Students in the Workplace – Fred Meyer

Bothell Fred Meyer; photo credit: Nextdoor Photos

Bothell Fred Meyer; photo credit: Nextdoor Photos

Early 2020 created lots of fear and as you might remember, no fear was as great as the ‘Toilet Paper Scare.’ According to NC State University, “Nearly half of all grocery stores in the United States were out of stock of toilet paper for some part of the day on April 19.” Who was in charge of distributing all that toilet paper? Well… a bunch of high schoolers. One Fred Meyer employee, Isaac Wilson (‘22) said, “It was crazy to see people rush to the tp [toilet paper] sections and stock up, and then there were days that the parking lot was empty and we would just sit around and talk the whole day.” Students who are working specifically at Fred Meyer in Bothell have seen a lot, and their stories and opinions often are beneficial to know as a customer. 

They have also seen some shocking stories. According to one employee, Jimmy Tucker (‘22), “people get arrested there it seems like every day, and a lot of incidents happen. One time, I was bagging and this lady ran into the store followed by three police officers chasing her. They tackled her to the ground and it took 10 minutes for them to finally get her under control. Crazier things have happened, but that’s my favorite story.” Hillary Lumbreras (‘21) also had a strange interaction, “this one time, I was pushing carts outside and my coworker and I saw a man selling these light-up balloons. We went up to him and started a conversation and at the end of it, he gave me one of those light up balloons for free. It was just nice and made my day.” Even though sometimes we’re very strange, they all seemed to say the same things. Wilson said “my coworkers are pretty cool people ” and Lydia Lennerblom (‘22) said, “I’ve met a lot of amazing people there, coworkers and customers.” 

COVID-19 has also affected our local Fred Meyer a lot with constantly busy lines. When asked about her thoughts on working during a pandemic, Lennerblom remarked, “I have mixed feelings about this because some days I walk into work and think nothing of it, and others it gets super busy in the store, and I start to realize how many people I see every day. However, I’ve worked there for about 7-8 months now and I’ve never had symptoms or have had any struggles due to [COVID-19].” Tucker also mentioned, “Our store does a great job of making sure everyone stays safe by enforcing masks and constantly cleaning our stores.”  You might notice that every time you walk into a store like Fred Meyer there are always people at the door watching to make sure everyone inside the store is wearing masks. 

One of the reasons that most people chose not to get a job is simply because of work and school balance. Most of the workers said they work anywhere from 8-25 hours a week. Lydia Lennerblom said, “I would recommend getting a job to anyone who can stay organized, put school before work, prioritize well. If you’re not good at those then you can still get a job, I just wouldn’t overwhelm yourself.” Wilson also talked about the constant work needed, “your day off isn’t a day off, more like a day to catch up on homework and other things. It’s okay though because it’s money and money is pretty cool to have.” He also gave a tip for anyone interested in working, “also start your job in the summer, it’s just easier to get into the flow of things when school starts.”  Tucker was enthusiastic and mentioned, “YES if you are old enough to get a job, it will benefit you greatly. You can choose to spend your money or save up.” 

Quarantine has affected a large number of people’s lives and having a job is a possible choice for most students. Tucker said, “quarantine in general and the past year has taught me so much as a person. If there was one word I would use to describe it, it would be improving. Working improved me as a person and I’ve learned so much.” These words very much summarize a lot of what students are feeling. The best thing to leave you to think about is: what are the pros and cons of being a student worker? These are all people from just Fred Meyer and there are a lot of different job opportunities for everyone out there. At the end of the interview, I asked them to leave a word that summarizes what they have experienced.

“Improving” – Jimmy Tucker

“Amusing” – Hillary Lumbreras

“Fun” – Isaac Wilson

“Valuable” – Lydia Lennerblom

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