December marks the busiest season for shopping and despite the pandemic being in full swing, this Christmas season has been busier than ever for essential retail workers.
For this week’s edition of People of Collingwood we spoke with Sheri Goodacre, 56, a Collingwood Walmart employee.
Q: For how long have you lived in the area?
A: I live in the Grey Highlands, between Singhampton and Maxwell. I lived in Creemore before.
I’ve lived here for about 34 years.
Q: Where did you grow up?
A: I was born and raised in Toronto, until I was about 15 when we moved to Nova Scotia. I’ve also lived in Newfoundland.
Q: Where do you work? Can you tell me a little bit about your job?
I’ve worked at the Collingwood Walmart for almost 12 years.
I’m a department manager. I run the Cap 1 team. We stock shelves, do price changes and (display) changes.
Q: What are some things you really like about your job, or things you find challenging?
A: I like that there’s consistency with my job. I also like the people – the people I work with and also the people who come into the store.
I enjoy helping people.
The challenges? It can be stressful. When you’re in charge of getting all the freight out, especially at this time of year... and with the pandemic it’s been really rough.
Q: How have the last 21 months of the pandemic been, working as an essential worker?
A: It’s been very rewarding, I find.
Some people who come in have been terrific, but other people make you feel like you’re nothing.
You learn how to react to people based on how they speak to you. I try to make people laugh.
Like, someone may come in and say, ‘Can I ask you a question?’ and I’ll say, ‘No, it’s No-Question Thursday.’
In the beginning, it was very intense for people and we had a few confrontations between customers. It’s nice to get a little joke in there for people to lighten the mood.
It was also a challenge in the beginning because we didn’t have stuff coming in that we needed. There were times where we weren’t allowed to sell certain things and we had to block (areas) off. Customers were upset about that.
Some were very understanding when we explained that it was not a rule we made – it was a rule the government made. We had other people who would sneak under and grab things and then use the self check out.
Q: With it being Boxing Day, do you have any stories from Boxing Days past you’d like to share?
A: We open very early on Boxing Day and I ran the electronics department for quite a few years.
It can be fun when customers come in asking where everything is. It’s very exciting.
When you see a child with their gift cards, their faces just light up when we can find what they’re looking for. That’s the thing I love the most.
I have seven grandchildren of my own, so watching the kids is something I really enjoy.
I’m not working this Boxing Day though, thank God. (laughs)
Q: Is there anything you wish people knew about retail, or anything you’d like to ask of store patrons when they’re shopping this season?
A: Just to be patient. We didn’t make the rules. We didn’t cause the pandemic. Their patience and understanding is all we ask for.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like people of Collingwood to know about you?
A: Most of my spare time, I spend with my grandchildren. I love spending time with them whenever I can.
I’d also like to say Merry Christmas from the Collingwood Walmart to all of the people in Collingwood and the surrounding area!
For our feature People of Collingwood, we’ll be speaking with interesting people who are either from or are contributing to the Collingwood community in some way, letting them tell their own stories in their own words. This feature will run on CollingwoodToday every weekend. If you’d like to nominate or suggest someone to be featured in People of Collingwood, email email@example.com.