Life as a Stocker at Strack & Van Til

I currently work as a stocker at Strack and Van Til in Schererville. I got promoted to a stocker this year, after working as a bagger for over a year.

I currently work as a stocker at Strack and Van Til in Schererville. I got promoted to a stocker this year, after working as a bagger for over a year.

Yousef Nammari, Social Media Editor

   Did I ever think that I would be working 40-45 hours every week my senior year of high school? Well, the answer is no. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, I have been putting in way more hours at my job than I ever expected. I currently work as a stocker at Strack and Van Til in Schererville, IN. I have worked there for about two years now. I first started off working there as a bagger, but later got promoted to a stocker. Working as a stocker, my department most of the time is grocery. Being a grocery stocker, your main focus is to keep all aisles and end caps stocked and full. End Caps are the shelves that are at the ends of every aisle, which hold most of the sale items that week. The one thing you always need to remember as a stocker is that there’s so much on sale every week, so you constantly have to make sure every aisle looks somewhat full.

   Also as a stocker, I’m also trained as a cashier. On busy days, the managers in the front end call for us stockers to go up to checkout and lend a hand. This is hard on most busy days because I can be in the middle of stocking something, and then I get called up front to cashier. I do enjoy cashiering, however. Whenever I’m called up to cashier, it’s a little “break” from all the heavy lifting and moving around that I normally do as a stocker.

   When the Covid-19 pandemic broke out towards the end of March, into early April, my life at work changed. My schedule went up from 32 hours a week to 48 hours every week. I have been working 8 hour shifts 6 days straight with one day off every week. The increase in hours is due to the daily truck loads of inventory we’re receiving. Another job as a stocker is to unload any deliveries we receive, whether it’s from our wholesale grocery supplier or from our warehouse. After the stay-at-home order was announced, our shelves looked horrific. Every aisle at work was cleared out, especially aisle 16: the toilet paper aisle. The demand for bottled water and toilet paper was so high that we ran out of every brand we carry. It got to a point where I would just unload a pallet of toilet paper off the delivery truck, and take the whole pallet onto the floor. The toilet paper would sell out within ten to fifteen minutes!

   There have been a lot of restrictions and rules put into place at work due to the pandemic. The aisles all have arrows to help with traffic flow. This means that each aisle is one-way, and you have to follow the order of everyone in the aisle to help with the social distancing rules. Also, all employees are required to wear face masks. Thankfully, we are supplied with face masks and gloves at work. There have been glass shield-like walls put at every register to help keep a type of barrier between the customer and cashier. When the customers reach checkout, there are signs on the ground 6-feet apart to indicate where to stand in line. As a stocker, I had to remove all the shipper-displays we have throughout the aisles. Shipper displays are little displays we receive from the vendors to put into each aisle. The reason we had to remove all shippers and displays is because of the social distancing rules put into place. All of the stockers worked together with management to remove as much as we can to help improve social distancing and gain a lot more floor room.

   I am thankful to still have my job and to still be making money during this challenging time. Although it is nice to be employed at a grocery store, it is still scary going to work every day. Most of my coworkers have taken a leave from work, which has caused management to hire ‘“temporary” workers for the time being. The idea that I can possibly get sick at work from a customer who has the virus scares me every day. I understand the circumstances with going to work and know that I’m doing a lot of good right now with everything going on. The benefit from all of this is that I am currently receiving a $2 per hour raise. This raise is called hero pay, and all Strack and Van Til employees are receiving it as a thank you for everything going on!