I do all day at work! For the sake of the fervor of the woman encouraging me to think positively – “I’m not gonna get sick. I’m not gonna get sick. I’m not gonna….”