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Consumers vs. Pandemic

Posted by Jaye Ward on

If you’ve read any of my previous entries into “Jaye’s Thoughts”, you probably know by now that I work in retail, more specifically, in a major grocery chain. I don’t want to explicitly spell it out in case of some legal issues regarding one of my t-shirts being a parody of their uniforms. The one I’m referring to of course is the Proud Purgatory T-Shirt. But I’m not here to advertise to you. 

I feel like now is definitely a time for businesses to take a f*cking chill pill and act like the supposedly decent human beings they are being run by. What I mean is, cool it with the advertisements, we couldn’t care less about paying for your sh*tty service or product. What we really care about right now is our lives.


That’s very evident in the way people act when they come into the store. People are absolutely terrified and take on different social roles when they’re panicking. I would like to dive into the common types of people I’ve seen so far.


The Hypocrites


“I’m not scared” , (yet still has 3 packs of toilet paper in my cart). This is the type of frightened human being that annoys me the most. I respect truth and facts above all and this person is the polar opposite of such. I work with one person who is absolutely terrified but she never admits it. Everytime I overhear her speaking it’s always about whatever the news is telling her to be afraid of, or whatever is going wrong in our work environment. She only speaks with the phrasing “I hear that…” or “I think they should…”. To be frank, lady (I don’t actually know her name), you’re scared. Just admit it and move on. You’ll have a whole community of caring individuals backing you up if you do. Instead, you’re cultivating a group of individuals who don’t talk about their problems and instead just try and ignore the fact they exist.


The Angries


We’ve had a lot of these kinds of people come in. When they’re told that we’re out of toilet paper, they begin to rage. When are we getting more in? Don’t know, probably tonight. Why don’t we have more? People keep buying it. Why are people buying so much? I don’t know. Speaking to my manager will not remedy this situation and you yelling at other people won’t help either. I heard a story from my coworker today of one lady who was talking on her cell phone while her daughter was sitting in the cart looking at her cell phone. She was yelling at whoever was on the phone saying stuff like “I DON’T KNOW WHY THEY DON”T HAVE ANY” then she would turn to her daughter and scream at her “DON”T MAKE ME BREAK THAT CELL PHONE”. Then “I HAVEN’T HAD MY NERVE PILLS”. I believe that situation speaks for itself and because of this I wish to elaborate no further.

 

The Genuinely Nonchalant


This group of people probably perplexes me the absolute most out of everyone to enter the store. These people are not stockpiling food or any extra supplies. They are simply buying groceries. I asked one person “aren’t you afraid?”. They responded with “No, If I get it, I get it. If not, I don’t”. Part of me believes that this is just a type of coping mechanism, ignoring the problem. There is probably an equal possibility of their fear just being blatantly nonexistent. With all of the fear mongering going on around us, how is it possible this doesn’t affect you? A coworker, C, offered me some possible insight. “We’ve been through and seen this all before. This is nothing new”. He’s kind of right to be honest. This just kind of feels like hurricane season and people are waiting for the impending doom. I’ve personally experienced such a major sickness crisis like this one before but I can say they’re very similar. Now the whole world knows what people go through in prep times.

 

The Scared Prepared

 

This is the most level headed group of people out of them all, so much so there isn’t much to really say. They’re afraid, accept it, and get prepared. They’re not in a super frenzy of panic worried about what’s going to happen, just that if it does happen they’re ready for it. Be like these people.

 

How I Personally Feel


I could definitely say that the old me would have been a straight up hypocrite before. I would be like the lady I spoke of, only talking about news instead of my feelings. Since I’ve grown older I have become able to recognize my emotions and when certain ones are feeding into other ones. I am scared for the future, but it’s not to the point that it’s crippling. I am less afraid of getting the actual coronavirus (COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2, whatever you want to call it) and more afraid of the people around me being stupid. There comes a time when logic is completely removed from peoples’ thought processes where I become very afraid. It’s the time when people begin to take on almost primal roles and do whatever is best to fulfill their most basic needs. Maybe I’m being a little dramatic but that’s how it plays out in my head. I am also somewhat worried about supply chains being disrupted but currently our store is still receiving products and they’re still on the shelf. 

I am very lucky to be in the position I am in though. I spend 94% of my day in the back room, away from people. My coworker are not so lucky. They have a higher chance of a person infecting them and on top of all of this stress and panic, have to deal with angry and frightened customers. It’s kind of crazy to think about just how important grocery stores are when it comes to disasters. Money definitely increases the speed at which goods can be given to the person who needs it. People will angrily say there’s a lot of money to be made in this whole thing but if you really think about it, it’s kind of a good thing. It incentivises companies to get as much product out as possible. What’s really crazy is  when you hear about price gouging, it’s more so about individuals hoarding mass quantities of goods than companies charging too much.. They just know they’d be legally f*cked with justice jiu jitsu if they did.


In Summary


I’m scared, but not panicking. I’m pretty sure I’ll keep working throughout this whole thing so I’ll have access to goods as I need them. Currently quarantine has been rumored but not confirmed. I live in such a small (low density and population) that it almost seems unlikely to happen for our area. I guess we’ll just see what we see when we see it. I hope this all blows over soon.


Until then, be safe, and please for the love of all things holy, don’t be a f*cking idiot.

- Jaye from Rot Your Mind

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