When Deirdre clocked in for her shift at a WinCo Foods supermarket in Seattle at 4 a.m. on Monday, the store’s shelves were replete with paper towels and toilet paper. Based on customer shopping habits over the past few months, it should have been more than enough to meet demand.
But within hours, Deirdre—who like other grocery workers in this story asked her last name be withheld to speak candidly about her workplace—and her team realized this wasn’t just another Monday.
Toilet paper was moving so fast that by 1 p.m., Deirdre and her colleagues decided to implement limitations on the number of such items each customer could buy. And just an hour later, at the end of her shift, she recalled, “we were already down to where you could see the back walls.”