Essential Supermarket Workers are Low-Paid and Unvalued

Is it time to change your career?

Have you ever felt under pressure and unfulfilled in your daily job? Are you classified as an essential worker but do not feel all that important? 

Essential workers are being praised as the heroes of this coronavirus pandemic – a vital and important cog in the machine that is society. 

The sad truth is that supermarket workers are often some of the most underpaid and undervalued people in the country.

Sociologist Dr Alex Wood has done extensive research into the effects of precarious work and “essential” employees. Workers hours are being cut or extended based on supply and demand, with workers expected to drop everything to work whenever required. Low-pay and managerial abuse fiercely amplify the overall feeling of the casual worker – “will I earn enough to make ends meet this week?”

This is how one of the supermarket workers expressed herself to me when I spoke to her in the supermarket near our place.

All-day and all night long I'm sitting here at the checkout – doing the same thing over and over. Customers come and lay their items on the conveyer-belt. I scan each item repetitively, making the same small talk about the same generic topics with every customer. 

Soon the pain starts from my swollen feet up to my legs, my back, my shoulders and my neck. Last night I came home so late, I didn't get to kiss my kids goodnight. The boss has just changed my hours with a snap of their fingers. I have nothing to say but accept – if I refuse I’m scared they will cut my hours altogether! I don’t want to think about what will happen if they do.

How can I pay the rent if they reduce my working hours? They tell me I have no shifts but expect me to drop everything when they call. 

Will this be my life forever? Having constant pain, a non-existent sleeping pattern, missing valuable time with my family and my children, living in fear. 

I keep asking myself, why in earth do I still have this job? 

Am I valued at my work? NO. I am treated like a doormat.

Do they pay me well? NO, I am earning minimum wage. 

Yes, I am low-paid and unvalued. 

I was not born to do this job. I want to live a life away from pain, the stress of the checkout, fear from not being able to give my family the economic support they need. I want to feel healthy. I want to have time for my family, my children. I want to change my situation, my work-life, my lifestyle.

I bet this story goes for thousands of people who are stuck in the low-paid job machinery and don't know how to get out of the nightmare.

There is a way to change the way we work, we don't need to faithful to a truth dictated by society, culture and our outdated educational system.

Nowadays we can educate ourselves, invest in our development and the good thing is, it doesn't take years of college to be profitable, no not at all. Nowadays itis possible to earn money while you learn, earn money while you are sleeping.


Scroll to Top