SOCIAL DISTANCING

Essential Workers

Student explains how being a grocery store worker during the pandemic affects her.

By Trinity Mai

After having to put two jobs on hold due to the pandemic, junior Angela Pineda takes on a third job as a cashier at Pak ‘N Save Foods, a grocery store in San Leandro. Working eight to nine hours a day on Mondays through Saturdays, Pineda interacts with nearly every customer every day.

 

At work, she wears a mask and latex gloves, periodically changing her gloves and washing her hands to take safety precautions. Pineda is not personally afraid of contracting the virus, but she is afraid of spreading it to her family and to others who might not survive it. 

 

“I don’t like looking at my phone because of the media. Because I work in the grocery store, I don’t want to be overthinking it so much that it affects my work, and I am afraid...to spread it [if I get it],” Pineda said. “But I also need to understand [that] I need to work and people still need to buy food.”

 

During most of her work hours, Pineda does see customers practicing prevention by wearing gloves and masks. On some occasions, she has even seen people wearing a full suit. However, she recalled a day where a customer walked in and began spitting in the aisles, not being mindful of minimizing the spread of the disease. Pineda hopes that all employees and customers in the store can be mindful of others, especially the elderly.

 

“Seeing elder customers not getting their essentials [is] really upsetting,” Pineda said. “Seeing them leaving the store empty-handed is one of the worst feelings, and not being able to help them is more upsetting.”