Working During  Quarantine

William Mashburn
wmashburn@lc.edu 

Hello there! As many of us have noticed our workplaces have vastly changed over the past four months, from March to the present. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we work in a huge way. Some businesses were able to transition from in-office to online, while others had to shut down completely. Each type of business has been impacted differently. I work in retail, at a Walmart, and the amount of change has surpassed anything I could think of before Covid-19. 

If you have walked into any retail store within the past four months you might have noticed all of the associates wearing masks. This was one of the first steps retail workers were required to take to slow the spread of the virus and help “bend the curve”. Wearing a mask prevents those who could be infected from spreading it to others, especially if you are asymptomatic which means little to no symptoms. Masks might help slow the spread but they also come with a fair share of problems. I have had many customers who wear glasses tell me that they fog up since the breath is pushed upwards. People also tell me about how hard it is to breathe with a mask on. Those who have Asthma or are claustrophobic might experience severe discomfort and shortness of breath while wearing one.

Another thing you might have noticed and that I have seen in full swing is the shortage of items, namely toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Those two items sold out in less than an hour once the virus hit Madison County. I have never seen our shelves so empty in all my time working for Walmart. Luckily, Walmart had the great idea of putting beer and other alcohols in the section where the toilet paper was once it ran out.

Have you ever needed to make a return to the store before? Well in a pandemic you might not be able to do that. For the last two months, my Walmart and all stores in the state of Illinois have had a restriction or suspension on returnable items. These items include Apparel (shoes and infant items as well), health and beauty products, pharmacy items, paper goods, home cleaning supplies and food items. Are all of these required? Personally I don’t think so. I can understand the food, and some apparel but not all. Every single day us service desk associates get cussed at, yelled at, and even threatened because we can not make the return on items that are restricted by governors’ orders.

All in all the effects of this pandemic are slowly wearing off, shelves are starting to refill and stay filled, we can actually keep the store cleaned properly and people are taking off their masks. Are all of these a good thing, not necessarily. No matter what happened people should always wear a mask when entering a social environment. 

 

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