The coronavirus has certainly taken a toll on grocery stores in the past week here in the midwest. Larger than usual crowds led to a lack of stock and empty shelves, long checkout lines and grumbling shoppers. Even curbside pickup options have had long waits and plenty of unavailable items.
The bottom line? We’re all stressed – and that includes store managers and employees. I spoke with a few this week, and here are some things they wanted you to know….
1. Stores have set limits on items for a reason. Please honor them.
Some managers have only been allowed to order a certain number of items. Warehouse workers are putting in long hours, but there aren’t enough workers and trucks to get products to every store in a timely manner. They are trying to make sure the most important items are well-stocked. Honoring those store limits on select items means that there is more for everyone to go around.
2. Store employees aren’t responsible for shortages or long lines.
Workers can’t control the lack of stock or the long wait. They’re showing up every day, though, and putting in long hours to serve often unhappy customers. They have loved ones at home who need them, too. They often aren’t told more than you are. They’re all doing the best that they can – and they could use your understanding, your thanks and a smile.
3. Please don’t leave refrigerated or frozen items behind.
There’s been an increase in people abandoning carts full of items or placing cold items on aisle shelves to rot. If you need to change your mind about items – especially those that are refrigerated or frozen – please return them to the proper area. These perishable items are in short supply; stores will be forced to throw them out.
4. Store hours may be shortened.
To make up for all the extra cleaning routines and stocking empty shelves, stores need some extra hours to regroup. You may want to check whether your location’s hours have changed.
5. Not all store services may be available.
Full service deli, meat and cheese counters will not be open in many cases, though packaged items will be available. Bottle return areas may be closed.
6. Many stores are hiring.
If you know anyone in need of a job, most stores (including Kroger and Meijer) have advertised immediate openings for employees on their websites and social media channels.
7. If you’re concerned about crowds, consider pickup or delivery options.
Many stores are still offering pickup or home delivery – but those workers are especially overwhelmed by the large amount of orders. Be prepared for longer than normal wait times and item substitutions.
The bottom line? We’re all doing the best that we can. A little patience and understanding can go a long way during these trying times!
- ALDI: A message to our customers about coronavirus
- Kroger: A message for customers regarding the coronavirus
- Meijer: An update for our customers on the coronavirus
- Target’s Coronavirus response (including reserving the first hour of shopping each Wednesday to support vulnerable guests, including the elderly and those with underlying health concerns)
Grocery store employees – is there anything I’ve missed? Please share in the comments!