An Open Letter to the General Public

From a tired and weary retail worker

Dear customers,

I know this year has been challenging. It has been an incredibly long ten months for all of us. I know you are all tired of living the pandemic life, and you want normality back.

Trust me. We do too.

But the pandemic is not over yet!

The vaccine is coming, but that doesn’t mean things can instantly go back to the way they were before. For the foreseeable future, if you are going to be out shopping, please wear a mask. Even if you are one of those people who thinks it is pointless — because what if it’s not? Is it that difficult to put the mere possibility of protecting others ahead of yourself?

Also, please remember that we are supposed to be keeping our physical distance from each other. As a self-checkout cashier, this is slightly more difficult to navigate for me, but it’s not impossible. You have to work with me, though! If you are having an issue with your order and I walk over to intervene, kindly take a step back and let me do my job safely. That means NOT standing directly in my way or standing right beside me while I’m fixing your issue. Give me some space. Please!

Please try to remember that we are still doing our very best to keep everything running smoothly while also operating safely. Our goal is to keep everyone healthy (both staff and customers alike). We are just trying to follow the established guidelines put in place by the health department for your protection — kindly return the favor.

Please don’t argue with employees when we ask you to stand in a particular spot or wait for us to clean the machines before you use them. Trust that we have valid reasons for the current protocols put in place. Even if you disagree with them, please follow the guidelines anyway. It’s better to err on the side of caution and be wrong than not to bother, resulting in drastic consequences.

Working in retail during the Christmas season was hard enough in the best of times. Adding a global pandemic into the mix is exacerbating our stress levels to the max. You can help us by trying to remain patient and kind whenever possible. I know the lines are long. I know you don’t want to be there any longer than you have to be. But we are only human. We can only take so much before we break. Remember that there are people with feelings behind the persona of “staff member” you are taking your frustrations out on.

How would you feel if the roles were reversed?

Try to keep things in perspective. Look at the bigger picture once in a while. As bad as things have been this year, we could be so much worse off than we are now. In the grand scheme of things, this is a small struggle. But we don’t have to face it alone. We can help each other through this. Let’s work together to make dealing with this pandemic more comfortable however we can.

Above all else, I am going to emphasize this again:

Choose kindness!

The smallest gesture can make or break someone’s entire day. Smile at someone. Tell them they are doing a good job. Thank them for being at work. Or if you can’t manage to say something nice, then don’t say anything at all. Lift people up instead of tearing them down.

Every person who is working in retail this holiday season.

I am a 38 year old dreamer who is living with Scoliosis. I’m an avid reader and a total nerd at heart. I like to share my thoughts on things.

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