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Retail staff of "essential" services, how are you?


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#1 SkeptiHandsOnMum

Posted 28 March 2020 - 07:49 PM

This is prompted by both of my young adults working for an 'essential" retail store. They are exhausted. How are you all holding up?

DD said that today was busier than any normal weekend shift. She has concerns that people who think it is "essential" to buy most of what they are selling are also people unlikely to be taking the whole thing, and hand hygiene etc seriously. She feels they are placing her at risk (though looks forward to her two weeks isolation ... I did explain that she might well feel unwell during them). She is exhausted and emotional by the time she holds it in all day and smiles and nods.

She is tired of being abused over and over again for things that are so obviously not her decision or in her control.

On the flip side, today she had a lovely couple wait nearby (not *that* nearby) until she was between customers to tell her "you are doing a great job". I wonder if they realise the difference that they made to her.

It is great to still have employment, but being in retail right now must be bloody hard work.

#2 Mmmcheese

Posted 28 March 2020 - 07:52 PM

Yeah, I really feel for the retail workers right now. They are really at risk, and probably not that well remunerated. I'm not seeing them much at the moment, but I do my very best to smile and be nice when I am a customer.

#3 PrincessPeach

Posted 28 March 2020 - 07:54 PM

The staff were looking rather stressed out at my shops today - poor things.

#4 (feral)epg

Posted 28 March 2020 - 07:56 PM

I'm not retail - I'm a vet.
People are panic buying veterinary services in my area (that dental procedure we've been telling you to do for 3 years is suddenly necessary now?), whereas in other areas they're euthanising animals as their owners lose employment.
Our clients are being great - even as we conduct consults over the phone and don't allow ANY non employees access to our premises.
I still have a job, and our nurses still have a job and we're thankful for that, but on the other hand I've resigned myself to not seeing my mother for the next few months in case I catch something from work and despite access to PPE and much much better knowledge about infection control than even most human health professionals I'm sure I'm going to get it - and then give my partner the equivalent of man flu or a few days stay in a hospital.
I'm trying to use some of my income to support local small businesses that might otherwise close - eg there is a community programme to pay local cafes to deliver meals to hospital staff etc
I am so sorry for people who work in normal retail for minimum wages without PPE and without knowledge and this must be so scary for them and still they have to turn up and do their shifts.

#5 SkeptiHandsOnMum

Posted 28 March 2020 - 07:59 PM

"Without PPE" ... my kids store gets them to put on latex gloves ... one pair worn until meal break, one pair after. Oh the ridiculousness of it all.

#6 (feral)epg

Posted 28 March 2020 - 08:06 PM

View PostSkeptiHandsOnMum, on 28 March 2020 - 07:59 PM, said:

"Without PPE" ... my kids store gets them to put on latex gloves ... one pair worn until meal break, one pair after. Oh the ridiculousness of it all.

Absolutely pointless.  Unless you're changing gloves between every social contact (which would frankly be irresponsible given the shortage of gloves at the moment).  You are actually better off washing your hands regularly or using hand sanitiser.

#7 Tinky Winky Woo

Posted 28 March 2020 - 08:14 PM

It's hard when you have someone who is obviously unwell come in claiming they are not sick.  They touch everything, cough, and ignore the distancing markers in the store.  I know you need to shop, I know you are entitled to shop, but please do not come in unwell, and do not touch everything with your hands and cough without covering your mouth properly.

Where I work has no way to put up plexiglass screens to protect us.  I am beginning to get nervous about being exposed.  Everyone else in my family are home safe, I am still out and every single day might be taking myself home infected.

#8 SkeptiHandsOnMum

Posted 28 March 2020 - 08:16 PM

View Post(feral)epg, on 28 March 2020 - 08:06 PM, said:

Absolutely pointless.  Unless you're changing gloves between every social contact (which would frankly be irresponsible given the shortage of gloves at the moment).  You are actually better off washing your hands regularly or using hand sanitiser.
Oh I know that. As do they. But that is what they are being made to do ... as they were saying, "it is to make the customers feel better".

#9 Soontobegran

Posted 28 March 2020 - 08:28 PM

View PostSkeptiHandsOnMum, on 28 March 2020 - 07:59 PM, said:

"Without PPE" ... my kids store gets them to put on latex gloves ... one pair worn until meal break, one pair after. Oh the ridiculousness of it all.

Good grief..


Like the lady I saw walking her dog out front today.....a mask that was hanging down as she smoked and a pair of blue latex gloves.

