Marie Louise McConville: Shop workers are among the true heroes of this lockdown, so why are they being abused?

Shop workers are among the true heroes of this lock-down, so why then are they being abused?
Marie Louise McConville

They do say it is when a storm strikes in our lives that we discover what people are really like.

Yes, it's all fun and games when times are grand but the minute a crisis comes along, you can be sure we will see a change in those we thought we knew.

These last few weeks amid the coronavirus outbreak, we have unfortunately seen the selfish side in some people.

At a time when the majority of us are pulling together for the good of everyone, there are still many who refuse to do so and I just can't work out why.

From clearing the shelves of much-needed items to heading out to meet friends at a time when strict government directives are in place, it seems that common decency has been lost.

The NHS has been repeatedly applauded for the sterling work it is doing and rightly so, with staff risking their lives for others. However, they are not the only ones putting themselves in danger.

Those working in shops and maintaining essential businesses to help others must not be forgotten.

From a teenager stacking shelves in her first job to a seasoned businessman pulling out all the stops to get vital food and supplies to those in need, they are true community heroes - so why are some people not treating them as such?

Standing in a social distancing queue this week to get into Asda to do my weekly shop, I couldn't help but notice the number of people arriving who proceeded to moan and groan about new policies in place - such as one in and one out.

Inside, a lovely young girl who works in the shop, who always asks after Abbie and James, told me how mean some customers had been to her, from shouting directly in her face to moaning when they are stopped from buying too many of the same item.

Elsewhere, I have seen people in shops refusing to abide by social distancing rules.

I have even seen some people climbing over the wall of a nearby property with walking trails now closed, in a bid to still walk there, despite being told not to.

A friend of mine told me how her teenage son has been hit by trolleys, pushed and pulled and yelled at by customers in the supermarket where he works.

Surely we all recognise that this type of behaviour is not acceptable.

These people are keeping us fed and watered and the restrictions applied are to help keep us alive.

So why are they being abused and assaulted?

It's time those among us who are involved in such pathetic behaviour took time to wise up.

When all this is over - and it will be over - the only thing that will be remembered is how we treated each other and those acting so badly should reflect on their conduct.



Is anyone else fed up cleaning?

Every day and every night, clean, clean, clean.

That said, I do feel better knowing that even the rich and famous are having to roll up their sleeves during this pandemic.

It made me chuckle this week when I saw a photo of Hollywood royalty, Joan Collins, wearing her gloves, giving her home the once-over.

With her hair in a casual hair band, the 86-year-old posted the photo on social media with the caption: "Well, somebody has to do it".

You're doing a great job Joan, keep up the good work.


So, how are we all doing?

Are we all still hanging in there?

Are we practising our deep breathing exercises and listening intently to mindfulness podcasts?

If you're a parent and have found yourself struggling a little bit through the lock-down, please know, you are not alone, many of us are in the same boat.

The kids in our households are definitely keeping us busy and if you are on the lookout for activities for them to log on to, fear not, we have it covered.

This week, why not invite a superhero into your home?

Now obviously, we can't physically bring them in but how about logging on to hear them tell sing, tell a story and give advice?

Belfast company, LOC Down Events is doing free live feeds on its Facebook page with a range of popular faces including Batman, Elsa, Belle and even its own resident T-Rex and his ranger, Mike.

Between 2pm and 4pm every day, you can log on to the Facebook page and see each of the stars carrying out a range of activities including superhero exercise, sing-alongs, and hygiene chats.

If your kids are fans of superheroes and magical princesses, this is the perfect opportunity for them to log on and have some fun with their idols.


** If you know of an online event or programme or are running one, send me the details at

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