I am an essential worker. I am currently a grocery store worker at Costco Wholesale since the worldwide shutdown due to COVID-19. To clarify I became a grocery worker because of COVID-19. I am thankful and grateful for this opportunity and experience this company have provided me.
Being a college student and working full time, my schedule has been all over the place. When I’m not in my zoom classes I am at work for a five to an eight-hour shift. Being in the frontlines during COVID-19 I sometimes worry if I will test positive in the future that will cause my family to be exposed. However, I have to remind myself to keep clean, drink water and follow social distaining requirements. I do my best to keep distance and minimize my interaction with customers though some customers act like we aren’t battling a pandemic.
Since working at Costco there has been new changes in their policy. Every time I clock into work, all the workers are required to do a screening. We all line up, six feet apart, waiting before we begin work. We are asked a series of questions related to COVID-19:
“Have you experienced symptoms of COVID-19 such as shortness of breath, fever and nauseous?”
“Have you come into contact with someone with COVID-19?”
“Have you traveled within the last three days?”
Questions I all answer with no. I haven’t traveled or come into contact with anyone besides my family. My family doesn’t have COVID-19, we haven’t interacted with anyone besides each other. This screening is very important not only to the supervisors but to the staff as well because it helps everyone keep on track of their health. Costco provides us mask before we work. Everyone in Costco is required to wear masks, even the customers. Customers will be asked to leave if they don’t wear a mask. The screening sometimes is scary because of doubt. I wonder if I have shortness of breath or its just me breathing through the mask? It’s in these movements I remind myself to practice social distancing and that I am in a safe place.
I am in a safe place at Costco. I know some people would think their home is their safe place but Costco has made it safe for their employees. In every department there is someone cleaning and wiping down high-traffic in the store. I am one of those people. In the beginning, before we were required to wear masks, I would assistant the cashier, meaning I would help bag and place the customers items in their carts. During that time people were still trying to get use to social distancing. Now whenever someone coughs or sneezes the whole room looks and moves away. Even if there is a cough or sneeze, Costco makes sure that every little thing, down to the key pads, are sanitized and cleaned.
As I mentioned in the beginning, there has been changes in the store for everyone, even the customers. In the food court the only available items are; cheese pizza, pepperoni pizza, hot dog and a foundation drink. Everyday there is a new limit or sold out items.
And, everyday there is a person faithfully cleaning the; conveyor belts, keypads, the cart handles, every door in the bathroom stall, deli area, and door handles for the freezers and coolers. Every registrar has a plastic plexiglass separating the cashier from the customer. All the sinks in the restroom also have a plastic plexiglass that divides the people. In line there is a circle that shows how far apart each customer should be.
With all the new changes customers have appreciated the new changes made in the store for their safety. A lot of “thank yous” and “you’re doing amazing” really boosts your energy during those eight-hour shifts. Sometimes you forget how long you’ve been there.
Even in the unknown I have found rhythm and a routine. Sometimes I don’t like waking up at six am for work. Everyday might not be perfect but it is a blessing. A blessing to work for a company that not only values their customers but their employees as well.