A virus has hit grocery stores around the world, including those in Burlingame: long lines. As a result of COVID-19, grocery stores in Burlingame have seen a drastic increase in customers and the introduction of new systems designed to adhere to the surplus of customers and the virus. This is a result of customers needing more food than normal during quarantine, and more individuals going out to buy groceries for other families in this time of crisis.
“I’m a bagger at Mollie Stone’s and the only thing that changed for me is that I work longer hours because we are busy 24/7. Work has gotten a lot harder because it is non-stop busy and it can be scary at times,” senior Steven Bianchi said.
In addition to long hours and more customers, Bianchi is required to bag every person’s groceries instead of some of the customers bagging their groceries themselves. However, if there is one plus to be gained from being a grocery store employee during a time like this, it’s a uniform upgrade.
“Every customer has to be wearing a mask and the employees are required to wear masks and gloves. Also, only 25 people are allowed in the store at once,” Bianchi said.
To ensure that only 25 people are in the store, Mollie Stones has one employee outside counting the number of people that enter and exit the store. Mollie Stones has also implemented some other new changes to hinder the spreading of Covid-19. These changes include glass screens in front of the cashiers, recordings on the loudspeaker reminding people of social distance, every aisle being one-way, and limits on how much of a certain item you one buy. For example, only 12 rolls of toilet paper and 1 dozen eggs are allowed per person.
While currently the amount of daily shoppers has seen an uptake, Mollie Stones saw even larger numbers in the early Covid-19 stages.
“It was like holiday shopping but in the middle of February. At first, there was a spike in customers who wanted to stock up for what they thought would be a mandatory stay at home. However, after about a 3-week span of craziness in the store, the amount of people shopping died down but it is still very busy,” senior and former employee Milo White said.
A part of the huge spike in customers can be attributed to Instacart, a grocery delivery service that has seen a huge increase in users due to fewer people wanting to go grocery shopping during this pandemic. Instacart employees buy people’s groceries for them and deliver the groceries to their door. Today, a majority of shoppers at Mollie Stones in Burlingame are made up of Instacart employees rather than regular customers.
While the new strategies implemented by Mollie Stones and other grocery stores around the world have created a post-apocalyptic, eerie vibe, these changes are essential to ensuring the safety of every customer and employee.