ATLANTA - Grocery store workers have been busier than ever stocking shelves to make sure families have supplies they need, but the coronavirus pandemic has added a lot of stress to their daily jobs.
Several Publix employees said they finally are seeing the huge rush of customers flooding in for groceries calm down slightly, but they said there’s still a feeling of nervousness from many of the customers who come in to shop.
"It was kind of panicky in the first few days," said Publix cashier of 21 years Ronnie Frostig. Frostig said in his entire career, he's never seen his workplace so busy.
"I was cashiering that first day, and the line was backed up probably half the aisle," said Frostig.
Frostig said the first few weeks of the outbreak were the toughest for him and his coworkers.
"From morning 'til night it was non-stop," he said. "It was hard to take a break because everybody was in line," said Frostig.
Everybody, from cashiers to customers, was on edge not knowing how bad the outbreak could get.
"We were just as nervous as the customers because we didn't know what to expect as far as what to have on the shelves," Frostig said.
He said many people would barely say hello while in the checkout line, but he's thankful his regular customers still visit.
"I have customers come to my line, and no matter the situation, we always interact and have a conversation like 'How's your family?' or 'Are you still working?'" he said.
Frostig said he and his co-workers feel great pressure to make sure families have what they need, especially because helping others is what brings this cashier joy.
"I feel for the customers, they're sad, we don't have everything they want, and it makes me feel not exactly right because they don't have what they want, and it makes me sad too," said Frostig.
Frostig's manager said he sees the tireless effort his team puts in, and he hopes the public knows the risk they take going to work every day.
"We feel like being on the front line and being able to take care of every customer makes us just as important as the hospitals and any other front line worker," said Eric Hughes, the Publix Store Manager.
For Frostig, he said his worry isn't so much for the virus, it's for the families who need the products that aren't in stock.
"Just be patient, we 'll get it in, and we're doing the best we can to get our products on the shelves," he said.
Frostig has one recommendation to all shoppers: just say hello to your cashier and give them a smile. They are working hard to help you and your family.