This goes out to everyone, on behalf of my fellow retail workers

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Stand up. Speak up. It’s Your Turn.

I have worked at Target for a long time and I’ve never seen anything like what’s been happening the past two weeks.

As schools transition to online teaching, restaurants scale back services and stores close, my co-workers and I continue to go to work every day, on the front lines of this “war.” We deal with angry customers, pulling toilet paper out of our hands as we stock it. We watch as terrified moms search for thermometers and diapers. We try to make things fair by limiting what people can have, only to be asked by a crying woman, “Can I please just have one more for my homebound mother?

Our workload increases each day as our trucks become larger and larger and we are all asked to clean more.  Every day there’s a change of some sort that we must implement.

Through it all we plug away, doing our job which often entails opening boxes that come from all over the country and world. We try to wear gloves but our tasks aren’t always conducive to that. We try to keep our 3-6-feet distance, but customers continue to approach us, putting their social distancing aside long enough to put their phones in our faces as they ask “Where will I find this!?”

Each day the numbers increase on the COVID-19 count and more restrictions are announced but we go to work. We put ourselves at risk with no complaint because we are the “lucky ones” who still have jobs. Many people I work with have children at home so their breaks and lunches are spent on the phone checking in or making calls to teachers. They feel guilty that they’re at work but are thankful they can still pay the bills.

During breaks some of us discuss the latest closure or the NH COVID-19 count. We laugh about “hoarding customers” and tell stories that lighten the mood. But we worry that our safety is at risk. We wish that we could educate people about our plight.

I know we aren’t the doctors or nurses on the front lines, I would never be so egotistical. They are the heroes. No question. But those people are respected and their sacrifices are known. We are the little guys, the people who clock in and out each day and make $13 an hour. We are just “there,” opening boxes, cashiering, filling drive-up orders.  We are vulnerable and people need to realize this.

It’s the same story for those working at Walmart, Hannaford, and other retailers and supermarkets. We want to help people.  We honestly feel for what they are experiencing because we are going through it, too.

But we also want to be safe.

Beg to differ? Agree to disagree? We publish thoughtful prose on all topics of interest. Send submissions to, subject line: The Soapbox.

Amy from Target asked that her last name not be used to protect her privacy.