Grocery store employees are working hard during COVID-19. Jules Miller, a Trader Joe’s employee of 12 years, informed us about how her job and life are affected by the coronavirus pandemic. “I understand the service that I am providing, and I am being really deliberate to stay up and bring levity.” Miller knows that her job is important, and when customers find their favorite products in the store, it’s calming and brings a “sense of normalcy.”
When asked if Trader Joe’s was getting the stock they would like during this time, Jules responded, “ Trader Joe’s is meeting the demands of our communities. We are a customer-first business, even during this time.” Nothing much is stored in the back room, so everything is fresh. “Trader Joe’s is a truck to shelf store, which means that everything comes off a truck, and most of it goes on to the shelf. They get 5 trucks a day, 7 days a week,” says Miller.
COVID-19 has changed the community’s food purchasing. Now people are going for rice, peanut butter, pasta, and stuff that they can freeze. It is best to go in the morning if you want these items. Fresh salads, soups, and wraps aren’t selling like they used to, so Trader Joe’s donates extras to a homeless shelter. Senior citizens, people with special needs, and first responders can come in between 8-9. This allows them to have priority with food purchasing.
Trader Joe’s has taken extra safety precautions, like wiping down carts and baskets with disinfectants and limiting the amount of customers in the store. When asked if customers can still bring in their own bags, Jules replied, “We’re strongly suggesting against it.” But if you do, the cashier will either step away and let you pack your own bag, or they will put everything back in the cart and have you bag the groceries in your car. Now Trader Joe’s is not charging money for their bags.
The customers are still not handling the products less, so employees are suggesting that you “pick food out with your eyes first.” Originally, wearing a mask was optional, but since Jules is around hundreds of people a day and she knew it was the right thing to do, so Miller wore one. Later, masks became required. To make sure she is safe, when Jules gets home from work, she takes extra precautions. For example, she makes sure she changes and takes a shower right away.
In her free time, Miller wrote a piece that was called “In Line at Trader Joe’s,” which is on Facebook. According to her, she got a really good response with it, which made her think about writing more of these segments. It is a very touching passage that gives you an idea of what it is really like waiting in line at Trader Joe’s. She says that the coronavirus has made her and her employees check in with each other a lot more. Just like everyone is doing world wide. ” I think it is changing us as a species,” referring to how everyone is handling this crisis.
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