Eric Warner Staff Writer
With the coronavirus still being highly prevalent within the U.S., despite the uplifting influence of the warmer summertime weather, many institutions are remaining closed or are having limited contact with the public for the time being. Many states across the country have now been in statewide lockdowns for over a month and for some people, the mandate to halt many business’s operations for this period has been too much to bear.
Protestors throughout the U.S. have rallied to their local government institutions to cease coronavirus restrictions with many claiming that these instructions infringe on their freedoms and livelihoods despite the fact that these mandates were created to ensure the safety of the people. Extremists like the armed “American Patriot Rally ” wherein people with military grade weapons stormed Michigan’s state capitol in early May, are evident of some citizen’s rising inability to meet the government’s demands. Aggressive outcrys such as that can even be seen in grocery stores through negative complaints made to the workers that are doing their best to keep people supplied during these trying times.
These extreme reactions to a brief yet far-reaching lockdown may be in part due to a collective lack of understanding of the situation in many instances. As someone who has been working at a grocery store during this changing and stressful time, I have seen many of these people frustrated with what’s happening and have been the witness and receiver of many aggressive outbursts. While these occurrences may not be too common, it still appears that many are confused and frustrated with how to conduct themselves in stores and other remaining open public locations. To relive some of this frustration and to make shopping at these institutions a calm and safe activity for everybody here are some tips with corresponding information to be upstanding customers during the COVID-19 pandemic:
COVID-19 transmits through coughs, sneezes, and the propellant of head fluids, therefore, the CDC has instructed people to “Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people,” and to not gather in groups. Many stores have placed marked lines with tape on the floors to aid people in following this instruction. All aisles have been marked with arrows indicating how a person should move within them as well as to ensure people won’t be walking directly next to or behind each other. Think of it like driving a car on a highway, it’s not a dictatorial rule it’s just an instruction to keep everybody safe. At each register, a line is marked on the floor to indicate where the customer can place their items on the conveyor belt so that they and the cashier are not in close proximity to one another. An employee will often direct customers to register themselves in order to make checking out orderly and to try to decrease crowded lines.
2. Clean Tools
COVID-19 can survive for a long period of time on many materials and surfaces. According to the CDC, up to numerous, “… hours or days on a surface, depending on factors such as sunlight and humidity.” To prevent the spread of the virus on objects stores have respectfully requested that customers cease using reusable bags since many people don’t tend to wash them. Plastic bags have been redistributed to stores despite the recent state law charging 10 cents for them. These bags are currently free for customers once more, but papers bags are not being distributed as plastic, which can be more easily cleaned than paper surfaces. If a customer must bring their own bags they’ll have to bag their groceries themselves. Pin pads are often covered in plastic sheets to make it easier to clean the devices without damaging their hardware. Please do not remove the plastic sheeting, if you need assistance, just politely ask an employee for help. All conveyor belts, self-service registers, and other surfaces that customers regularly interact with are routinely cleaned quite often to halt the spread of any germ, so no need to worry about dirty surfaces.
3. Patience and Assumption
Currently the phrase, “the customer is always right” does not apply to public stores. This means that the customer should never assume they know anything the employee does not or think the employee should bend to their every whim. New policies and procedures constantly come in to store managers and rules change frequently such as stores limiting customers to only two of every product in the early stages of the pandemic to now limiting only two of toilet paper products. Since people are buying a lot more supplies, products don’t come in irregularly. Please do not vent your frustration on the employees, it’s not their fault that a product is currently unavailable. Also, all customers must wear a mask in stores no matter the age or the weather outside; it may look like better times are coming, but the pandemic is still occurring.
Ultimately, if you have a question or a concern, simply ask an employee respectfully. No one likes to get yelled at and everybody is stressed nowadays especially the workers as they are risking their lives coming in contact with hundreds of people to keep society alive. Patience and understanding will help all of us get through this.