Essential Items Only: Working at Target During COVID-19

4 min read Since the outbreak of COVID-19, there is no doubt that these last three weeks have been the wildest in the history of the United States. Here is my Target story.

Target

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By: Ola Elshaar | oelshaar@radford.edu

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, there is no doubt that these last three weeks have been the wildest in the history of the United States.

“This whole experience has been a bit mind-blowing and mind-numbing all at the same time. It’s happened so quickly; it feels as if the world had the rug pulled out from under their feet before we even realized we were standing on the said rug in the first place.”During this Coronavirus pandemic, there has been a considerable change in customers’ behavior. Everyone seems to think there will be a total collapse of the system, or they just want enough of the essentials to allow them to stay home longer.

I’m a bit cynical and believe it’s the “me first” syndrome, such as pushing others out of your way to exit a burning building, which happened in front of my eyes to my store manager at Target. She told one of the customers who were hoarding milk that she’s only allowed to take two, so we could have enough supplies for everyone. The customer snapped and pushed the manager out of her way with her shopping cart.

I work in the style section and am appreciative of having an income still.

However, it blows my mind when I see people shopping for clothes, especially in bulk or if they feel the need to have the fitting rooms open as we closed it for their safety.

People would yell at us and ask us if we have a bathroom to try clothes on since the fitting rooms are closed.

Kassidy Rae Broome, a Target employee, said, “This whole experience has been a bit mind-blowing and mind-numbing all at the same time. It’s happened so quickly; it feels as if the world had the rug pulled out from under their feet before we even realized we were standing on the said rug in the first place.”

Within days, complete stock of certain items was gone, and shelves were emptied. Around the time that we all found out about the Coronavirus was the same time that everyone started emptying shelves.

Then came in customers who hadn’t initially taken it seriously, and now they need to purchase things. They couldn’t find the items they genuinely needed.

Grocery Store
Photo Credit: (Mick Haupt on Unsplash) So many items are barely present during this coronavirus shortage in grocery stores.

“The fact that people are still shopping for non-essentials in the middle of a global pandemic and in VA, a state lockdown stay at home order.Ivy Gibson, a Target employee, said, “People panicked [and] bought up ‘essentials,’ in the first few weeks, and were very greedy about it. This was before caps were put on to buying items.”

“It was like a madhouse at work with stuff flying off the shelves. The thing that has surprised me most is that people don’t care about others at all. They would rather hoard unnecessarily than allow others to have essentials they need,” Gibson said.

“The fact that people are still shopping for non-essentials in the middle of a global pandemic and in VA, a state lockdown stay at home order.”

Target and other retail stores have limited items per guest amid the coronavirus outbreak, yet, people are still adopting the “me first” kind of behavior by hoarding essential and non-essential items.

Carolyn Harris, a Target Team Leader, said that “there was a woman who had four of everything [when] we had limited [the items] to one per person (toilet paper, Clorox wipes, hand sanitizer/soap, etc.). When the cashier explained that we wouldn’t be able to let her get more than one of each item, she threw a fit, even though we had posted signs all throughout the areas.”

The customer asked Harris, “But I have four bathrooms in my house! How am I supposed to clean when I can only get one?”

Harris said, “This led me to think to myself, so because you have four bathrooms, this means three other families should go without. How hard would it be to not use 2 to 3 of your bathrooms while staying at home?”

What broke my heart most is how the elderly would leave the store devasted by the fact that everything was out of stock. Things have gotten a little better when Target set special hours for the elderly to shop, but before that step, it was like a wild jungle.

Customers have learned the days that our truck comes, and they will line up outside the door, dressed in gloves and masks, to buy up essentials as quickly as they can. The store opens at 8:00 a.m., and by the time I arrive at 7:50 a.m., there is already a line outside the door.

Photo Credit: (Charlie Deets on Unsplash)