Stores Installed Plexiglass Barriers for Their Cashiers

Cashier at a grocery store wearing a face mask and protected by plexiglass
Artwork by Anthony Faust
Cashier at a grocery store wearing a face mask and protected by plexiglass

From the other side of the conveyor belt, the grocery store cashier got a raw deal during the pandemic. They were considered essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic and continued to work to ensure that people had access to essential items such as food and household supplies. Cashiers had to adapt to new safety measures such as wearing masks and gloves, frequently washing their hands, and sanitizing their workstations regularly.

One of the very first things that popped up immediately in any place of business with direct interaction with customers was plexiglass screens. Banks, gas stations, liquor stores, smoke shops, groceries stores, and pharmacies all seemingly installed them overnight. It wasn’t quite clear where all this plexiglass came from, or if there were companies doing all these retrofits in businesses so quickly. If so, they must have made a ton of money, because one day no businesses had them, and the next day, they were ubiquitous.

The barriers also raised a host of logistical issues. Many workers found that they had to shout or use hand gestures to be heard or understood through the mask and plexiglass, plus the noise of the store. Constantly repeating things was inconvenient and tiring. Customers, on the other hand, often had difficulty hearing or seeing what they were being told, which led to misunderstandings and frustration. People took for granted how much seeing someone’s facial gestures as they spoke helped them understand what they were saying.

Cashiers also had to deal with increased demand and long lines as people stocked up on supplies. In turn, this led to higher stress levels and longer working hours. Many grocery stores also had to adjust their hours and services, such as offering online ordering and curbside pickup, to meet the needs of customers while adhering to safety guidelines.

Overall, working as a grocery store cashier during the COVID-19 pandemic was challenging, but it was also an essential service that provided a sense of purpose and pride for those who continued to work on the front lines. Society was very grateful for these workers.

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About the Author

My life as a husband and father transformed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sent home from work in March 2020, I've yet to return to the office. Adapting to the new pandemic world proved challenging for us all.

However, we managed to find silver linings. Drive-by birthdays brought joy to my kids' friends. I'll never forget stumbling upon a heartfelt hand-painted rock during my jog, reminding us that we're all in this together. Regular Zoom happy hours with close friends created cherished memories.

While quality time with my family was a blessing, we also faced hurdles. Assisting my youngest daughter with frustrating math homework on a poorly designed iPad app tested our patience. Both girls struggled with wearing masks during sports and school.

Sadly, witnessing COVID-19 being politicized and witnessing the closure of small businesses while the wealthy thrived was disheartening.

I wrote this book to document our experiences, learning from them and striving for better decisions in the future. Join me on this rewarding journey of resilience and growth.

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