I think i may have written a post similar to this a while ago but i recieved a question which i wanted to share my answer to.
So for those of you who don’t know, i have been working in food stores the past 3 summers (as a summer job!). I am both in the cashier and on the floor where at times i have to work with filling and stocking up the fish and meat.
Does it bother me to work with animal products? Both yes and no.
Part of me feels like i am enabling others and helping them to consume more meat and dairy as i have to keep filling the shelves with the products that are gone/almost gone. And also when i am sitting in the cashier and scanning the items/accepting the money for the food it can sometimes feel “wrong”. But then again i think it is the exact same thing with alcohol and tobacco, when people over the age of 18 buy those i can’t say no (unless someone of course is drunk and trying to buy alcohol then i have the right to say no.)
However another part of me just shuts off…. i don’t really think about what i am doing or what product is infront of me. I think when you work in a food store as a vegan you sort of need to shut off. If i were to go around feeling sad and anxious and guilty over all the animal products i wouldn’t get any work done at all. And if you are very sensitive then maybe working in a food store as a vegan isn’t a good idea. However there are many other jobs where you may have to handle and work with animal products and some cases cook animal products for others. I don’t know if i could do that…. so everyone has their limits of where they cross the line/don’t feel ok.
This leads me to answer another question i have gotten, whether i think about what other people buy/judge them?
And no i don’t. Like mentioned above… i just sort of shut off and don’t really think about what product is infront of me. I just scan it and make sure i press in the right codes and press the right buttons. The only time i really think about what someone is buying is if they buy a huge amount of something, example i have someone buy chocolate for c.a 70 euro. Usually i don’t really think about/notice what people are buying…. at times the health coach inside of me can get a little upset when i realise just how much junk food is sold and there are certain groups of people – example young boys who buy alot of soda and sweets which makes me sad. Because it is a group of people who i think need to be targeteed and helped with nutrition so that they can make the best educated choices when it comes to food. (I.e if they don’t know better, you can’t really chastise them for drinking soda and eating sweets.)
And at times i can get upset when there is a campaign on meat (i.e always) and i realise just how much meat people buy….. it sickens me sometimes to realise just how cheap some meat is. Also grilled chicken is the worst…. i remember i used to eat that weekly when i wasn’t vegan. But now just the smell can make me feel a little nauseous. Most of all i try to just shut off my mind so that i don’t feel bad or want to cry over how much meat and dairy is sold each minute, hour, day.
Instead what i try to focus on is 1) making sure the vegan aisles/shelves look good and are stocked up. And 2) being happy when i see people buying vegan food. Even if they may also buy non vegan stuff i can atleast be happy that they choose to buy oatmilk or oat cream or buy some vegan taco mince etc Also i try to be happy over the growth in vegan products and how many new vegan items there are. More people are interested in trying vegan options and alternatives and i choose to focus on that.
I can’t stop people from buying meat or dairy – i have a job to do and i know what the job entails. Instead i choose to focus on using my social media to help others find vegan food inspiration, and maybe i can’t reach out to everyone. But i try to think that for each person i reach out to and inspire, they can continue to inspire others so it becomes an even larger effect (like the butterfly effect!).
This is my thoughts and opinion on this anyway, not all vegans think or feel the same way.