Facebook Post from March 19, 2020
By Anthony Marshall, CNMS Alumni
Hey all! These last two weeks have been pretty wild! And there are a lot of really stressful things happening. For those of you who do not know, I work at Hannaford [in South Portland at the Millcreek store]. I worked 48 hours last week, and I’ve worked 48 hours this week, and it isn’t even Saturday yet. Let me describe some of my experiences in the last two weeks.
Last week we experienced historic record sales at my store. Thursday of last week was the busiest day I have ever experienced with this company, in which I have worked seven years. For a better part of 11am to 8:30 pm, we had a long line wrap around our store, to the ice cream. Throughout the day that line fluctuated down to the meat department and back to the ice cream. Not once during that 9 hours was that line closer to the front than the ice cream. After 8:30 the line died down, but not once did we have a moment in between customers checking out, until after we closed at 11:00pm. After 11:00pm we were still checking out customers. A tremendous amount of hard work among all of the departments took place this day. People came in early to help. People stayed late. Associates from other departments helped bag, while we had every register we had available chugging along. Unfortunately, 2 of our registers were down at the time. But we have devices that allow us to scan with two cashiers on several registers at one time, which we used when we had the extra hands.
These last two weeks have been extremely challenging, trying our best to stock what product we have and keep our customers happy in this incredibly stressful time. Last weekend I experienced some of the friendliest customer experiences I have in my entire 7 years with this company. It’s humbling to know that as a company and team, our hard work in this time is being recognized, and our customers are genuinely grateful. Tuesday, I closed the store, and Wednesday I came in at 7am, to help support the early morning staff, (If you didn’t know, we’ve been starting our days with 50-60 and today close to 80 customers waiting at our doors to be let in at 7am). Due to some staffing circumstances, we also needed some extra help that night, so after my 8-hour shift and a two hour break I came back to close the store again. Today I came back in at 7am. ALL DAY today customers thanked us for being open and working, and every customer wishes us good health on their way out the door.
The management during this time have been so incredibly helpful. Managers bagging, managers and associates from other departments went outside and collected carts that were disappearing as fast as they were gathered, while all register trained associates were fueling the well-oiled engine that is the front end. Over the weekend we had three big feasts that fueled us more as we worked tirelessly to serve all of our customers that came through our doors.
I’ve also during this time experienced several different types of customers, who are all looking at this pandemic differently.
I’ve seen older families come into the store with masks, and gloves trying to get items that are selling out within an hour or two of the store opening. Some of these families are getting the items they need, some are not. I am seeing moms come in without their children (who love going to the grocery store) to keep them as safe as can be. I’ve also seen young people come into the store and laugh about the reactions of others in disbelief.
In this time, it is very important that we not overdo it on the necessities. Everyone wants the same thing, and to buy far more than you need is not fair in any sense to let someone else go without. Please also remember, I’ve had this conversation with more people than I should have to, we aren’t self-isolating because we don’t think we wouldn’t survive this virus. We are self-isolating to limit the spread of a virus that has the potential to reach those that have a high chance of not surviving this virus, and there are many. So please be kind to those who are taking precautions to save others, stop trying to go out several nights a week, stay home, and please if you start to feel sick, please stay home from work, and take proper precautions, yourself.