Be mindful of retail workers during COVID-19


Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Ruby Veloz, Staff Reporter

If I had a dollar for each time I heard, “Oh thank god you’re open I just couldn’t live without my coffee,” the past week, I’d have enough money to safely isolate myself at home from this pandemic without worrying about bills.

However, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it seems as though every customer at my job is having a hard time being aware of the class divide and how it is shaping people’s reactions to this pandemic.

As people rush in to buy their supply of coffee to last for the shelter in place order or come in just for their morning latte, it makes me wonder if they’re taking any time to think of the employees at their favorite little shop.

Part of my job as a barista requires trying to engage customers in a personal conversation but unfortunately, the effort is hardly reciprocated. This lack of effort leaves the hundreds of customers who everyday walk into the coffee shop I work at completely oblivious to the reality that my coworkers and I face.

The common sentiment shared amongst my coworkers and me is one of sheer confusion. Here are people who hold the privilege to work from home. Yet every time I say “Hey must be nice you get to work from home right now,” it’s met with an, “Oh god no, I’m so bored I don’t know how I’ll survive this,” by the customer.

However, it is us working in the shops who are actually wondering how we’ll survive this. We don’t get the luxury of just worrying about how to pass the time, or what can cure our boredom. I spend my days hoping I don’t get sick and endanger my household because people can’t seem to get over their caffeine addiction.

In times like these, I think I can speak on behalf of retail workers when I say it’s best to be mindful. Maximum exposure to people at this time, combined with low wages and poor health insurance, have retail workers across the U.S scared for what the future holds for us.

Before you complain about a boring stay-at-home job, realize so many of us supplying you with the necessities to make shelter-in-place bearable also wish we had the privilege to stay home.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay