With the second wave of the pandemic sweeping across the globe, we all know that staying home is the safest option. But the holidays are just around the corner, and the shopping frenzy is likely coming with. Alarmingly, a study by Engine Insights showed that 85% of respondents are planning to buy holiday gifts in physical stores. Get these two together—shopping amid the pandemic, and you get a lethal cocktail with even worse Covid-19 spikes than we have now.

And one former grocery store employee named Dylan Morrison shared the insanity that goes on between the aisles of poultry and roasts, tree decorations, mulled wine, and whatnot in a bid to make people stay home in a viral Twitter thread.

From cheerful Christmas music that sparks aggression in customers, to a furious customer calling corporate because his prepped raw turkey was a disaster (only to tell them he put it in the oven with the whole plastic bag), it’s one heck of a read. So, why not just stick to our all-time favorite festive family drama to raise the stress levels? Because grocery store insanity may just be too much.

This former grocery store worker revealed what it’s like to work there during the festive season in this viral thread

Image credits: dylan_thyme

Image credits: dylan_thyme

Image credits: dylan_thyme

Bored Panda reached out to Dylan Morrison, the former grocery store worker and the author of this viral Twitter post. Dylan told us that even before the Covid pandemic, working in a grocery store during the holidays was like “getting up and running an obstacle course every day.”

In fact, “Customers are stressed, and the stakes are higher on holiday meals than they are pretty much any other meal of the year, so often grocery employees are in the unfortunate position of acting as lightning rods: customers take out their stress on us.”

And here are some insane customer stories he shared

Image credits: dylan_thyme

Image credits: dylan_thyme

Image credits: dylan_thyme

On top of that, Dylan said that traffic is hugely higher during the holidays than during the rest of the year, and everyone is shopping for more or less the same ingredients. “This means there are inevitably times when you have to tell a customer they can’t have what they want, which never goes well,” he said.

The worst moment of working during the holiday season was always Thanksgiving Day, said Dylan. “That’s when you get the customers who didn’t make a plan in advance coming in and demanding items that have been sold out for a week, or screaming at you because they think they ordered something that they didn’t.” Moreover, it’s super hard to be at work while the rest of your family is together.

Image credits: dylan_thyme

Image credits: dylan_thyme

Image credits: dylan_thyme

Having said that, Dylan added that there were always great things about working the holidays. The best moments would be happy customers who came in to say thank you. “It really made me feel like I’d played a part, however small, in helping folks make wonderful memories, and it was one of the most fulfilling parts of my work.”

Image credits: dylan_thyme

Image credits: dylan_thyme

Image credits: dylan_thyme

Dylan urges shoppers to avoid coming into the stores for holiday shopping as much as possible. “Obviously I am not a doctor or an epidemiologist, but we know that coronavirus spreads best in crowded indoor spaces, which grocery stores certainly are during the holiday season.”

The danger this poses to grocery workers is what keeps Dylan up at night: “a shopper can get in and out quickly, but the workers are stuck inside for their whole shift, at hugely increased exposure risk.”

It turns out, frequent customer meltdowns were a real thing

Image credits: dylan_thyme

Image credits: dylan_thyme

But there were some really nice customers too!

Image credits: dylan_thyme

When asked about possible shopping alternatives during the coming holidays, Dylan said it’s rather tricky because while curbside pickup and ordering online are much safer, the employees doing the shopping and delivering are still at risk.

“One thing my husband and I have been doing since the pandemic started is routing as much of our shopping as possible through a local farm. This isn’t something that’s available everywhere, but a lot of small farmers are really struggling right now—their biggest clients are often restaurants, and restaurant sales are down, which means their suppliers’ sales are down, too.”

The thread author concluded that holidays spark some sort of ugliness in people

Image credits: dylan_thyme

Image credits: dylan_thyme

So it’s best to cancel your “usual” holiday regimen and stay home

Image credits: dylan_thyme

He also recommended visiting your local farmers if you live near farmland. “Our local farmers offer safe, weekly outdoor pickups; the food is cheap and fresher than anything we ever got at the grocery store, and it’s a great chance to put money back into the pocket of our community.”

Image credits: dylan_thyme

Image credits: dylan_thyme

Image credits: dylan_thyme

Image credits: dylan_thyme

Image credits: dylan_thyme

More people joined the thread to comment and share their own experiences of working during the holiday season

Image credits: hwkanderson

Image credits: himynameischuck

Image credits: dorotheascloset

Image credits: FourGenCali

Image credits: PatriciaBrush