The Reader: Spare a thought for struggling shop workers

·2-min read

Every day we have been hearing people complain about the deals given to them during the pandemic: employees about being on furlough, and businesses about their less-healthy bottom lines.

I would like people to know a bit more about the experience of a supermarket worker like myself.

I have worked in London for six years in the same retail job. It’s not fantastic pay but you can get by nicely. When the pandemic hit there was so much panic-buying you could do all the hours under the sun. We had little protection, were abused by customers and our staffing levels were low as we had people self-isolating. Then when the panic buying ended, my hours were slashed and meeting my rent became impossible.

I am writing this to highlight the forgotten lower-paid staff who had no choice but to keep going. Next time people complain because they are at home on furlough, think of those who risk their health for a much-reduced wage.
Anthony Needham

Editor's reply

Dear Anthony

Your letter is a fascinating insight into the public service you and thousands of others provide, but without the public gratitude shown to other key workers. When I pop into my local Tesco, I often think of the familiar faces behind the screens. I’m sure I speak for many in saying we are grateful, even if we rarely say so. But I must disagree with you on furlough: that was no holiday in the sun, as those who will never return to their workplace can testify.
Ross Lydall, City Hall Editor

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