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Working at a Seattle grocery store amid a pandemic: 'They're counting on us to deliver the goods'

caption: Sam Dancy at the Westwood Village QFC. He has been working in the grocery industry for three decades.
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Sam Dancy at the Westwood Village QFC. He has been working in the grocery industry for three decades.
Courtesy of Sam Dancy

Ever since he was a kid, Sam Dancy thought working in a grocery store would be fun. He followed that dream and has been in the industry for three decades.

Dancy, 61, now works at the Westwood Village QFC. He tells KUOW how the pandemic has changed his work. The days are hectic and they go fast. It has also created new challenges and work norms.

I always get there early and I always go find a manager so I can get my temperature checked because you have to have your temperature checked before you can start your shift. Then after I clock in I put on my gloves, I go get an actual mask and I put on my protective face shield. Yes, I do feel safe because I have three layers of protection and I often wash my hands.

Notice "spotty" meat supply at your grocery store? This is why

Obviously, there seems to be more customers at all times. Also, I don’t see customers adhering to the social distancing. I think the customers have been, not all of them, but some of them have been very rude, obnoxious, flippant, and disrespectful to others as well as to staff. People are the ones that have to enforce this policy and they’re not doing it so it’s very hard for us to do anything about the rules because all we are is workers.

I think it’s interesting how a group of people work in our industry that they didn’t want to give $14, $15 an hour, they’re counting on us to deliver the goods so they can have their parties and they can continue to feed their family. And I hope when this pandemic is all said and done, that all the people across the nation that are making $7.50 an hour will get a raise or get something so they can live their life.

Life is something that we don’t have a choice; once we’re brought here, we’re here. And so we have to make the best of it. Each day is never promised to us.

How are you weathering this storm? We're collecting short, first person stories for our series Voices of the Pandemic. We'd love to hear about a moment or decision you faced recently, maybe something that shows how you're experiencing this crisis. Email:

Producer Alec Cowan composed music for this story.

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