The Importance of Retail Workers-#COVIDDiariesOfACC


Image via Photo by Allie Smith on Unsplash

A white paper hung up at grocery store on March 27, 2020. It is posted in the paper isle limiting households of only two paper products.

Mckenzie Marner, Contributing Writer

How have students at Arapahoe Community College felt since the strong changes brought on by COVID-19? #COVIDDiariesOfACC is a mini-series composed of non-fiction diary entries from students at ACC. Thank you to the student contributing writers for these pieces to publish on the Arapahoe Pinnacle.

By Mckenzie Marner

Hmmm, how’s my COVID-19 life? Weird. Very weird.

Obviously, the coronavirus has been a thing in the world for months now, but I never thought it would affect me. That is, until about three weeks ago when everything started closing down.

I must say, I have never experienced such radical change in such a short amount of time in my life. It was shocking for sure. Surprisingly, I was also sad, because I had just gotten into the rhythm of class discussions and student relationships. For fiction writing, we had just gotten done workshopping, which benefited me SO much. My world was flipped upside down in the span of two days, and it flipped me with it.

I am currently sitting at my desk, in my room, in front of my computer, doing schoolwork, listening to my younger brother play video games next door. Which I’ve been doing nearly all day. I’d like to say the switch to online hasn’t been terrible to me, given I was home-schooled all the way from kindergarten to senior year of high school. But all the same, learning from home is something to get used to again.

I’ve been following the stay-at-home order as much as I can, given I work as a cashier at Target. We’ve been constantly updating our cleaning requirements, to the point where we are now cleaning every lane between each transaction. Thankfully, most people I’ve experienced have been very patient (as they should be, honestly). Just this past weekend, I had multiple people come up to me while I was cleaning carts or whatnot and thank me. This must be what firefighters or military feel when people thank them; I’m just doing my job. I do find it ironic that people are just now realizing, in the midst of a pandemic, how vital the retail industry is, and how lost we’d be without it.

The weirdest experience I’ve gotten out of working at Target during this pandemic would have to be this. I was at the guest service desk answering a call, and the lady on the other line started describing her ordeal. She was having explosive diarrhea from something she ate and was now out of toilet paper. I was completely taken off guard. I tried giving her information about our supply of toilet paper(at that moment, non-existent, but we’ll be restocked at 7:00 AM tomorrow) and our drive-up options, but she was sitting on the toilet as we spoke and couldn’t make use of anything I was telling her. She got increasingly frustrated with me, asking if she should use raw meat or her cat to clean herself. At this point, I was done with the conversation and was unsure how I was supposed to help her, and I just kept telling her to ask her doctor. She eventually hung up, and I tried (unsuccessfully) to go about my business. I’m not entirely sure why she called the Target service desk to ask what she should wipe her butt with. I almost feel bad for her if some random minimum wage retail worker is her first line of defense in a predicament like that.

Being separated from people hasn’t been great. At first, the notion of online school was nice. I figured I would have the ability to go hang out with friends, but that’s not a physical possibility anymore. My best friend, who’s been at college across the country for the past three months, is now home and ten minutes away, but I’ve only been able to see her in person once, and I don’t know how long it’ll be before I see her in-person again.

On the bright side, I’ve seen an increase in email chains, text chains, Instagram chains, etc. that are spreading encouragement. I’ve seen social media influencers asking their followers who work in retail what customers can do to help them with their job, and I’ve personally appreciated that a lot. People at my church have stepped up to sew surgical masks for the medical community, and I believe they’ve made over a hundred at this point. The future is uncertain, but there’s still some hope out there.

Here’s to the future, whatever it may hold, may we all find peace.