My Experience as an Essential Worker

While many businesses are shut down, other businesses deemed essential are still operating to serve the public necessities during this time. Essential work can look very different depending on what field you are looking at, whether it be healthcare, first responders, grocery, delivery, etc. The fields deemed necessary have changed drastically during this time. While everyone's experience are different, I am going to share my personal experience as a grocery worker.

After I lost my on-campus job, got denied for unemployment, and failed to receive any government aid, I applied for a temporary grocery position at Aldi. My job mostly consists of cleaning carts, keeping a customer count, and making sure our customers are not bringing in reusable bags.

shopping bag

My Everyday Experience

"I just want this to be over."

Don't we all? I probably hear this a hundred times a day. Workers feel the exact same way. We are enforcing new policies so we can get through this pandemic sooner rather than later. This sentence said with attitude whenever we enforce new policies just gets annoying. 


At Aldi, customers bag their own groceries and we encourage the use of reusable bags by only providing bags for purchase. When I tell people they cannot bring their bags into the store, many get angry. They assume we are requiring you to purchase bags. NO! You can use your bags at your car! Wouldn't you rather bag your groceries at your car than touch a filthy bagging table anyway? Still not happy about it? That's okay. Just don't take it out on the workers, please!

Social Distancing

We have been hearing this since the beginning, but when many walk into a store, it seems like they forget. If you are approaching a customer or a worker, maintain your distance. There is no need to stand 12 inches from me to ask a question or have a conversation. Is there much more that needs to be said?


If you have been to Aldi, you know about the quarters in the carts. You put a quarter in when you get it and you get a quarter out when you return it. Right now Aldi, is providing the quarters. 

1. No, do not connect the carts and take the quarters. That is stealing.

2. Just because you did not provide the quarter doesn't mean you should leave the cart in the parking lot. Return your cart to be cleaned, please and thank you.

"I HATE these masks"

Do not tell me you hate wearing a face mask and tear it off your face as you are standing less than six-feet away from me. We have to wear one for our entire shift for not only our safety but yours, too. Healthcare workers wear one for extremely long shifts. I do not want to hear that after you have had your mask on for only a thirty-minute grocery store trip. 

Where there is bad, there is good.

 Everything above has been negative, but that is not the case in my experience. There are customers that we turn the worst days into the best days. Thank you to the hundreds of customers that told me they appreciate what I am doing to keep their shopping experience safe. Thank you to those that tried to tip me even though I declined. Thank you to the man than slipped $5 into a cart for me after I declined the tip. Thank you to the regular customers that brought us food. Thank you to the customers that continue sharing acts of kindness whether it be helping an elderly woman carry a heavy box to her car or an extra face mask to the lady wearing a scarf around her face on a hot day. All this good, makes what I do worth it.

woman holding a smiling balloon

Thank an essential worker. We are all going through a lot right now, but show a little appreciation next time you see one. They need it. If you are an essential worker, thank you.