What It’s Like to Work at Costco During the Covid-19 Pandemic

The world is filled with panic. Coronavirus is on everyone’s mind and is the focus of every headline. We have been told to social distance and limit any gathering of people to less than five. We’ve been told to stay inside, because inside and away from others is the only way to guarantee safety. These warnings have led to mass panic for fear our country will be shut down. For fear that our most recent grocery run could be the last for  a long time. This leads to panic buying. Only a few weeks ago the shelves were practically ransacked, there wasn’t enough of anything.

I don’t get the privilege to stay isolated or act scared. I work at Costco. I have to go to work every day so that people are able to buy their essentials, like groceries and cleaning products. At Costco, we do our very best to stay safe, because the truth is, we are scared too. Statistics don’t look great for me. The chances I contract the novel coronavirus is much higher than for people who are social distancing properly. This is scary, not only for my own safety, but I now feel guilty that there’s a possibility I could spread the virus to my roommates. I’m afraid to go home to see my family just in case I could give them anything.

To stay as safe as possible at work, I wear gloves. That’s all Costco can supply me, which is okay because I know doctors and nurses need PPE more than I do. However, that doesn’t stop some customers from complaining that we don’t change our gloves between every customer. I’ve had three customers complain about us only changing our gloves every two hours, and I don’t know what to say to them. I wish I could change them more as well, but the reality is: there aren’t enough supplies. We try our best. I sanitize my gloves between customers. We even sanitize the whole station after every customer. We’ve even broken a few debit machines because of all the sanitizer we use on them.

At Costco, we even try to keep up with social distancing. We have tape all over the floor to separate people. Many customers are really good about following our rules. Many are thankful for all of our efforts to keep them and ourselves safe. However, there is the odd customer that ignores our safety measures, and to those customers, I wonder why they think they are beyond rules? They are putting both themselves, other customers and employees at risk. But to everyone who follows the rules, I am so thankful to them.

Every day that I come to work, I am paranoid. All it takes is one customer with coronavirus to spread it and infect the whole building. That thought is always in the back of my mind. But I don’t let myself reveal these worries while working. I know that as someone working on the front line during this pandemic, I need to remain composed and just work on keeping everyone safe.

I put myself at risk every day. All I can ask is that people coming into stores, please remember to be kind to those working essential jobs right now. If you need to buy groceries, come by yourself (you’d be surprised by the amount of families who are still shopping together), respect the stores’ rules, be kind to employees and keep a social distance.