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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Cal Lutheran chapter.

This whole pandemic has been crazy, but working at Target during it is even crazier. I’ve worked at Target for almost a year now and all I’ve had to do is work in apparel and occasionally back up at the front lanes, where I help ring people up. However, with everything that has been going on, I’ve had to very quickly learn how to do fulfillment, or the department in charge of all the order pick up, drive-ups, and shipping items from the store to people’s homes. 

It started off very slow. First, I learned how to do it so I could help out when it got busy and I could pick up shifts in that department when I had a day off and someone needed coverage. My normal scheduled days were still past closing for the apparel department. Then, as the store got busier, my time was split between apparel, fulfillment, and cashiering. But then, the city put out an ordinance that we couldn’t sell anything that was deemed non essential. One night after closing, the caution tape went up around my department and several others. I knew that I wasn’t going to lose my job or anything because of that, but I was terrified that my hours would plummet.

The opposite actually happened. I started getting full shifts and hours close to 40 a week. I’m now doing fulfillment all day, every day because the orders are coming in like crazy. We’ve been shipping out over 2000 orders every day, and that doesn’t include what the people come in to pick up or order for drive-up. It has slowed down a bit, as people’s panic slows down a bit, but the work is still steady. 

That was one major change. The other was in the attitude of our guests. We get rude guests all the time, but now, it is worse than ever. We are getting yelled at consistently, mostly for things that are completely out of our control. They all talk over one another and aren’t courteous when someone else is being helped already. There is always yelling coming from some point in the store and I have seen so many employees cry. I’ve cried a couple of times myself. Every day is stressful and all of us are trying our best. But there are people who will tell us that our best isn’t good enough. 

Be Kind Back Sweater
Anna Thetard / Her Campus

Not all guests are like this. One guest actually made me cry because of how nice she was. She asked a couple of questions, to which I answered as best as I could and she thanked me profusely. She started to walk away when she turned around and said: “Child, are you okay?” She must have sensed my confusion because she came back over and told me that she could see in my face that I was tired and stressed out. I explained that I wasn’t okay, I was exhausted from school and work and life in general. She told me that even though she didn’t know me, that she is proud of me and all the hard work I’m doing and that she is thankful for me. Hearing that, after being yelled at by other people all day, was something I will never forget. That woman is the reason that I show up for my job every day because there are more people out there just like her that are kind and thankful for the fact that myself, my coworkers, and all other essential workers are out there risking our lives and our family’s lives to help every day. 

And honestly, I’m scared to go in. I’m scared of the guests, I hate getting yelled at, I hate people getting close to me and in my face. I’m scared of getting sick. I’m scared of bringing the virus home to my immunodeficient dad. If he got sick I don’t know what I would do. But I can’t not go to work, my family needs me there. We need the income, we need the supplies, we need the benefits that I receive by going to work every week. I’m scared that my friends are going to get sick or my boyfriend or that any one of them might take it to their families and significant others. I am terrified to go to work. But the fact that I’m helping people, especially those that can’t leave their houses, that is what makes it all worth it to me. I’m here to help, so catch me at Target, running around, doing everything in my power to make this pandemic easier.

So a small PSA: Please be nice to essential workers. We are exhausted but we are doing everything we can to help. Also, the nicer and more understanding you are, the more likely we are to be helpful. I will go out of my way to help out those that are kind to me. If you are rude and degrading, chances are, you aren’t going to get what you want because we’re sick of being treated this way. 

Strong Arms Girl
Her Campus Media

I love my job, I really do. I work with some of the best people and I love them all. I’ve met lifelong friends there, including my best friend and my boyfriend. This pandemic has only brought us all closer to one another. We are each other’s rocks and I am grateful for them every single day. They truly are the ones who make being essential easy because I get to be essential with them. 

And for anyone wondering, for paper products, you do have to show up at opening in order to get some. And until this is over, Target is donating all masks and hand sanitizer to the front lines for hospitals workers and doctors offices. Thank you so much for everyone’s understanding and if you do go out to an essential business, say thank you to a worker, or strike up a conversation with them. Tell them you appreciate everything that they’re doing. I promise you that it’ll make their day.

Alexia Lee

Cal Lutheran '21

Alexia Lee is the Social Media Director for Her Campus at Cal Lutheran. She is a senior majoring in English with a minor in Creative Writing. She absolutely loves reading and writing, which she finds herself doing a lot in her free time. If she isn’t doing either, she can be found waltzing around Universal Studio’s Harry Potter World in her Ravenclaw robe, at the beach working on her tan, or daydreaming about where her travels will take her next.
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