My experience as a supermarket manager and dealing with Coronavirus

These past two weeks have been such an incredibly frustrating time for me. Everyone in the world has seen their daily lives changed somehow by the public health crisis we’re facing with COVID-19, and as a manager in a major supermarket, I have had a front row seat the ridiculous reactionary behaviour of the general public. And quite frankly; it’s just gets me so mad.

From a personal standpoint, I’d love nothing more than to lock myself up in my flat for two or three weeks, catch up on all the movies, video games and blogging that work has prevented me from doing these past 12 months. Just enjoy some relaxing seclusion for a while. Unfortunately, I’m not afforded that luxury, due to being one of the “low skilled workers” that is keeping the very fabric of civilised society from breaking down.

It’s not like I’d struggle on my own, seeing the news and knowing quarantine was a possibility, I spent two weeks buying two or three items every day and building up a stock of tinned and frozen food that’ll probably last me a month. And if everyone had done the same thing, then there would be no panic that I’m seeing every evening as I walk into barren shelves and every morning as I see the shop floor flooded with people showing up as soon as we open.

People who are buying as much as they’re allowed to get away with, people who are supposed to be avoiding contact with each other as much as humanly possible, people who are angrily berating staff about us not having any bread in yet when they’ve probably got 10 to 20 backs of pasta stashed in a cupboard at home.

The magnitude of selfish and greedy behaviour I’m seeing day in and day out is making me angry to the point I had to remove myself from a situation the other day, lest I tell the customer what I really think about their actions and their attitude towards me and my staff who are just trying to do our jobs.

There is no issue with supply, we’ve been getting delivery in the same as we always have. Yet the trade is tenfold the size it normally is this time of year, people are buying far more than they normally do, yet seem to think we’re not getting the delivery in. Thus they panic and buy a bunch more stuff they most likely don’t need.

It all came to a head on the morning of my most recent shift. The store was only opening its doors for the first hour of trade for the elderly and vulnerable people. The doors opened to the most people I’ve ever seen within the store, which feels counterproductive to the entire point of the damned exercise.

Hence why I was so angry.

Why exactly are people hoarding so much stuff? Because they think there’s going to be a point where we run out? Which won’t happen. Because they’re worried they’re going to get sick? I wasn’t worried about having the virus before, but after seeing the sheer amount of people in the store that morning, I certainly am now.

We’re supposed to be avoiding other people as much as possible, cinemas, restaurants and other locations for public gatherings have all been shut down, yet I’ve been to football games with less people than I had to interact with that morning. It defeats the very fucking purpose of all this hoarding when you’re going to rub elbows with all the dumbest mother fuckers who seem to think they need to buy as much as possible multiple times a week.

As empty as the shelves are, there is still food on them. If you’re than worried about supply and being stuck inside then sit down, make a plan and just make use of what there is at hand. I’ve had so many people angry about a lack of bread. You don’t need bread to live. There are tons of potatoes, fruit and vegetables coming in every day. There is no shortage of milk, there is plenty of fresh food.

And don’t get me started on the whole toilet roll thing. If you’re that fucking desperate then jump into the shower, it’s not going to kill you.

I’m aware that this just devolved into a rant, but I feel like I’m getting a front row seat to some of the worst aspect of humanity during this health crisis. Like with everything, if people could just exercise any degree of moderation, then we wouldn’t be walking into empty shelves at supermarkets and we wouldn’t be exposing ourselves to the greatest possible opportunity of spreading this virus to as many people as humanly possible.

It’s the selfishness, the shortsightedness and the sheer lack of common sense that’s genuinely making me more worried than anything else going on. I’m not looking forward to going back and exposing myself to it all again next week, thankfully nothing has devolved to violence yet, but is it just a matter of time until I find myself in that pointless event.

8 thoughts on “My experience as a supermarket manager and dealing with Coronavirus

  1. “due to being one of the “low skilled workers” that is keeping the very fabric of civilised society from breaking down.”

    First, I hope you’re being sardonic about being a low-skilled worker. I’ve tried to work in customer service. And after having done everything from working on a family farm to designing complex e-commerce systems, I can say with certainty that customer service is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

    And yes, I think super markets are one of the binding agents holding civilization together right now!

    So, thanks for your hard work!

    Where I live, not only is toilet paper in short supply, but so is bottled water. In a pandemic, one of the last things to fail will be municipal water service. I honestly don’t understand the need to hoard water.

    Eggs, too. They have a definite shelf life. Why hoard them?

    On a more positive note, I had to go to the grocery store today. Well, four of them to get everything I “needed,” but in each, I saw instances where folks intentionally were kind to one another. From a more mobile person helping someone in a wheel chair to someone simply letting a worker with a cart pass in front of them with an encouraging smile, I was relieved to see we haven’t degenerated to the point where we’re on the verge of violence.

    I hope things settle down for you soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, There are more and more changes happening as I’m off these few three days. We’re only opening 8 till 8 now, I have no idea if that’s going to make things better or worse. But it also means I’m not going to be having to see any customers at all for the foreseeable future as my night shifts don’t overlap at all.

      So less chance of me getting sick I suppose.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Just wanted to say that I’m grateful to you and to everyone else who works an essential job and is continuing to serve the public during these crazy times. I’m sure it’s really difficult to deal with stressed out and panicky people everyday, but I hope you know your efforts are appreciated, even if it doesn’t seem like it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There have been a ton of rules come into effect in the few days since I’ve been in, so I have no idea what expect next time I’m there, but I feel like things are coming under control a little now.


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