Superstore: The reality of retail

SUPERSTORE -- "Perfect Store" Episode 614 -- Pictured: (l-r) Kaliko Kauahi as Sandra, Colton Dunn as Garrett, Nico Santos as Mateo -- (Photo by: Jordin Althaus/NBC)
SUPERSTORE -- "Perfect Store" Episode 614 -- Pictured: (l-r) Kaliko Kauahi as Sandra, Colton Dunn as Garrett, Nico Santos as Mateo -- (Photo by: Jordin Althaus/NBC) /

When we watch or hear about reality TV, we are often blinded by what is actually reality. Superstore, a show that has appropriately signed off after six seasons is some sort of a reality of working in retail.

As someone who worked in customer service during high school, it was nice to see a show that wasn’t glamorized, or overdramatized as we see in procedural dramas.

Superstore was unique like that. It took the humor of a traditional sitcom, mixed in a little bit of Hollywood, and added the right amount of retail. What really made the show stand out for me was how it tackled issues that happen in the workforce every single day for blue-collar workers.

Topics such as maternity leave, when Amy had her second baby and she was asked to return to work. Or Jonah’s passion to get the employees together to unionize for better health care benefits, and better pay. Sure enough, this is something that is not just in scripted television, but happens in the real world.

The reality is sometimes corporate doesn’t care if you just popped out a baby; they just want to know if you can cover someone’s shift the next week. And that’s a brutal reality that a lot of new American mothers face.

Superstore: The unsung heroes of the pandemic

To top it all off, the show highlights the importance of essential workers during the pandemic. Employees are getting paid the same, but are expected to put their lives at risk, when we take in consideration how many of the Cloud 9 employees would be considered at risk simply due to their age.

The idea of seeing the pandemic on TV when we are already living it seems draining, Superstore executed it effortlessly. The anger, the stress, the little moments to keep workers going. It’s what food and essential workers had to deal with since last March.

When it all comes down to the finale, we see how Zephra was very quick to cut 95% of their stores and keep only 5% as fulfillment warehouses. It’s very easy to see how corporate greed is dangerous, leaving many out of work.

Amy, former Cloud 9 store employee turned Cloud 9 executive, was quick to come back to help her former coworkers. She knows the importance of that job, and so how many people relied on that job and that income.

The finale of the show, could not have better painted the monster that corporate is, and how they treat their employees. Because the reality is, one working corporate you’re always going to be the little guy. And I think NBC did a wonderful job with this show, because unlike procedural dramas, or sitcom police shows, what Superstore did was real (with a hint of Hollywood, of course).

But the best moment for me was in the finale, when the news pulled up to report about the seven severed feet, Jonah was one of the first to be interviewed and decided to dodge the question asked by the news anchor. Instead of answering, she began going on one of his signature emotional (but meaningful) rants about his store. I think that was one of the best moments on the episode.

"“…we’re not the perfect the store, and the truth is we’re not…when there’s a plague and you’re all safe at home except when you come here to cough, we’re here just trying to get you what you need, and all we want is to keep doing that.“"

Superstore was unlike any other sitcom I have seen in a while. They talked about the important topics, things like why did corporate think it was a good idea to lock up hair care products for natural hair? Or the risk of undocumented immigrants in the workforce.  I’ll never forget how Glenn said Mateo’s social security number “checked out” on their Christmas episode a few years back, to keep Mateo from losing his job. And even after Cloud 9 closed, he hired Mateo at his hardware store, along with Cheyenne.

Next. Superstore: We still need answers about those severed feet on Superstore. dark

NBC really hit the nail on the head with Superstore. Now I’m not sure if they’re taking suggestions, but I’d love to see a show inspired by The Cheesecake Factory.

You can watch all seasons of Superstore now on Hulu.