I work as a Customer Service Associate and Pharmacy Technician at Walgreens so I was able to keep my job during the pandemic. You would think that working during dangerous times would equal more pay but that wasn't the case for me. I got paid the same $10.39 an hour I usually do; and I got a $150 hazard bonus once. The amount of money I earn for the excessive amount of work I put into my job during these stressful times is highly disappointing. Working in retail is already hard enough; adding in a pandemic just makes it an even harder job to do. Some things we have to do due to COVID-19 are wear a mask while we work, continuously disinfect the store, deal with rude customers and most importantly; risk our lives to help customers and provide for ourselves and our families.
Wearing a mask seems easy enough but it does get frustrating at times. For example, if you wear glasses, they easily fog up and it becomes a hassle to repeatedly take them off and clean them with your shirt just so you can see. Also, your ears can become red and sore because your ears are holding up the glasses and mask for a long period of time. My older co-workers have been complaining of difficulty breathing while wearing masks as well; but we all still wear masks despite its minor inconveniences so we can protect yourselves and others from the deadly virus.
Disinfecting the store doesn't seem so bad until you realize your manager has seven other things on the to do list that needs to be done before you punch out. At my store, we have to disinfect the cash registers, the photo department, the cosmetics department, the stockroom, the pharmacy, the break room, the office, the bathrooms, the patient room, the carts/baskets, the ATM, the handles... basically anything that has ever been touched by people. It's just so hard to do everything in a short amount of time with limited help. It just causes so much stress because you want the store to be clean and organized but it is a ton of work getting it to look like that.
To continue, we work to help out the customers and we disinfect the store to protect ourselves and others. The least I expect from customers for our protective measures is respect but it is rare during these times. The amount of instances that I, or a co-worker, have been yelled at for something we absolutely have no control over is ridiculous. I cannot comprehend the fact that others simply do not understand what "1 per customer" means. The cash register won't allow me to ring up more than one of the same item. My managers won't allow me to ring up more than one of the same item. The Walgreens corporation won't allow me to ring up more than one of the same item. If I have no say in the rules, then why do customers think they can yell and scream at me? The worst part is that I can't stand up for myself. I have to be professional while I'm being embarrassed and yelled at in front of the entire store. Another type of customers that are hard to deal with are the customers that come in without a mask. We kindly remind them to wear a face covering when they come in next time; and they usually respond with a death stare, pure ignorance or yelling. It is just so disheartening to see that this is how people treat others during a pandemic.
As you can tell, working during COVID-19 is not in any way easy. I just hope that all the work that I and other essential workers are putting into our jobs truly help protect everyone from the virus. I just wish that people would treat essential workers with the respect they deserve because they do so much to aid others during these unfortunate times.