Taking Care of Each Other
by Tony Tone
April 18, 2020

Readers of this column know by now that the past thirty- five to forty days have been a whirlwind for anyone working at a grocery store. At the Hy-Vee store that I work at, we’ve seen record setting amounts of orders coming via Aisles Online. Folks are enjoying being able to shop for groceries from their smartphone, tablet, or computer.

We’ve also seen an increase in orders that are called in over the phone. The majority of folks placing call-in orders are elderly, and they couldn’t be more wonderful. I’ve been on the receiving end of let’s say fifty to seventy-five of these phone calls over the last several weeks. These customers find themselves at home, without access to a computer, and sometimes are totally alone.

My heart ached when someone I spoke to said just last week, “I don’t know what I would do without your store. I have no one.” Read that again, and maybe count your blessings. Sure, you’re practicing social distancing and perhaps working from home, but you are more than likely surrounded by family. There are people in Muscatine who are by themselves and are simply looking to place a phone call and get the things they need.

How do I say this without it coming off as rude; I enjoy these call-in orders because they remind me of talking to my grandmothers. I was blessed to have two incredibly strong, loving grandmothers in my life. Grandma Marge (my mom’s, mom) and Grandma Babe (Catherine but known lovingly as Babe since she was the baby of her family, my dad’s mom) both played significant roles in my life. They taught me so much and I miss them dearly. When the phone rings at work and I hear a call-in order customer, I think of my grandmothers who would find themselves in similar situations. I’m thankful that my job allows folks like this to be taken care of.

And, let’s face it, we’re all getting older. That’s a fact. Check-in on people in your life, especially those that are elderly and alone. Some might be stubborn and reject help, but at least you’ve made the effort and for that they will be thankful.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my coworker, Tara Riggan who works tirelessly taking care of the call-in customers. From shopping their groceries, to making the deliveries, and building relationships, she’s s rock star. The same should be said for Kay Sell and Tammy Becker, who took care of those folks for years. Take care of yourself and I’ll talk to you next week.

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