Grocery store workers on the front lines share their COVID-19 stories

Dennis Lee
·2 min read
grocery store worker arranges cheese
grocery store worker arranges cheese

I’m at the grocery store more often than most people; since I write about food, I need to buy ingredients, plus I am pretty sure I’m stress eating more than I used to. Every trip, I’m well aware that grocery store employees are at the frontline of keeping people fed, and I worry about them.

I can’t imagine what these people see on a daily basis, not to mention the sheer risk of being an essential worker. Grocery stores are still busy, and given the rising number of COVID cases, there’s no way infected people haven’t been visiting the stores. The Washington Post Magazine has snippets from the lives of the people working in these grocery stores.

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Arsenio and Grace Cavelo from Jingo’s Asian Market in Webster, Texas, have seen that their customers studying each item to see whether or not it’s from China. If the item is from China, a lot of people put it back on the shelf, presumably out of the fear that the packaging is a carrier for the virus (it’s not likely, according to the FDA). So now Jingo’s is sourcing less from China and more from nearby countries like Taiwan, and even though some of those ingredients are more expensive, people are still paying for them.

Jacob Striech, a cashier at Kroger, believes the company isn’t doing anywhere near enough to protect employees. The signs outside the store tell customers masks are required, yet “They never listen,” he says. When he was out with a suspected case of COVID-19 (testing came back negative), company policy dictated that he get paid for those days off. That never happened, and there was no contact tracing either.

These stories are worth hearing and examining. Most of them frustrating and some even heartbreaking. If you’ve got a minute to spare today, it’s worth the read.