A grocery store manager shared their 20-point list of things every shopper needs to know right now

It's a weird time we're living through, when a trip the grocery store is about our only opportunity to go someplace different than hour house, and every grocery trip feels a bit like entering the arena of The Hunger Games.

Our grocery store workers are certainly underpaid heroes of the coronavirus era. Every day, they go to work to make sure we all have food to eat, putting their own health at risk to do so. And unfortunately, the stress and strain of pandemic panic and economic uncertainty have led some people to treat these heroes with far less respect than they deserve.


A grocery store manager (unnamed in this post, but perhaps originally Jason Baldwin) shared a 20-point list of things we need to know when we're venturing out to the grocery store right now. The post, republished by Roy Allen Stagg, has been shared more than 580,000 times because it contains blunt truths we all need to hear.

It reads:

I manage a grocery store.

Here's some things everyone should know:

1. I don't have toilet paper
2. I don't have sanitizer
3. I run out of milk, eggs and meat daily
4. I promise if it's out on the shelf ... it's not in a hidden corner of our back room

Those are the predictable ones, now for the real stuff:

5. I have been doing this for 25 years I did not forget how to order product
6. I did not cause the warehouse to be out of product
7. I schedule as much help as I have, including many TMs working TONS of overtime to help YOU
8. I am sorry there are lines at the check-out lanes

Now for the really important stuff:

9. My team puts themselves in harm's way every day so you can buy groceries
10. My team works tirelessly to get product on the floor for you to buy
11. My team is exhausted
12. My team is scared of getting sick
13. My team is human and do not possess an antivirus... they are in just as much danger as you are. (Arguably more) But they show up to work everyday just so you can buy groceries
14. My team is tired
15. My team is very underappreciated
16. My team is exposed to more people who are potentially infected in one hour than most of you will in a week (medical community excluded, thank you for all that you do!)
17. My team is abused all day by customers who have no idea how ignorant they are
18. My team disinfects every surface possible, everyday, just so you can come in grab a wipe from the dispenser, wipe the handle and throw the used wipe in the cart or on the ground and leave it there... so my team can throw it in the trash for you later
19. My team wonders if you wash your re-usable bags, that you force us to touch, that are clearly dirty and have more germs on them than our shopping carts do
20. My team more than earns their breaks, lunches and days off. And if that means you wait longer I am sorry.

The last thing I will say is this:

"The next time you are in a grocery store, please pause and think about what you are saying and how you are treating the people you encounter. They are the reason you are able to buy toilet paper, sanitizer, milk, eggs and meat."

"If the store you go to is out of an item.. maybe find the neighbor or friend that bought enough for a year ... there are hundreds of them... and ask them to spare 1 or 2. They caused the problem to begin with..."

"And lastly, please THANK the people who helped you. They don't have to come to work!"

We owe our grocery store workers a huge debt of gratitude and an enormous amount of respect. If this pandemic is teaching us anything, it's that we rely far more on people in these positions than we've probably ever thought about, so we should absolutely be treating them with dignity—at the very least. If you think you're stressed, imagine how these workers feel. If you feel frustrated, imagine how these workers feel. If you're afraid you might get sick, imagine how these workers feel.

Care and compassion go a long way. Let's give our grocery store workers an extra measure of love and kindness, as our ability to keep living our lives at home literally depends on them.

Connections Academy

Wylee Mitchell is a senior at Nevada Connections Academy who started a t-shirt company to raise awareness for mental health.

True

Teens of today live in a totally different world than the one their parents grew up in. Not only do young people have access to technologies that previous generations barely dreamed of, but they're also constantly bombarded with information from the news and media.

Today’s youth are also living through a pandemic that has created an extra layer of difficulty to an already challenging age—and it has taken a toll on their mental health.

According to Mental Health America, nearly 14% of youths ages 12 to 17 experienced a major depressive episode in the past year. In a September 2020 survey of high schoolers by Active Minds, nearly 75% of respondents reported an increase in stress, anxiety, sadness and isolation during the first six months of the pandemic. And in a Pearson and Connections Academy survey of US parents, 66% said their child felt anxious or depressed during the pandemic.

