For the "essential" service workers

Not everyone gets to quarantine. Not everyone has a WFH job.

Some people are running the “essential” stores that people come to every day to browse idly because “everywhere else is closed!” Some people are throwing up stock of bleach and TP and canned food only to turn around and see the stock has vanished behind them.

Some people are stuck working for companies with no paid sick leave, or they are offered paid sick leave… if you get diagnosed with covid-19. And none of us can even get tested in most states even if we show symptoms due to the draconian guidelines on who gets a test.

Some of us are immunocompromised or live with elderly family and are fucking terrified of carrying covid home with us.

Some of us are “lucky” and are getting increased wages during this period. But it’s up in the air if that makes this shit worth it, and most of us don’t get that.

Regardless, I want to establish one thing: No one who works retail asked to be “essential” services. And none of us were trained for this and none of us are being paid enough for this.

Personally, I have enjoyed my job up until covid happened because I’m an incredibly anxious person, and my store was a quiet one, and I was good at my job. It was a calm environment to work in, and I was happy to find it.

Now, I’m having repeated crying jags in the stock room and looking up how to qualify for unemployment and not seeing a way out. I handle the money for the store deposit almost every night, and I intimately know my store is making at minimum 4x usual profit and some days 6x or 7x more.

My point in this post is that I know I’m not alone. I have two friends in similar straits who are also on the verge of breaking down. We can’t sustain this.

The rallying cry of “paid sick leave” doesn’t mean shit if it comes with the caveat that you have to test positive for a virus you can’t get tested for. And while I am trying very hard to be sympathetic to the people who are isolating, who are lonely, who are struggling, I feel like “essential” workers are being thrown in the woodchipper.

And it becomes very hard to hold onto that sympathy when people just! come into our stores! to walk around! Maybe if fewer people did that, maybe if my store stopped making astronomical amounts of money, we’d close for a few days. But nope.

Please start yelling loudly for hazard pay for essential workers. Please start yelling for testing for everyone so we can fucking go home. Please stop talking about how “brave” we are and help us.

That’s all. This is a thread for my fellow low wage workers who woke up one day and found out they’re essential staff, retail or EMTs or gas station workers or whoever you are. This is bullshit and we’re tired and we need help. Before we all burn out.


Amen. I work in social services so I am actually an essential worker for many people, but even then I get to work from home now. I worked retail and gas stations for years and people like OP having to work is absurd. I saw an article this morning about the surgeon general saying that “people, especially young people, are not taking this seriously enough.” That’s probably true, but businesses are definitely not taking it seriously enough. I wish there was more of a crackdown on what “essential” actually is.


I’m in quarantine with Covid right now, but while I was working in a fish market a week ago it was like spinning plates trying to keep everything clean and everyone served.
From what I hear the employees are handling the stress today by hucking lemons at the brick wall out behind the store.
The owner is making a killing, though, so…silver linings…


everybody who has to work right now absolutely should be getting hazard pay. grocery store workers are really holding society together right now. things are weird, and hard, and scary, but if grocery store shelves couldn’t be restocked we’d be fucked.


Fun update. Today at work, my manager was concerned about how everyone in the store is scared and upset, so she reached out to our district manager for help.

The DM proceeded to tell her off for something unrelated and literally said “if anyone is that worried, they should get tested.”

This is Florida. Anyone who has watched five minutes of news in the past two weeks knows you can’t get tested. The only people who can get tested are people presenting symptoms and have been abroad to a specific list of countries or been in contact with a confirmed covid case.

The hopelessness is dire.


Over here Mike Ashley, probably the poster boy for sleazy business practices in particular zero hours contracts, has forced his Sports Direct stores to stay open as the govt. has allowed for outdoors exercise once a day which he’s jumped upon as necessitating the operations of his business as it provides exercise equipment. At least Marie Antoinette had some grace with her “let them eat cake” quip.

Yeah I work in care so I’m considered essential but it’s certainly putting on struggles at home. Living with two at risk people and one retired person means I’m the only one who really needs to go out and put thermselves at risk of exposure because of work. In my care home people can come and go as they please and so there’s nothing to stop them dragging the virus back in with them each day.