Edited by Soontobegran, 28 March 2020 - 08:29 PM.


#10 **Tiger*Filly**

Posted 28 March 2020 - 08:29 PM

My second daughter is at uni, lives at home with the other 5 of us, and works at Spotlight. They have been super busy the last few weeks, she says it’s crazy. And no-one is keeping their distance. She had a bloke yesterday ask her to check something to do with a crochet hook size and he came and literally put his face over her shoulder to look at what she was looking it up in. And she was stacking shelves with wool and said she had two separate women basically step on her, and one of them coughing. And people in line not maintaining social distancing even though they have markers on the floor now. And people leaning right up to her at the counter. I really can’t wait until they have to shut. Spotlight are online, they do not need to be open. I would happily support her with money (she only does two or three shifts a week anyway) but she feels under pressure to keep working. She is at least hand sanitising after every time someone pays cash.
I’ve been driving her to work and picking her up when I can so she doesn’t have to catch public transport.

Edited by **Tiger*Filly**, 28 March 2020 - 08:32 PM.


#11 kim27

Posted 28 March 2020 - 08:32 PM

View Post(feral)epg, on 28 March 2020 - 07:56 PM, said:

I'm not retail - I'm a vet.
People are panic buying veterinary services in my area (that dental procedure we've been telling you to do for 3 years is suddenly necessary now?), whereas in other areas they're euthanising animals as their owners lose employment.
Our clients are being great - even as we conduct consults over the phone and don't allow ANY non employees access to our premises.
I still have a job, and our nurses still have a job and we're thankful for that, but on the other hand I've resigned myself to not seeing my mother for the next few months in case I catch something from work and despite access to PPE and much much better knowledge about infection control than even most human health professionals I'm sure I'm going to get it - and then give my partner the equivalent of man flu or a few days stay in a hospital.
I'm trying to use some of my income to support local small businesses that might otherwise close - eg there is a community programme to pay local cafes to deliver meals to hospital staff etc
I am so sorry for people who work in normal retail for minimum wages without PPE and without knowledge and this must be so scary for them and still they have to turn up and do their shifts.

I’m so sorry, it must be really hard. So awful about the pets being put down (although not surprising).

#12 SeaPrincess

Posted 28 March 2020 - 08:38 PM

SkeptiHandsOnMum said:

1585390582[/url]' post='18598206']
Oh I know that. As do they. But that is what they are being made to do ... as they were saying, "it is to make the customers feel better".
It doesn’t make the customers feel better. It looks like they are protecting themselves, nothing to do with the customers. I’m not bothered by that - they are just as entitled to protect themselves, and probably have more need than I do. In our local shop, gloves don’t seem to be compulsory, but I won’t be shopping there during normal shopping hours again - it is busier than ever, and they don’t have any stock. But it’s open 24 hours, so I might set my alarm and go at 5am to avoid the crowds.

Edited by SeaPrincess, 28 March 2020 - 08:45 PM.


#13 Cimbom

Posted 28 March 2020 - 09:06 PM

It's funny how minimum wage workers get ripped off and short changed for so long but they become classed as "essential" when outside events start to impact the comfort of the well off :rolleyes:

#14 MarchyMama

Posted 28 March 2020 - 09:21 PM

I work in a pharmacy. We've had a new setup since last Monday with nobody but staff allowed inside the shop, and because of that I've been doing basically triple the number of steps to get to and from the front door, the register and the dispensary - we're hoping to find a long enough LAN cable that we can move the register closer to the door next week.

We're run off our feet. Suddenly that medication that the doctor prescribed six months ago (and they didn't fill at the time) is urgent. This week, people who haven't been taking their blood pressure medication except "when they need it" absolutely must have the brand name of the drug their doctor prescribed and they are desperate to get two months' supply filled as well.

Ventolin and asmol inhalers are going out the door as fast as we can get them off the truck. We don't have any hand sanitiser, tissues, thermometers, toilet paper or even basic hand wash in stock.

Paracetamol is gone, except for the last of our pharmacy brand Osteo and the soluble type. We're only getting approximately 60% of what we put onto our daily orders from the warehouse (either the drug order or the shop order).

Even things like vitamin C, cold and flu tablets and throat gargle are hard to come by as people are 'stocking up' on those so if/when they get sick they will have something to make the symptoms more manageable.

