What Its like to Be An Essential Worker


EDITOR’S NOTE: COVID-19 is nothing if not controversial, the unemployment numbers are soaring, while many low-paying positions often filled by high school students are suddenly deemed essential. I asked a few students to write about what it’s like to be in these types of positions. By and large, it’s thankless work, but thanks to the customers who are understanding and forgiving, it’s made more bearable. Please be considerate to these workers who are honestly doing their best. – Newspaper Adviser Neil Corbett

What it’s like at a major grocery store by Madisyn Hurst

During this pandemic where you have to stay six-feet apart from one another and wear masks, people lose their jobs due to the Coronavirus. Like restaurants, nail salons, and movie theaters, but you still need your essential workers like grocery stores, banks, and hospitals ect.

I myself work in a grocery store and it’s honestly tough. With school being closed and put to work an extra 10 hours a week is a big change. The first couple days of spring break were probably the worst days at work I have ever had. That is when all of the madness had started to happen and all the crazies started to come out of their shell. I remember I had to stay an extra three hours to get my closing shift done and didn’t get home till about 1 a.m. After a while, it did slow down and now that everyone is quarantined, the grocery store is so slow.

My experience working has changed entirely. I myself feel like I know so much more. I know what the essentials are and what people need the most, and that is toilet paper. We were out of stock on toilet paper for weeks! People wanted rainchecks for them but I had to tell them that we were unfortunately not writing them because of the Covid-19 situation. So many phone calls about toilet paper, so…many… phone… calls.

While working and still doing online school, I feel like I’m doing something good while scanning their groceries. A lot of the customers don’t appreciate the limits of items that you are allowed to buy and end up getting bread thrown at you, but the majority of people are very kind-hearted and slip you five dollars just for showing up during this craziness.

What it’s like at an unnamed fast food restaurant by an anonymous contributor

I have a bit of a different experience working as an essential worker, I work at a fast food restaurant and while you would think people cravings for burgers and fries would subside due to a global pandemic, you would be mistaken.

As I brandish my apron, much like a knight brandishes his shield, and walk through the concrete parking lot, the eye of the tiger plays thru my head as I peek through windows of the cars in the drive thru; the customers masks do nothing to hide the crazed look on their faces. It’s going to be a long day.

As I take my position in the drive thru window I’m bombarded with typical orders.

“Ok what kind of ice cream.”
“Umm we have 40 diffrent flavors, are you looking for anything specific?”
*Proceeds to read 40 flavors*
“Ok ma’am, anything else?”
“Yes, one half gallon of milk.”
“Actually, we can’t sell milk through the drive thru.”
*All hell proceeds to break loose.*

Where I work we do have a grocery store in our restaurant; however, we are unable to sell these items in the drive thru. And upon letting someone know this information, I was then subjected to a five minute tirade on the dangers of the Coronavirus. Thank you, captain obvious.
Once said customers do decide that they really need that gallon of milk and venture inside, they are quickly met with a snake line wrapped around our building, empty shelves, and a fight over a package of raisin bread.

While there are many “Karens,” there are also kind-hearted people who tip up to 10 dollars and their smiles beam through their the masks. I am extremely thankful to have a job and be able to get out of the house.