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Local Lockdown Life

Supermarket employee goes the extra mile

Food retailers have been the second front-line of the pandemic, working non-stop for the last year to keep the country well-fed and minimise the risk of transmission.

Gavin Baker, an employee in the produce section of Hempstead Sainsbury’s, has been keeping his community informed about his store’s activities.

Using #sainsbosgavla on Facebook, Gavin has been reporting on stock shortages, resupplies and queue times since the first lockdown in March.

Gavin said: “I go in fifteen minutes earlier in the morning to look around the shop, see what we’ve got in stock and check what offers we’ve got on that might help people.”

Gavin works at the Hempstead Valley Shopping Centre. Credit: FutureChatham

Gavin started posting on community groups when panic-buying started during the first lockdown. Basics like flour, eggs and toilet roll were in high demand and many vulnerable shoppers couldn’t risk going out shopping if they were uncertain necessities were in stock.

Gavin posts regularly, giving near-daily updates on the store, despite it not being in his job description.

“I had to let people know that I wasn’t the boss. I’m just a general employee who goes and does it because I want to help people.”

Times have been tough for all supermarkets during the pandemic, and Sainsbury’s is no exception. With the strain of supply chains and enforcing COVID-friendly restrictions, supermarket staff are under a lot of pressure.

 “It’s been very unnerving because a lot of people weren’t taking any notice of the two-metre distance or sanitising their hands at the front door,” Gavin said.

Here’s one of Gavin’s latest updates

Despite the difficulties, shoppers have been keen to praise Gavin’s work to friends on social media, and to Gavin’s boss.

“A lot of the community have written in to Sainsburys head office to say how much they appreciate what I’m doing and how they’re more informed,” he said.

Gavin has strengthened relationships with his store and the surrounding community, at a time when we could all use some help.

By posting regularly on local community groups on Facebook, Gavin has helped a lot of people stay informed, and stay a bit safer.

Remember to follow #sainsbosgavla for inside information at your Sainsbury’s.


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