At home this means I’m basically quarantined to my room, a bathroom beside it, and a broken half-renovated garage/flat that’s filled with junk but has enough space cleared to fit a microwave, fridge and a sink. Also means I won’t have any human contact with the family I live with for a few months, even without the virus. God knows I’d hate to be the reason my family gets it.


thank you for the post. I came looking to shout out my fellow essenties. I work electrical supply, so we are considered essential in washington so electricians can still do work and they’re trying to keep construction going. they just closed Boeing for the next two weeks, so it seems silly to me to show up to work every day. but I’m getting overtime and keeping a steady flow of money coming in to my home so I’m not complaining at all. but the amount of people that have come in to my store that are in the vulnerable population is incredible. an old man came in the other day that LIVES IN AN OLD FOLKS HOME. I have no idea the health of everyone that comes in the store, we are trying to keep distance and to keep everything clean, but I really don’t like the chance that I could get sick or someone else could. I’m young and healthy so I think I’d be okay but I wouldn’t want to inadvertently harm someone else.


I am also “essential”, and I work in a closed office and don’t interface with anyone beyond my 5 coworkers all day and I’m still wracked with anxiety. Everyday I think I’m sick and then I go home and realize that at least for the moment it’s just the fact that I’m absolutely slammed with anxiety.


I’m an “essential” distribution worker. Usually there’s about 200 people in the building per shift with 2 shifts a day. My specific department usually has about 50-70 people working in about a 50-yard sized area give or take. It involves sharing equipment with each other very regularly (bins, totes, scanners, shoulder-mounted radios).

I also live with 2 people over the age of 60 and my spouse who has asthma.

Luckily my spouse is able to work from home right now, but I’m fucking terrified to go to work. I’m having to decide if I should call the day off to limit my exposure or go in to collect a paycheck and risk bringing the virus home because I have so much unavoidable exposure to the numerous people I work with.

To top it off is the fact that last Friday (3/20) there was an announcement that someone in the building had a suspected case, but was still being tested and they would let us know the next week… Well when we came back none of the higher ups or supervisors are even acknowledging that announcement happened. When directly asked about it, multiple people have said “I dunno. They haven’t told us anything.” even as recently as yesterday (3/27).

Tests don’t take that fucking long. This is infuriating.


my sibling does IT work in an office tied to an “essential” industry and was notified today that he’s been in contact with somebody who has the virus and must quarantine for two weeks. shit sucks. i’m assuming his whole office has been quarantined. feel so bad for the many many people who still have to go out there and potentially be exposed every day…


My work’s being run by a bunch of greedy shits who’ve now set us back to our regular open hours of 8 to 10, with an additional hour from 7-8 for seniors and immunocompromised. And my hazard pay is still a temporary $2 raise that’s “evaluated weekly”.

Fucking bastards

UPDATE: Now we’re enforcing piece counts, LOL FUCK THIS PLACE


I’m frightened that our bosses are killing us and nobody cares

I can’t tell anymore if I’m being gaslit, or if I’m just an insane drama queen

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That is goddamned ridiculous, is what it is. You can’t run your bulk bins on the frigging honour system in a pandemic.

Hey, how do you open up dialogue with your boss without going berserk?

I wish I knew, sorry. The only time I’ve been in a similar situation, I was at a startup-sized company and was the only person there who could have done the unethical thing, so I got through it by sheer stubbornness. Your case is going to be much tougher, it seems like you don’t really have any leverage.

i’m having a panic attack looking at that bulk section. i need to look into what my local grocers are doing (besides sending their employees to die after stripping them of their “hazard pay”…)

i honestly don’t know what i’d do if i was still working retail/service right now. good luck getting anywhere with your boss. i might seriously be considering trying to get fired and collecting unemployment.

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I’m definitely gonna shop resume’s around, maybe one of the three weed stores?


The president of Save On Foods, Darrell Jones, is apparently visiting our store tomorrow morning and I’m having a fierce internal debate over whether or not I should confront him, if I have the chance, for cutting off my hazard pay of TWO EXTRA DOLLARS at the end of May.

I’m asking this sincerely, what would ya’ll do in my place?

If you can make it without the job do it. If not than you have to do what you have to do. I wish there was more to it than that but from what I can see in this situation that’s kinda all there is

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