Costco Employee Shows What Store Workers See During The Coronavirus Outbreak


These are certainly trying times for every one of us. From worrying about your health to stressing over finances and prospects of the future, there are plenty of things to keep us in the negative. However, at least some of us get to sit this scary time out, either working in self-isolation or staying home. Others, unfortunately, don’t have such a choice. And while most think about doctors and nurses who work tirelessly taking care of the sick, we sometimes forget those that we run into the most. Retail workers.

As grocery stores remain open for people to get food and basic necessities, store employees are forced to brave the storm and go to work every day. One Arizonian recently took to Imgur to share some snippets of his daily life, offering a good perspective on what retail workers have to deal with these days. From customers asking about product shortages daily to shelves being wiped, the user named “idrawontape” gave a good glimpse into his routine.

Bored Panda reached out to “idrawontape” to get some additional information and he kindly replied with some comments. “I’ve worked at Costco for over 20 years,” he offered a brief background. “I stock in the early morning before we open. This is the 3rd warehouse I’ve worked in with Costco,” the employee said.

When asked what it’s like to work at a store during such a time, the man said that the customers are surprisingly nice: “t is weird, cause no matter how busy it’s gotten, everyone who comes shopping, most of them have been VERY friendly,” he said, “even when we sell out of an item, they are nice about it. the only time anyone gets grumpy is when they’ve been trying to get toilet paper for several days and they cant get it.” As for what customers are usually reaching for? “Water and toilet paper are the biggest sellers, but we have had points where we sold out of rice or milk, staple items that we normally would never run out of, but that’s how weird a time like this pandemic has been”.

We asked how did the people online respond to the photos and commentary shared and the employee said that most of the people reacted positively: “It’s been similar to people in person, who thank us for coming into work and helping keep the lines going speedily. Some replies to the pictures are that I’m encouraging hoarding by showing what is in the store, but besides that most are either employees from other Costcos or retail places that have to deal with the same amount of craziness”.

The man also provided some additional commentary on the overall situation for those who were curious:

“I will say that even the really long days that we’ve been experiencing, even with huge crowds, it’s been a rewarding time to work at Costco. My bosses and managers have been doing all they can to take care of us who stock early in the morning (bring us breakfasts, energy drinks, etc) and have been encouraging. Our store manager has been going above and beyond to help the members too, again because the members have been so polite and nice.”

“I know its weird to talk about a job and how it’s nice to work there, rewarding, etc. but it’s been so different than usual, it’s hard to really quantify how unusual things are, yet seeing how friendly everyone has been, it changes how you feel about things.”

This is what this Costco employee’s workplace looks like these days

“The top shelf had a ton of chicken tikka masala the day before… all gone.”

“That empty space, all corned beef. Now, all gone.”

“I don’t even remember what was here, but clearly we don’t have any more of it.”

“Sold a ton of cheese. Barely got any to restock with, too.”

“Barely any lunchmeats either.”

“Want hummus? Well, there’s SOME left.”

“Ravioli, ravioli, give me the formuoli. ‘Cause all the ravioli is sold out.”

“Sausage on coupon means we are out of it.”

“I spent the morning stocking anything we had and making it look as good as I could. It’s pretty much all fronted up, nothing behind it.”

“We got in some sliced hard salami and I spread that out and compressed the rest of the meats.”

“With coronavirus, we had to temporarily get rid of some of the food court items and the lunch tables to prevent the spread of it.

All I wanted to say here with these pictures is that it’s been an INSANE couple weeks. My store in Arizona has had lines wrapped around most of the building before we open, people camping out starting at 6 am, all to get toilet paper.

I have worked harder than I have in years trying to keep up with the surge in shoppers. All I can say is we are trying our best to take care of you. Fortunately, most members have been friendly and polite and thanking us for being there. Please keep being cool with us, even though the lines are long. Please forgive us when you have to wait 20 minutes in line, we are trying to get you out as fast as possible. You guys are amazing and it’s exhausting, but together we can make it through this crisis.”

“This was the “Do we have it?” board our managers made to put by the front door. This was at about 10:45. Already out of so much.”

“We have taken to putting police tape and stacks of pallets up to somewhat “herd” the members down aisles to control the lines. Supervisors will bring people to the front of the line and point what register to go to. But it does add a “zombie apocalypse” feel to the store.”

“These boxes once carried 4 packs of Clorox wipes. Within an hour, many, many pallets worth were sold.”

“This area is where water, paper towels, and pet foods normally sit.”

“This gent with the red broom handle was the “end of the line” employee. He kept the massive main line going to the front in order.

Please keep being friendly with us. We are doing our best. I have had so many people (online and in person) commend us for being there and doing what we do. It’s thanks to politeness like this that makes the job bearable at a time like this.

From what I saw today, we got a bunch of frozen food in and are hoping for water and paper trucks over the next two days. Keep being patient, we like actually making you happy by having product. Stay strong, Costco brothers and sisters!”

“With a limit of 1 case per membership, this might last us several hours!”

“2 hours later… not too shabby.”

“This is me pulling a pallet jack of arrowhead water. They ain’t light, that’s for sure. Brought out about 8 pallets of arrowhead, 12 of kirkland.”

“Bananas, all pretty from a new shipment at opening”

“4 hours later, hey, still have some!”

“When we opened, this was all we had for tissues, paper towels, and toilet paper. Not a lot, to say the least.”

“We opened at 8 for senior citizens, 9 for everyone else, with strict limits on how many people could come in at once. Typically we’d let in between 20-50 people each time. Its kept the lines lower than earlier this week.”

“Our dairy cooler has not fared as well as other sections. Even with limits of 1, we haven’t gotten many shipments in.”

“Not much 1% milk left. Of course, the final one percent is the hardest to get, that’s why they leave it in the milk. (What TV show is that from?)”

“And the empty spot is where the 2% milk would normally be. I wish those cows would stop being so lazy.”

“Those empty spots are where the eggs would have been. I wish they weren’t so lazy either.”

“And finally, when I came in today, I found out corporate made a change to the rules to discourage hoarding. I honestly am very happy to see this. Maybe it’ll slow down some of this madness.

It’s been nearly a month of “people lining up at 5:30 am outside the building”, “no toilet paper, sorry” and “we don’t know WHEN that’s coming back in stock.”

Today was the first day I felt mentally EXHAUSTED with having to disappoint so many people. We just can’t get in enough stuff and so many people keep asking for certain things. I feel so bad when we open at 8 (or 9, depending on age) and by 9:15, I have to tell someone we sold out of what they want/need.

People are starting to get more irritated at the lack of certain items. A woman asked about toilet paper and when I told her we are backlogged so much with incoming trucks, we just don’t know WHEN something is coming in, she said that was “bulls**t” and that “you know, you just want us to keep coming back over and over and buying more and more.” Lord, no, I want it to calm down and not feel like everyone wearing a mask is going to infect everyone else.”



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