Essential Worker Shares Compelling, Candid Account of Life on the Grocery Line

On his first day as a cashier at Dream Grocers, Daniel imagines that the worst aspects of his new job will involve the occasional grumpy customer and tired feet. Never, in his wildest dreams, does he think the mundane environment of a grocery store will soon become the nexus between the best — and the worst — of humanity.

Life on the Grocery Line: A Frontline Experience in a Global Pandemictakes readers into the eye of the storm, where some of the workforce’s lowest paid employees ride a daily maelstrom of empty shelves, angry customers, uncertainty and paranoia. Author Adam Kaat drew upon his own experiences as a grocery store employee during COVID to inform his compelling narrative.

“Every day was something new, from plexiglass dividers to wearing masks to wiping down the entire register between every customer to the point where my arm hurt,” Kaat said during a recent interview.

He tells his riveting story through the eyes of a character named Daniel, who watches from the frontlines as the frenzied panic caused by COVID surges like a tidal wave across his home state of Colorado. Now, he’s suddenly being called a hero just for showing up at his job, and he isn’t sure how to feel about that.

Daniel sees fear in the eyes of some customers and hostility in others, as he does his best to hold his head high and just keep making it from one shift to the next. And along the way, he learns more than he ever expected to about humanity’s response to fear, observing most prominently the way in which some people look down on the very workers they deem “essential.”

Author Adam Jonathan Kaat worked in a grocery store as a cashier and then as a prepared foods supervisor from January 2020 until May 2021. After college, he bounced around through the corporate world until leaving it all behind in the Fall of 2019 to write his first novel. By January 2020, he had taken a job as a cashier to earn money while preserving mental energy for his creative pursuits. He got much more than he bargained for when COVID hit. He began to blog about his experiences as a frontline worker, and 15,000 Facebook followers later, Life on the Grocery Line was born.

For more information and to read Kaat’s blog, please visit; or connect with the author on Instagram (@kaatadam), Facebook (@lifeonthegroceryline) or Twitter (lifeonthegroce1).