I always thought it was pretty strange that the grocery store employees were called “heroes” during this whole COVID-19 shutdown. While it’s true that a lot of the people who work in grocery stores could have just up and quit when it looked like it was going to be really dangerous out there, I always thought it was weird to equate them with medical personnel and the like. That’s not to say that I don’t have respect for any job out there that’s an honest, decent way to make a living. But we were giving the same kind of “heroes” embrace to the stock guy at Walmart as we were to an ER doctor on the COVID floor of a hospital in New York City. Nobody saw the irony of that?

So, in line with many such retailers, Stop and Shop upped their pay to their employees temporarily by two dollars an hour, according to Erin Vogt’s article on nj1015.com.
They called it “hero pay” because they were an essential business. It just didn’t sit well with me because a lot of those people, had they decided to not show up for work, could’ve been replaced the next day by another warm body.

My son, for example, is a delivery person for a food retailer. He continued to deliver during the shutdown. I was happy that he did it. But I would never allow him to think himself a “hero.” It was simply his job during the tough times, just as jobs sometimes have easy times. Had it gotten too tough for him, but he didn’t wanna risk it, he would just have to quit and then someone else would come in and take over. But doctors and nurses who were also called heroes were not as expendable.

So now Stop and Shop, according to the article, has decided that since shopper volume and revenue is getting back up to pre-COVID levels, the hero pay has got to stop. This is the case in other New Jersey stores as well. It’s a great sign that we’re getting back to normal. And that the drama of calling anyone who stepped out of their house from April through June is over. Let’s be honest..was it nice of grocery workers to come in during the shutdown? Yes. Shows a good work ethic? Yes. Heroes? I think not.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco. Any opinions expressed are Judi's own.

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