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From first reports of toilet roll shortage, to panic buying. From rumours of lock down to social distancing. Followed by formal lock down and Prime Minister address to only buy essentials.

The way we do the food shop has changed FUNDAMENTALLY

I feel relieved to see the super market shelves now returning back to normal. There was flour back at Aldi’s. It’s been three weeks since I last saw some. A few products are still scarce.

For context, this is what our supermarkets looked like a couple of weeks back:

A big ask

I can’t imagine the pressure the shop assistants are under! Working in a very public space with a huge number of people in and out, whilst everyone else is being told to stay home for their own safety. Shelves emptying quicker, than they can be restocked. Worried customers. Long hours. This pandemic has got to be taking it’s toll!

Yes, we do need key workers to be working. Let’s remember though, that they are expected to keep going and to put themselves and their loved ones at risk.

In the UK, shop workers are likely to be paid the National Minimum Wage, or just over. It’s not a job you sign up for thinking you will ever be asked to put yourself at risk for others.

(For those curious to see what the UK minimum wage and Brighton living costs look like, I’ve added two tables with GBP, EURO and USD costs below)

How we interact with others matters

A couple of weeks back, the till flagged that I had six baking potatoes. I hand’t seen the newly issued four item limit. Very apologetically the shop assistant explained the new guidelines and I promptly answered with a ‘no problem’ and a smile.

I would have thought nothing of this exchange, had she not been utterly surprised and grateful. It appears some customers have been getting very upset at the four item limit and taken out their anger at the staff.

At the next food shop, I asked another shopping assistant how she was holding up. “I am just so afraid of coming into work” she told me, as she wiped down the card machine’s pin pad with antibacterial gel for my use.

I saw her again yesterday and asked her how her week had been. “Some customers have been very difficult.” The addition of a second security guard outside the shop, presumably to help limit the number of people entering the shop at any one time, has not gone unnoticed.

For us as a community, it’s important to remember, that we are all worried. Letting out our fears or stresses on others should not be the answer. Taking a moment to engage and check in could make all difference in the other person’s day. Having a little patience and empathy will take pressure off people on these new front lines. Let’s respect the work they do for all of us and give them our thanks.

Let’s be kind & Stay Safe, Noa xoxo

As reference: UK National Minimum Wage and Brighton, UK rental costs

Currency25 and over21 – 2418 – 20Under 18Apprentice
EUR€ 9.94€ 9.35€ 7.35€ 5.19€ 4.73
UK National Minimum Wage (2020), source: http://ow.ly/rei650z5d0l
Currency1 bedroom2 bedroom3 bedroom4 bedroom
EUR€ 1,144.56€ 1,585.74€ 2,021.22€ 2,555.88
Average rental costs in Brighton (today), source: http://ow.ly/aXxO50z5d2q
As reference for our international readers, UK South East property costs are a fair bit higher than other parts of the UK

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