Twitter thread begs us to treat grocery store workers like humans this season

Butcher serving customers at meat counter of grocery store
Photo: Erik Isakson (Getty Images)

Working in food service and retail are two arenas in which you’ll witness the very best and the very worst of humanity and be paid too little for your trouble. Everyone’s gotta eat, everyone’s gotta shop, and no one is required to be in a chipper mood when they do either one. So employees at these places naturally end up with a lot of stories to tell.

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Twitter user Dylan Morrison crafted an illuminating 25-tweet thread yesterday that began with an eye-catching plea for readers to stay home this holiday season. Of course, that’s the safe thing to do in the middle of a pandemic, but there are some incidental benefits to canceling plans: when you don’t throw the typical large-scale dinner party, you might not get unnecessarily stressed out and treat your local grocery workers like dog shit, either.

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“For two years I was part of a team that handled holiday orders at the ~fancy~ grocery store where I worked,” begins Morrison. “To encourage you to STAY HOME this season, here are some stories about some of the wild shit the holidays seem to drive people to do!”

“Wild shit” is almost underselling it. Some of Morrison’s anecdotes are purely funny, like how multiple people called the store for help after cooking their turkey dinners inside the plastic bags they arrived in. Other stories are more baffling, such as one flabbergasted man who grew incensed when he was told it was better to cook a $120 prime rib roast in the oven rather than the microwave. And there are perplexing tallies of all the large and expensive food orders no one ever picked up, without a word of explanation or follow-up.

Most illuminating, however, are all the tears. Morrison emphasizes that crying is a regular part of what you see in a grocery store, the human condition thrust into the harsh fluorescent light of the supermarket. “My booth was set up where we usually kept the cheapest wine we sold and no less than five people came looking for said cheap wine and burst into tears when i was there instead,” reads one tweet. And I get it. When you’re tired and hungry and just want to get home and you arrive at the store to find that management has upended the layout you were already robotically accustomed to, then yes, you might feel the sting of exasperation at the corners of your eyes. It’s human.

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But it’s never an excuse to chew out employees. And lavish holiday plans are no excuse to endanger them, either. Morrison’s thread concludes with the implication that a year without big, stressful gatherings might bring about a better, safer holiday season for everyone, especially the people who help you make those gatherings possible in the first place.

“If it will make you feel better, go ahead and drive to your nearest grocery store, park outside, and weep or scream in the safety of your car,” reads one tweet near the end of the worthwhile thread. “The service workers inside have all probably cried or yelled or both in that parking lot; you won’t be alone.”

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Marnie Shure is editor in chief of The Takeout.

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DISCUSSION

torchbearer2
torchbearer2

Considering how many people strongly oppose tipping and make various excuses not to, I am not surprised that people are complete bastards to other members of the service industry.