Shout Out to the Grocery Checkers

By U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 1st Class Michael W. Pendergrass. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Fox News recently published a story about a well-known actor from the eighties who is now a cashier at Trader Joes. They published a picture of him at his register with the intent of shaming him for working at a grocery store. Because I think their intention is offensive and cruel, I am not going to link to the story.

Put me in the camp who think there is no shame in working at a grocery store. Like this actor, there are a lot of artists, musicians and writers who work a job that pays some bills while toiling at their craft the rest of the week. We’ve structured society so that our creative class is almost necessarily our working class, because we don’t provide healthcare for all, free or low cost education, or properly fund the arts.

But even the store clerks and shelvers who aren’t writing the Great American Novel or praying for the Cosby Show residuals that will never materialize have lives and dignity because of their work, and no one should ever be shamed for the work that they do.

It’s Labor Day weekend. Please spend a minute remembering that it isn’t about the sales or even (solely) about the historical triumphs of organized labor, but about honoring the honest, hard work that most of us do every day. So when you head over to Trader Joes to get some three-buck Chuck and a bag of veggie straws, smile at your checker and wish them a great Labor Day.

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