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The Twists and Turns of Working Retail During a Pandemic

I've worked in retail for the past four years and this summer was for sure one to remember. It wasn’t drastically different from before, but it definitely had its ups and downs. Although doesn’t retail always?


This is one of the unfortunate side effects of long days at work and I’m sure many of you can relate to this one whether you wear a mask only for a quick grocery store trip or for several hours at work. Underneath your mask, it can get hot and steamy very quickly, especially when it’s 90 degrees outside. Maskne is basically when you get a breakout of pimples or acne on the areas of your face your mask covers. Your pores get clogged which leads to pimples and/or acne. The best way to avoid it is to wash your face before putting on your mask, moisturize, and make sure to wash your mask frequently if it's a cloth one. [bf_image id="q725me-6ulgqg-arzknv"]

Return to a "normal" routine

After weeks turned to months in quarantine, I had officially talked my mom’s (and my cat’s) ears off. Being back at work gave me a sense of normal again (or at least as normal as I could get) and allowed me to have much needed human interaction (even if it was behind a counter and plexiglass). I was honestly kind of excited to see my coworkers again and be back in the flow of folding clothes and dusting displays. 

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Difficult Customers

While some customers were really great and understanding with the state regulations, others were…not so much. The number of people I have had to remind to put on their mask is honestly frighteningly high. Every time I have to speak to a customer about it, I hype myself up in my head beforehand to make sure I won’t back down. Fortunately, people will usually put it on once I ask, and rarely will they roll their eyes at me (at least not to my face).

While working during the pandemic has its negative side effects (like dry hands from the constant sanitization) and bad days, I’m still really grateful that I’m able to work during these unfortunate times.

Samantha Butts

U Mass Amherst '23

Samantha is a junior at UMass Amherst studying English and Journalism. She enjoys reading, fashion, watching movies, thrifting, and going out with friends. She is passionate about women's rights, the environment, and politics.
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