It’s been so busy, there’s barely any time to breathe.
“This whole thing is utterly terrifying for me, and when people come into the store and get too close to me, it makes me panic,” said Sciacca, who works in the Shop from Home department. “I don’t like working through this pandemic because it leaves me and my family at a higher risk for anything I could potentially bring home.”
But like many other employees deemed essential by the government, Sciacca puts on a brave face and hopes for the best every time she goes to work.
Empty Shelves Everywhere
With many people stocking up —some even hoarding — food and supplies, a lot of shelves sit empty in grocery stores throughout the country.
“We limited the amount of certain products people can buy, but the shelves still seem to be empty,” Sciacca said, noting that many people seem to be stocking up on pasta, eggs and meat products. “Any time we get deliveries of paper goods, it’s completely gone within an hour. We’ve been out of cleaning supplies for so long.”
Sciacca said work has been more demanding than ever, as many people either don’t want to or can’t go to the grocery store.
“Our department’s been completely booked out for the past few weeks,” she said. “Shopping 50 big orders a day in only a short amount of hours is stressful. But many customers have been a lot nicer since the pandemic began. Most of them understand that we don’t have many things on the shelves and we’re extremely busy, so they’re very patient with us.”
Staying Safe While Shopping in Public
While the grocery store has given their staff gloves, disinfecting wipes and sprays, Sciacca still worries for herself and her coworkers.
“The rest of the store has been more cautious by providing barriers between the customers and workers, but since my department shops throughout the store, there’s nothing in between myself and the customers, making me and the others in my department more vulnerable,” Sciacca said.
And although Sciacca is thankful to still have a job during this pandemic, she can’t help but feel nervous about bringing the coronavirus home to her mother and sister.
“We never know if someone in the store is sick or not, so I could get sick at any moment from any small interaction,” the 2016 St. John the Baptist Diocesan High School alumna said. “It feels amazing to be able to help the community so much, but it scares me for my health and for my family if I do get sick and bring it home.”
Sciacca’s message to those still visiting grocery stores? Be cautious around the workers.
“We’re scared about this pandemic, just as you are,” she said. “We’re trying our best to provide everyone with what they need, so just be patient and kind, and we’re more than happy to help.”
This story is part of OnCampus’ “Answering the Call” series, focusing on St. Joseph’s College students and alumni working outside their homes in essential jobs during the coronavirus pandemic.