I work in retail, I pretty much always have. I’m part of that strange breed who actually likes people so front of store, with lots of customer contact usually suits me fine.
When I go out in the world, I smile, I make people happy, I try to leave as many people as I can with happy thoughts, that’s my way of making a difference. A lot of our customers are elderly and I might be the only person they’ve spoken too all day, I smile and say good morning, even to the grumpy ones, even when they’re scowling. I know some people appreciate my cheerfulness, and I’d like to think most of the customers do, but at the moment the scary thing is, any one of them, could be carrying the weapon to kill me.
I’ve been compared to many animals in my time… A cat – you’ll often find me asleep in the warmest spot in the house… A mouse – I scurry away from trouble (unless my girls need me… then I’m a lion)… A mischievous monkey – that goes without saying. But at the moment, I’m a bit like an ostrich ….
I watch the news, I follow the rules, I do the best that I can to help beat the virus. But I can’t work from home so I have to go out into the world, not onto the real front line with the medics and other N. H. S. staff, but an army marches on its stomach so I go to my supermarket and I help to put the food on their plates.
I turn up for my shift and prepare myself for work. I wash my hands and put on my mask, then I pause at the door to the shop floor, I gather my marbles, push my ostrich head back into the sand, and head for the checkouts.
I stand behind my plastic screen, but I touch the shopping you’ve just picked up, I pack your bags, I take your money from your hands. I can’t allow myself to worry, otherwise I would be too terrified to leave the house. I have my hand sanitiser behind the counter… As do you on a trolley by the entrance. Sanitising your hands on the way into the shop is for my benefit (thank you) and on the way out its for yours.
The wearing of a mask is now compulsory in shops (except for the excepted) so now little mousey me has to police that too. So if you can do just one thing to make my job easier today… Wear a mask …
We’re all in this together… Things have been better, but they’ve also been an awful lot worse… We’ll ride out the storm as we always do, and when the rain stops and the sun comes out, boy will we enjoy the rainbow.