While people should respect that space and ask another worker for help, one customer was confused when a Cotsco employee declined to help them with a product while on a break.
Supermarket workers, like all employees, deserve and are entitled to breaks. These breaks serve as essential periods during which staff members are not expected to perform work-related tasks unless specifically requested by their employer. Given the physically demanding nature of their jobs, supermarket workers often have to stand for extended periods, handle heavy items and interact with customers.
It is important for people to understand and respect this space, and if assistance is needed, they should approach another available worker. However, in a Reddit post shared by u/unoriginalname86, a customer was perplexed when a Costco employee declined to help them with a product while on a break.
They were shopping at a Costco and thought it was "socially odd" for a worker not to tend to their customer during breaks. "I have had 99 percent wonderful interactions with Costco employees. I'm not even mad about this one, just confused," the post began. "There was a camping chair that had two price tags, I wasn't sure which one it was. An employee was walking by, and I said, 'Hey, quick question.' Before I could ask it, she said, 'Oh, I'm sorry, I'm on break; I forgot to take my name tag off.' She took it off and kept walking."
They added, "Then, to make it even weirder, she spent her break chatting to another coworker, on break, sitting on two patio chairs next to the chair I was going to ask about. I didn't say anything or complain because it wasn't a huge deal, just socially odd since she could have answered my question faster than it took her to explain she was on break."
In the United States, federal law does not require employers to provide rest or meal breaks to their employees. However, many states have laws that direct employers to give such breaks to their employees. Since Costco operates in several states in the US, their employees are entitled to breaks under state law.
The length and frequency of rest breaks vary depending on the employer and the nature of the work, and in the context of the Reddit post, the customer could have easily asked another employee at work for help. Moreover, to ensure employees are taking breaks and are given sufficient time to relax and eat, Costco should provide a suitable break area for their workers, especially for those who work long shifts, to help promote a healthy and productive work environment.
Individuals who work in related fields expressed how nobody works after hours in response to the Reddit post, which generated a discussion in the comments.
"I work at Costco and I'll be rushing to clock out before my 5hrs for my lunch and people will see me rushing and decide that I'm the perfect person to dump their crisis on," shared u/Ok-Personality-2583. "Not sure about Cosco but where I work, we are not allowed to work when we're off the clock and that includes helping customers," wrote u/spla_ar42.
"If you stop to help one person, you'll have three more people expecting to be helped. When you're on break, you don't do sh** for the customer. Let me say that again, don't do sh** for the customer," added u/FangJustice. "It's like they don't understand that our breaks are micromanaged to an extreme. If we spend it working that's time we will never get back," noted u/Otherwise-Engine2923.