A Day in the Life
Some Down Time
BB: We think you’re a hero for working the front lines to service the community. Do you take a lot of pride in being there? *
Jan: No more than usual. I always take a certain amount of pride in any job or task I perform. But as of late, I feel a bit more fulfilled…
BB: How has your approach to the job changed since the pandemic?
Jan: Besides the obvious changes of procedure and protocol, two changes to my approach have naturally occurred.
#1 people are uncomfortable being in public, so getting through their order as quickly as possible is priority.
#2 due to wearing a mask, people can’t see you’re smiling. So eye contact is more important than ever!
BB: How have customer’s attitude changed?
Jan: Oh my gosh, customers have been amazing! Thanking us for showing up to work! Purchasing gift cards and giving them to their cashier, giving a cash tip. They’ve been so thoughtful, and we’ve all felt so thankful!
BB: Do you believe being in this type of environment is helping to build your immunity?
Jan: There is so little known about this virus, I can only hope. But the more I hear about “herd community”, I tend to believe I am building immunity.
BB: How has Wegman’s supported their employees?
Jan: Wegmans has really stepped up to the plate. Besides totally nailing protocol and procedure (which gives both employees and customers great comfort), they’ve generously raised our hourly pay and have also provided us with occasional digital “thank you” coupons. Also, Wegmans now closes at 8pm. If your shift ends after 8, they generously give us the option of working other tasks to complete our shift. And hot buffet style meals are provided in the break room for those who work the day shift.
BB: What changes should customers expect to see in food stores after the pandemic has passed?
Jan: Great question which I can’t answer with certainty. But I would expect that more frequent cleanings between customers will become the new “norm”. And more patience from customers to accomplish this!
BB: What makes a good customer in times like this?
Jan: Their show of pure appreciation has meant so much. But their patience for this new and time consuming process of “check out” can’t be ignored…
BB: What makes a bad customer in times like this?
Jan: Dropping their used rubber gloves in the parking lot. Yelling matches with other customers (can you imagine the saliva spew prior to masks? not to mention the bad juju?).
BB: Are you seeing a difference in the number of customers you check out?
Jan: Yes, it appears to be more customers. A steady stream. Although I’m not sure if it’s actually more shoppers, or the same amount of customers shopping within the constraints of shorter hours…
BB: Are you seeing a difference in the type of shopping that customers do?
Jan: Yes. I’m seeing so much panic buying. Very high totals. My highest to date was $950.00. Traditionally, Wegmans customers are big produce purchasers, but many are buying so much comfort food (a nice way of saying junk food)!
BB: What’s the best way a customer can show appreciation for workers like you?
Jan: If you like your experience, write a complimentary card at the podium. The worker is acknowledged with a $5.00 gift card for each compliment!
BB: How do you relax after a shift?
Jan: Shifts are fast and furious, so relaxation always starts with a long hot shower. Slipping into clean and cozy comfort wear. But these days I’m totally into the ritual of mulling lemon and honey with hot water. It’s relaxing and somehow comforts me. It’s all about winding down…
BB: We’ve sheltered in place for approximately 7 weeks now. Other than how to wash your hands (haha), what have you learned from this experience?
Jan: That I’m a social animal and miss the humans! But seriously, what I’ve learned is more about myself. Having more time on my hands has allowed me the luxury of appreciating the simple things. The beauty of daily walks along the Shark River. Time to actually enjoy meal prep and planning, the fulfillment of organizing and cleaning. It may sound boring, but “Time” is the key word here.
BB: When do you think the world will be back to the way it was pre pandemic?
Jan: Huhhhh? What’s that? (haha)! I think we’re forever changed and a degree of caution in some form will be the new norm. I don’t see full pre pandemic activity resuming before the summer of 2021. But again, this solely depends upon how individuals react once the “playground” is re opened! Some will be cautious. Some will be like a kid in a candy store!
BB: What changes do you expect to see in the world after the pandemic has fully passed?
Jan: What I find interesting is that the pandemic has put us all on a level playing field. So I’m expecting all us humans to continue to practice what we’ve all learned during this debacle. An elevated display of kindness, generosity, patience and appreciation to others.
BB: Once the shelter in place order is lifted, what is the first thing you’ll do?
Jan: Grab my bestie and head to the Watermark in Asbury! Wait. Change in plans. Have my bestie color my hair, THEN go to The Watermark in Asbury!
BB: How will you live differently?
Jan: Not to be a downer, but I’m feeling financial preparation for emergencies is in the fore front of my mind. Buying American made products, being more generous with my time, but taking more time for myself… On the lighter side, spend more time with the people I love and more time at the beach (both summer and winter). My goal is to engage in something I haven’t ever done before, (so I guess you can say expand my horizon).
BB: What’s your favorite part about staying home? Your least favorite?
Jan: I’m a nester at heart, so having the time to cultivate a cozy home through cooking, baking, organizing is very fulfilling. Also discovered that I LOVE FaceTiming with friends! (A practice I once viewed as “falsely intimate”). I’m also enjoying dropping freshly baked goods to my neighbors porch! My least favorite is my lack of alone time, which is necessary in order to re-charge the soul.
BB: Do you personally know anyone that has (or has had) the coronavirus?
Jan: Not to my knowledge, but I’m sure I know many!
BB: Is there a question you wished we had asked?
Jan: Yes! If I could be a super hero, who would I be? Cat Women. Although she was a villain, she was Batman’s love interest. She was conflicted and sexy, with only a twist of evil… and never killed anyone…
BB: If you could send a message to the world, what would it be?
Jan: If you can’t be kind, be quiet…
*Disclaimer: These answers are opinions and do not represent Wegmans*
(Posted: June 2020)