However, the pandemic has only exacerbated youth mental health issues that were already happening before COVID-19.

“Many people associate our current mental health crisis with the pandemic,” says Morgan Champion, the head of counseling services for Connections Academy Schools. “In fact, the youth mental health crisis was alarming and on the rise before the pandemic. Today, the alarm continues.”

Mental Health America reports that most people who take the organization’s online mental health screening test are under 18. According to the American Psychiatric Association, about 50% of cases of mental illness begin by age 14, and the tendency to develop depression and bipolar disorder nearly doubles from age 13 to age 18.

Such statistics demand attention and action, which is why experts say destigmatizing mental health and talking about it is so important.

“Today we see more people talking about mental health openly—in a way that is more akin to physical health,” says Champion. She adds that mental health support for young people is being more widely promoted, and kids and teens have greater access to resources, from their school counselors to support organizations.

Parents are encouraging this support too. More than two-thirds of American parents believe children should be introduced to wellness and mental health awareness in primary or middle school, according to a new Global Learner Survey from Pearson. Since early intervention is key to helping young people manage their mental health, these changes are positive developments.

In addition, more and more people in the public eye are sharing their personal mental health experiences as well, which can help inspire young people to open up and seek out the help they need.

“Many celebrities and influencers have come forward with their mental health stories, which can normalize the conversation, and is helpful for younger generations to understand that they are not alone,” says Champion.

That’s one reason Connections Academy is hosting a series of virtual Emotional Fitness talks with Olympic athletes who are alums of the virtual school during Mental Health Awareness Month. These talks are free, open to the public and include relatable topics such as success and failure, leadership, empowerment and authenticity. For instance, on May 18, Olympic women’s ice hockey player Lyndsey Fry will speak on finding your own style of confidence, and on May 25, Olympic figure skater Karen Chen will share advice for keeping calm under pressure.

Family support plays a huge role as well. While the pandemic has been challenging in and of itself, it has actually helped families identify mental health struggles as they’ve spent more time together.

“Parents gained greater insight into their child’s behavior and moods, how they interact with peers and teachers,” says Champion. “For many parents this was eye-opening and revealed the need to focus on mental health.”

It’s not always easy to tell if a teen is dealing with normal emotional ups and downs or if they need extra help, but there are some warning signs caregivers can watch for.

“Being attuned to your child’s mood, affect, school performance, and relationships with friends or significant others can help you gauge whether you are dealing with teenage normalcy or something bigger,” Champion says. Depending on a child’s age, parents should be looking for the following signs, which may be co-occurring:

  • Perpetual depressed mood
  • Rocky friend relationships
  • Spending a lot of time alone and refusing to participate in daily activities
  • Too much or not enough sleep
  • Not eating a regular diet
  • Intense fear or anxiety
  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Suicidal ideation (talking about being a burden or giving away possessions) or plans

“You know your child best. If you are unsure if your child is having a rough time or if there is something more serious going on, it is best to reach out to a counselor or doctor to be sure,” says Champion. “Always err on the side of caution.”

If it appears a student does need help, what next? Talking to a school counselor can be a good first step, since they are easily accessible and free to visit.

“Just getting students to talk about their struggles with a trusted adult is huge,” says Champion. “When I meet with students and/or their families, I work with them to help identify the issues they are facing. I listen and recommend next steps, such as referring families to mental health resources in their local areas.”

Just as parents would take their child to a doctor for a sprained ankle, they shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help if a child is struggling mentally or emotionally. Parents also need to realize that they may not be able to help them on their own, no matter how much love and support they have to offer.

“That is a hard concept to accept when parents can feel solely responsible for their child’s welfare and well-being,” says Champion. “The adage still stands—it takes a village to raise a child. Be sure you are surrounding yourself and your child with a great support system to help tackle life’s many challenges.”

That village can include everyone from close family to local community members to public figures. Helping young people learn to manage their mental health is a gift we can all contribute to, one that will serve them for a lifetime.

Join athletes, Connections Academy and Upworthy for candid discussions on mental health during Mental Health Awareness Month. Learn more and find resources here.

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