The Essentials

Michael Mitchell


In May of 2020, grocery stores had turned into charged environments. There was still plenty of food, but there were odd shortages. The store had put a limit on the amount of canned beans you could buy, and the shelves for toilet paper and cleaners were completely empty. Trips to the store were nerve-wracking. The place might be crowded and the people may not be wearing masks. If they were, they were still unlikely to be wearing them effectively. At the center of all this were grocery store employees working through this pandemic. These workers are underpaid in normal conditions, and the pandemic only drew attention the vital service they provided. Some places offered extra “Hero” pay, but dropped it as the pandemic rolled on. The title “The Essentials” is about the material needs of society and the people who make sure they are available.