DEAR ABBY: I work in the deli department of a grocery store and have been struggling lately. With everything that is going on, people are overwhelmed and have been taking it out on us.
I asked one person, "How are you doing today?" The response I got was, "I'm not interested in conversation. Just feed me!" Another who came to the register didn't utter a single word except to exclaim, when I offered her a bottle opener for her soda, "I've got it!" Then she snatched her change out of my hand. I don't even get the brunt of it; the cashiers have to handle the worst of it.
We employees are stressed out about the same things everyone else is. We are struggling to get the same products everyone else is searching desperately for. I had to shop at five different stores to get what I need and still haven't found many things.
Between the stress of the virus and the stress of being treated so rudely, my mental health is running low. I have struggled on and off with depression and anxiety, and many of my coping methods are unavailable to me due to closures. Could you please remind your readers that we are all in the same boat and need to be kind to one another, and direct those of us who are struggling emotionally to resources we can access during this time of panic? -- STRUGGLING IN RETAIL
DEAR STRUGGLING: I agree that many people react badly when under stress, as the customers you described have done. But many others respect and appreciate the efforts you and so many others in the food supply chain make every day -- at some risk to your own health. I am one of them.
Because you have had issues with depression and anxiety in the past, consider contacting the therapist you worked with and ask if the person is doing online sessions. These days, many of them are. Just talking with someone -- friends or like-minded co-workers -- about what you are experiencing could bring some relief.
However, if that isn't possible, consider exploring whether there are online support groups for retail workers such as you. If there aren't, consider starting one so you and others can exchange ideas about coping with these extremely stressful circumstances in which we all find ourselves.