The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Opinion: Why am I still working?

Car showroom – colorful vehicles parked outside of automobile dealership building on city landscape. Flat cartoon vector illustration of car rental or seller place.

Coronavirus, or COVID-19, has affected the lives of many people as quickly as it has spread. Some people are out of work and wanting to get back to work, while others, like me, are working and would rather be home. 

Now that the campus has been closed, I never thought that I would have to risk my own health by working at a car dealership since all the Elk Grove dealerships are open during this pandemic. 

We’ve been told to not leave our homes unless we provide essential services, but that doesn’t seem to apply when you’re a receptionist at a car dealership. Why do people even want to buy a car during this time? Do they think that we have a COVID-19 super sale?

Our campus, city, state and nation have taken drastic action. The Los Rios district has made the tough decision to put all its face-to-face classes online. But although the people where I work have had multiple meetings about considering closing the dealership, they are continuing to watch the news to see if anything progresses from this already proclaimed pandemic. 

The service and parts departments, which are usually the busiest, have had their customer count cut in half. We get phone calls from people wanting to make appointments but who also want reassurance that everything will be OK if they come in. 

Before the panic started, we already had our cleaning wipes and hand sanitizer stolen. The salespeople stopped shaking customers’ hands and used elbows to greet each other. 

The cleaning people who are supposedly there to clean and disinfect everything don’t actually clean anything but the cars and maybe the toilets. I get paid to answer the phone calls and make coffee, and suddenly it has become my job to clean and disinfect the showroom—the job I thought the cleaning people did. 

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Everyone in the dealership is sharing a container of sanitizing wipes or hiding their own with “F off!” written all over them. 

There are more salespeople working than customers. The dealership closes an hour earlier than it usually does. We haven’t had many customers who want to actually buy a car other than some test drives, yet we still remain open. 

We receptionists from other dealerships all phone each other to talk about how few customers there are. We’re worried that we’ll get sick because if any of the salespeople get sick through interaction, whenever one sales guy gets sick, we all get sick. 

Customers who come in coughing announce that they don’t have the coronavirus, but at the same time, they’re not covering their mouths. I already wear gloves all day as I sit behind my desk for eight hours, and I wish we had masks because I’d be wearing one, too. 

I come home from a long day of getting paid for what feels like sitting and doing nothing while simultaneously fighting bouts of anxiety and feeling like I could get sick at any moment. Then after I get home, I get yelled at by my parents to change and wash my hands immediately before my 2-year-old niece can come near me. 

The dealership has been meeting about all this, and I hope they come to the conclusion that it is essential to close so workers like me are not constantly exposed to the possibility of getting sick. Hopefully, things don’t worsen to the point we all need to self-isolate till next year, but in order to do that, people need to do their part by staying home with the blessing of their employers.

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