People seem to be falling into one of three categories

- people who think this is all over the top who will lean on our barrier and smirk at us as we wipe it down when they walk away, or look offended that we sanitise our hands after we handle cash or the EFTPOS machine

- people who realise this is serious and are doing what they can - they're holding their cards away from the machine for tap and go, only coming to us when they actually need something

- people who have gone full on paranoid and who seem to be coming out in public as some kind of performance to shame people who are doing it 'wrong', wearing masks and gloves but when we offer delivery insisting that they NEED to come in and see us and also paying with cash

It's frustrating to say the least.

#15 Gudrun

Posted 28 March 2020 - 09:38 PM

I have a niece working full time in a supermarket and she said where she is they are being treated decently.

#16 ~Peahen~

Posted 29 March 2020 - 07:30 AM

In retail here, in the beginning it was horrific. People seemed to take any inconvenience as a personal attack on them and were taking it out on us. It's like now that the seriousness is finally sinking in (for most) people are finally getting that were are all in the same boat and are being much more understanding.

Most are doing the right thing in our shop re: social distancing and other precautions but many are still being unreasonable. Whole families coming in to browse. Not keeping their distance. Abusing us because we don't take cash or offer refunds and wanting us to price match a whole trolley of goods but making us look up the various places to match to making the transaction take so much longer than it should. I'm in pet care......come in, grab your essentials and get out. Don't hold me up pondering which colour lead to buy while your kids run around my legs and play with the squeaky toys. Just pick one and get out.

I adore my regular customers, many of who are elderly (they are my favs). Sadly my area has been inundated with people coming from other areas to stay in their holiday homes, it's mostly these people who are doing the wrong thing, not taking it seriously and behaving very entitled.

We are down to the dregs of hand sanitiser and don't know when more will arrive. I finally got hold of some yesterday from a distillery to take in myself.

I sound so grumpy, I'm really not. We are mostly in great spirits, finding plenty to laugh and smile at and as a team are supporting each other. I'm very happy to still be going to work.

#17 Charli73

Posted 29 March 2020 - 07:54 AM

View Post**Tiger*Filly**, on 28 March 2020 - 08:29 PM, said:

My second daughter is at uni, lives at home with the other 5 of us, and works at Spotlight. They have been super busy the last few weeks, she says it’s crazy. And no-one is keeping their distance. She had a bloke yesterday ask her to check something to do with a crochet hook size and he came and literally put his face over her shoulder to look at what she was looking it up in. And she was stacking shelves with wool and said she had two separate women basically step on her, and one of them coughing. And people in line not maintaining social distancing even though they have markers on the floor now. And people leaning right up to her at the counter. I really can’t wait until they have to shut. Spotlight are online, they do not need to be open. I would happily support her with money (she only does two or three shifts a week anyway) but she feels under pressure to keep working. She is at least hand sanitising after every time someone pays cash.
I’ve been driving her to work and picking her up when I can so she doesn’t have to catch public transport.

My DH works in their head office and is on forced annual leave. Sales are up but on the flip side Anaconda are down and Easter is their busiest period after Christmas which was down after the fires. Not sure how long they will both be open for though. I really feel for all retail staff who probably want to be home too. They’re all doing a great job under the circumstances.


Edited by Charli73, 29 March 2020 - 07:58 AM.


#18 ~Peahen~

Posted 01 April 2020 - 06:59 AM

Just wanted to pop in and update.

I'm still ah work. I can't see us being closed, I think we'd be one of the last places to shut.

Yesterday I came home in tears. I didn't cope yesterday at all. We are trying to function within the 1 person per 4x4 rule. We have three registers but can only have two people serving at a time due to physical distancing. We need to monitor how many people are in any given area and ask people to step back or guide them to another space in the shop which some are not too happy with.

Lots of eye rolling, huffing and puffing and still whole families coming in. So Mum, Dad and two or so kids.

We are running out of hand sanitiser and if a whole family comes in and uses it in the way in and way out as they should but they are pumping away like it's the last time they will ever sanitise their hands then half a bottle is gone, just like that.

Limiting the amount of people going out for essentials is really important. It lowers our risk, it lowers your risk, it lowers the risk of those around you and it will make our effing hand sanitiser last longer.

I have today off, I don't want to go back tomorrow. I'm so torn. I'm very very grateful for my job, and I mostly love my job and my customers, but many people still aren't getting it.

Just because you can...... Doesn't mean you SHOULD.

#19 LightPink

Posted 01 April 2020 - 09:02 PM

I work in retail, a department store. I don’t want to be there anymore, most of my workmates don’t want to be there anymore. Wishing the Government would shut retail. Head office won’t shut us down, they’re probably gleeful that so many smaller stores are shutting on their own as it means more customers for us as no choice anymore. Sales events happening to increase sales which is meaning more customers in store.

