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All The Stupidity I’ve Witnessed As A Retail Worker During The Coronavirus Pandemic

No one is paid enough for this.

Working in retail is always… interesting. Working as a sales assistant in one of the most affluent, snobby and entitled suburbs of your city is a never-ending shit show, where you can’t decide if you’re the star of a sitcom or a tragic drama where the main character dies of death by customer.

During the lockdown, my store was closed for around 4 weeks before we were given just a couple of days notice of re-opening.

Obviously, I was totally dreading this for a number of reasons – the main one being exposure to COVID-19. I work in a retail store located in a coronavirus hotspot – the suburb area with the most positive cases statewide. I also commute on both a train and a bus to get to work, usually in peak time, with a commute that can range anywhere from 45 minutes to one and a half hours. It’s a big yikes.

Anyway, I knew shit was going to get wild. Like I said, a hotspot for snobbery and a deadly virus alike, I wasn’t expecting this to be fun. It’s no surprise to anyone that this suburb was a melting pot for positive cases of the rona – it’s what you get when you mix entitlement, arrogance, a god complex and frequent flyers. Rich people aren’t subject to the same rules as us mortals, right?


I shit you not, while standing all the way at the front of my store, in the middle of a global pandemic, I witnessed a customer wipe their nose with their hand, AND THEN WIPE IT ON THE COUNTER. I have never teleported anywhere so fast in my life. The antibacterial spray appeared in my hand like magic, and I just had to stand beside this filthy, filthy man while he finished his transaction trying not to let my instinctive rage overwhelm me and force me to douse him in cleaning product. I cleaned that bench down good, but trust me, the fire in eyes was enough to sterilise any surface.

“I’ve Already Sanitised My Hands Today”

Look Susan, I don’t know how to explain to you that you need to wash/sanitise your hands more than once a day. Seriously. You’ve got several bags of high-end shopping with you, so I know you’ve had to key in a card pin into an eftpos at least a couple of times today – meaning you’ve touched eftpos machines that plenty of other shoppers have touched. Not to mention that while browsing our store, you’ve already touched 17 different surfaces – and no, I haven’t wiped them since the last customer touched them 5 minutes ago. Considering above story of how people actually have no sense of hygiene and spread their germs everywhere, I suggest ya wash ya fkn hands.

Yes, Your Child Is Still A Person

This is a weird one to explain, because it’s basic fucking common sense and yet it comes up every 10 minutes. We have a store capacity at the moment, meaning we can only have a certain amount of people allowed inside due to social distancing measures. The amount of parents shocked that their children count in our store capacity is wild. Like, does your child exist in the material plane? Are they capable of occupying space? Then yes, they are included in the fucking capacity limit because they can walk around and touch things like any other adult human can, and so they have to get in line. Fuck off.

We Have No Stock Because People Are Dying, Karen

People are literally dying, but you bet Karens are still arguing with me about why certain items are not in stock. As if there hasn’t been mass supply chain disruptions due to a global pandemic that is disproportionately affecting the poor and vulnerable who companies typically source cheap labour from. Like, how do I explain that the reason we closed our distribution centres was because we are trying to prevent more people from dying? How do I convince you, dear Karen, to spare a single fuck for other people?

Imagine not being able to understand that there may be other priorities for the world during a deadly epidemic than making sure your 5 year old son has winter wear.

Honestly, just re-living this is exhausting. I have an opening shift tomorrow, where I’ll be back to argue with people about why they need to stop standing so fucking close to me, use hand sanitiser, and not be a dick to retail workers. Ugh.

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