It’s been over three months since we, in the US, became aware we had been invaded by the Coronavirus. A whole quarter of a year. It’s enough time for the surreal to become frustratingly normal.
I’m a Walmart cashier. It’s my meaningless but necessary job. It’s been scary to report to work for each of my shifts knowing that during anyone of them I could contract the illness. However, as frightening as it can be, I know it is terrifying for those in the medical field, especially the nurses and doctors who work in emergency rooms. I am very grateful for having them in our society. The sacrifices they have made must be extremely difficult.
I hope that ER personnel do not have to tolerate too many patients who rail against the existence of COVID-19. One would think that if a person is symptomatic enough to go to the ER, that that person would be open to the medical opinions of experts treating them. I hope that would be the case but, unfortunately, some people bring stubbornness into the realm of stupidity.
I only wish I worked where medical experts were plentiful and I could consult with a nurse or a doctor to come lecture a customer on the facts of this very real disease.
It is unfortunate that I’ve had to endure simple minded individuals scoff at the need for wearing masks or disinfecting surfaces such as keypads or automated belts that move their purchases toward the register scanners. Some people roll their eyes at such tasks.
Just yesterday I was working one of the, “smoke shop,” registers (where tobacco products are sold. Only two resisters are programmed to ring up these products. In my store they are registers 11 and 12) when this middle aged man came to register 11 with his purchases. We began talking. About what, I don’t recall but, he did have an opinion on the coronavirus: it was all a bunch of crap. I told him that I made my opinions based on those of the experts. “Oh, they are the worst. The doctors don’t know shit. I was married to an Ivy League doctor and she didn’t know shit. After I got done paying for her schooling she left me for another Ivy League doctor.” Yes, he seemed perfectly sober. All I could think was, gee, I can’t imagine why she’d leave such an intellectual prince such as you. Of course, to prove his point, he was maskless.
On another occasion I rang up another middle aged customer. A woman this time. Our conversation turned to the pandemic and the news media. She said, “Oh, I don’t watch the news.” I replied, “I like to be informed.” What I was thinking was, dear God, please don’t vote or spawn, if you haven’t already.
Since we began having to monitor the number of customers in the store, we’ve had to man separate entrances and exits and tap on mobile devices every time a customer left or entered the store. I’ve had to work as a counter in either direction and have had to correct customers who tried to go in the wrong direction. I’ve received many eye rolls in response. Sometimes the eye rolls were coupled with total disregard to the request to correct their behavior.
I’ve been cussed at by customers ignoring directional signals in the store. Just recently, one of our CSM’s (customer service managers) was screamed at by a couple pushing an overflowing cart when they were politely informed that they could not ring up at self-checkout. They were sent to the regular registers to be rung up by a cashier. It’s very hard to keep watch over six self-checkout registers when they are all occupied and the store is slammed. And, full carts slow the process down. Some people spend thirty minutes ringing their huge orders up when a cashier could do it in seven.
Here are some photos I’ve taken over the last three months.
Even pet food became scarce. This is the dog food section at my store in April 2020.