Column: Letter from an essential worker

Please stay home.

If you won’t do it for yourself, do it for your parents. Do it for your grandparents. Do it for the healthcare and essential business workers. Do it for your friends, neighbors and their parents.

I know you feel cooped up inside and you want to get out. Your home is now your prison. I get that. This COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed the way we live our lives. Routines have been broken and it feels like there is no end in sight.

I am right there with you.

However, you should not use essential businesses as a way to escape. That is not what we are here for. We are here for your essential needs.

We are not here for your hair dye, your makeup or your photo print orders. We are not here for you to browse and spend money because you’re bored at home.

I have been a retail worker for my entire career. I have met many wonderful people and learned a lot about how we all live our separate lives.

I used to hear stories from customers about how they were once the mascot for the Pittsburgh Penguins or stories about how they once won the Golden Gloves for amateur boxing.

There are many wonderful stories to hear from anyone you meet on any given day. I like to treat customers like they were on the front page story of my own little imaginary newspaper.

Everybody’s story has been the same lately: they ran out of toilet paper, somebody close to them has caught COVID-19, they can’t wait for this to be over, they can’t find masks for sale anywhere.

The allure of talking to strangers has been lost. I want nothing more than to hear what drives a person to their dreams and goals. But if we keep breaking the Safer at Home order and if we don’t take this seriously, the only thing that will drive you to me is going to be when you ask, “When will you have toilet paper?”

If you want to shop for what you don’t need and you want to look for makeup and hair dye, that is fine. I am powerless to stop you. When you catch this virus, at least you will make for a pretty corpse.

Please stay home.

Please come for only what you need, I will gladly help you find it and one day soon, you can tell me what drives you too.