'It's Just Been A Really Long, Tiring Year' — Grocery Worker Talks About Doing Her Job During The Pandemic
Grocery stores have been open throughout the pandemic, and workers in those stores have been considered essential. But there have been more than a few viral videos over the last year showing customers who were upset about COVID-19 protocols in stores — often mask requirements — treating grocery workers terribly by yelling and cursing at them, throwing items at them and worse.
To get a sense of what it’s been like to be a grocery worker during the pandemic, The Show spoke with Mandy Bublitz. She lives in the Valley and works at a grocery store, where she's been for a few years. The conversation started by asking if she's seen an evolution of how customers have behaved when they’re in her store.
Have you had to ask customers to put their masks on?
Oh, absolutely. It's part of my everyday and it has been ... since last February.
Have you gotten a lot of pushback from customers on that or do they generally say, "OK, sorry about that?"
Both. Usually it's hard to gauge when a customer walks in. Once you start talking to them, you know either way. I mean, you instantly know if a customer is pro-mask or anti-mask. As soon as you ask them to wear a mask, you can kind of tell just by their response. Now, because we've been in the pandemic for so long, I feel like if a customer walks in without a mask on, they just don't want to wear a mask.
Have you gotten any kind of training about how to handle customers in those kinds of situations?
I'm a manager. Not that that means a ton, except that I do have other employees that look to me about what we should do and how we treat customers. We haven't gotten any training other than some — [I] think we've had a couple of videos, but not really specifically where masks are concerned.
Have you noticed any difference since the governor rescinded a lot of the restrictions and basically said cities and counties were not allowed to have mass mandates in place?
Yes, absolutely. It coincided with my store not having door people. So we had a person that that was their entire job was standing at the door, telling people to wear masks, welcoming them into our store, but also saying, "Hey, you need to wear a mask." So we no longer have a door person. At the same time that the governor said, "Hey, you don't need to wear masks." So now I see a lot of customers come in and because there's no one there saying, "Hey, put a mask on," they just don't wear a mask.