Whole family groups are coming in store (kids bored at home I was told today), girlfriends and a pack of kids, older couples, teens in groups, lots of people who are working from home so now can pop to the shops during the day. Majority not observing social distancing, not staying away from staff, kids running around, lots and lots of browsing.

#20 ~Peahen~

Posted 01 April 2020 - 09:28 PM

Oh LightPink. It's so damn frustrating.  

There's absolutely no way I'd go into a department store right now. What could one possibly "need" that they can't get online if absolutely desperate.

I think shopping/spending/browsing is such a habbit for some they are just not thinking. Many people have never had to go without and don't have the confidence to try. I hope that makes sense.

#21 MadMarchMasterchef

Posted 02 April 2020 - 07:31 AM

View Post(feral)epg, on 28 March 2020 - 08:06 PM, said:

Absolutely pointless.  Unless you're changing gloves between every social contact (which would frankly be irresponsible given the shortage of gloves at the moment).  You are actually better off washing your hands regularly or using hand sanitiser.

Are gloves pointless to wear to go down and do my grocery shop and then dispose of before entering my house?  (obvs. wash hands as well)


I feel for retail staff and anybody else in roles that have customers or clients.  DH is in a role that deals with some public facing clients and a lot are from overseas.  Im scared honestly.  At least they are winding back so he can WFH more next week.

#22 MadMarchMasterchef

Posted 02 April 2020 - 07:33 AM

View Post~Peahen~, on 01 April 2020 - 09:28 PM, said:


There's absolutely no way I'd go into a department store right now. What could one possibly "need" that they can't get online if absolutely desperate.


I think the reason dept. stores are still open is that some people dont have any means to order online or dont feel confident in doing so.  Its probably something that charities or shops could find a work around for - eg a charity could order online for people who dont have internet.   I gather dept. stores are shut in the UK / US

#23 Amica

Posted 02 April 2020 - 07:50 AM

I have a family member who works at a fast food giant. These lowest paid, poorly treated workers are being thrown under a bus in the interests of corporate greed. There is no reason for them to be open. People can do without, but the horror to think the chain can't do some heavy lifting like everybody else in the interests if their mostly teenage, totally replaceable staff.

She is being coughed on, people are coming in, in large groups. People are jumping the barriers and eating in at the tables. She is dealing in dirty cash and they have no sanitiser. It's grotty... all if it from the customer interactions to the corporate disinterest in her well being.

Apart from a full lockdown, there is no way they will close. They are as busy as ever.

Unless you really need fast food, please stay away to protect our young people and their families. Their company doesn't care about them. I'll add that staff are working sick and not being sent home.

#24 ~Peahen~

Posted 02 April 2020 - 07:55 AM

I get it, to a degree...... I just personally feel that many people are confused between "need" and "want". This pandemic is proving that many of us don't know how to simply make do.

I'm extremely set in my ways, and routine driven, and don't tolerate change well. So if my airfryer was to die during this I would possibly have a meltdown. I use it 2-3times a day to cook my favorite foods, which are all an important part of my routine.

Would I starve? No. Would I adapt and find another way to prepare my favorite foods? Yes...... After an epic meltdown. Would I risk going to Kmart to get another airfryer. Hell NO!

*I may have ready anticipated this very scenario pre-pandemic and already obtained a spare that's sitting in my wardrobe ready for such a catastrophy. So it's probably easy for me to preach right now.

#25 ~Peahen~

Posted 02 April 2020 - 07:58 AM

View PostAmica, on 02 April 2020 - 07:50 AM, said:

I have a family member who works at a fast food giant. These lowest paid, poorly treated workers are being thrown under a bus in the interests of corporate greed. There is no reason for them to be open. People can do without, but the horror to think the chain can't do some heavy lifting like everybody else in the interests if their mostly teenage, totally replaceable staff.

She is being coughed on, people are coming in, in large groups. People are jumping the barriers and eating in at the tables. She is dealing in dirty cash and they have no sanitiser. It's grotty... all if it from the customer interactions to the corporate disinterest in her well being.

Apart from a full lockdown, there is no way they will close. They are as busy as ever.

Unless you really need fast food, please stay away to protect our young people and their families. Their company doesn't care about them. I'll add that staff are working sick and not being sent home.

This breaks my heart. The toll the stress will take on these workers is massive.




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