SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Grocery store workers didn’t sign up for an inherently dangerous job. Yet, through the coronavirus pandemic, they continue to put themselves at risk.
The incessant ring of the cash register serves as the new soundtrack to David Hunter’s work day.
“They’re shopping for a week. So they’re buying two carts at a time because they don’t want to go out,” Hunter, the general manager at Taylor’s Market, said.
Amid stay-at-home orders, the Sacramento market is busier than ever and struggling to keep essentials on the shelves.
“Then there’s a panic when they can’t find something like eggs or chicken,” Hunter said. “Picking it up sometimes in the back of our trucks just to get stuff to the store.”
Hunter knows his community depends on him. Not only to keep them fed but also safe from COVID-19 while shopping.
“You see the fear in their eyes,” Hunter explained. “We put the glass shields up pretty much immediately. We wear masks. We sanitize all of our door handles, shopping carts, phones, terminals at the registers, you name it, it feels like every 5 minutes.”
The market even put out a handwashing station at the front entrance.
But Hunter knows interacting with multiple people every day comes with an inherent risk for his own family.
“I had this talk with my wife when this first happened. I said, ‘I’m bringing this home every day. You have to know if you get sick it’s because of me.,’ Hunter said. “I’ve ignored all my friends, all my family because they have kids. My parents are older. I don’t want my parents to get this.”
He doesn’t worry as much for himself.
“But someone I love getting this would absolutely devastate me,” Hunter said.
Still though, every day, he pushes forward.
“I love what I do. I love customers. I love the food,” he said.
After all, Hunter knows his neighbors count on him to keep the shelves stocked and food on their plates.
“We’re in a thankless job. You don’t go to the grocery store to thank the checker. You go there to get your lettuce, your salami, or whatever,” Hunter explained. “Things are different now. People appreciate the small things.”