Grocery Shopping and Corona Virus

Notice the line is down the Easter candy aisle. Oh boy.

I left the house at 5:50 this morning to go to the grocery store!

My supermarket, until early this week, was a 24-hour store. Supermarkets in my area have all adjusted their hours so my store is now only open from 6 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. to allow time for stockers to catch up.

Guess what time is reserved for at risk shoppers. Yep. The first hour of operation each day. My husband and I are both up there in the risk category. I’d like to say it’s mainly because we are over 60. (Full disclosure, my birthday was last week and I am now so close to 70 it’s upsetting…Maybe that’s partial disclosure.)

Age is not the thing that puts us most at risk, however. We both have compromised immune systems. And a few other things on the lists I’ve seen. My husband is more at risk than I am. Plus, I have immune buildup of 20 years as an elementary school teacher which has continued to keep me healthy in the six years of retirement. I know coronavirus is not something I’ve been exposed to, but give me my moment of euphoria about my safety.

Let’s go back to 5:50 a.m. Although I don’t typically go shopping that time of day, I usually am up by 5 or 5:30. That part was not a problem.

I live on the main drag of my rather sizable subdivision. Usually there would be a fair amount of work traffic. This morning it was eerily quiet. One car was traveling in the same direction as I was and I saw no cars coming my way. That was actually unnerving.

I walked into the store, grabbed a wipe for my cart handle, and walked in. People were hanging back before grabbing their wipe, trying to maintain a six-foot space I suppose. No one smiled. No one made eye contact. It was as though they thought they might catch something through eye contact. Everybody looked determined? Worried? On a mission?

There was definitely a crowd already. It was hard to keep a six-foot space. It was quiet. So quiet.

Maybe people thought if they didn’t talk and just used hand signals to motion people ahead, that would help contain the virus.

 An occasional announcement came onto the intercom, not always understandable, but seemingly about special shopping concerns due to pandemic.

I was really amazed at what was in stock. The produce department was stocked like it normally is. I managed to find a loaf of bread, because we get the stuff loaded with fiber. There was not even much on that shelf, nothing on the white bread shelf.  Milk check. Eggs check. They had beans and canned fish and meat, but not great supplies. Canned beans were not fully stocked but I got what I wanted. The only thing on my list I didn’t get was Vienna Fingers cookies. My husband can live with a different cookie.

TP was another story. I don’t need it but when I shopped it wasn’t there. Evidently some showed up later because it started appearing in carts. People realized this and left the line to run back and grab some. Limit 2, thank-you.

There were only 2 checkout lanes open. I was in line for half an hour. At risk customers in line that long. People were commenting on that.

I guess if everyone stays behind their carts they meet the guidelines for social distancing.

While restaurants are laying off people in our area, grocery stores are hiring temporary help. I can see why.

The lines went three-fourths of the way back in the store. A few people were talking a bit as they waited in line. Their shopping was complete. They were bored. They were loosening up.

There’s a new normal. It’s strange isn’t it? But, maybe, just maybe, when we do need to go out to get groceries, let’s not make that an isolating experience. We can smile. We can talk. We can relax. . .  From six feet away.

5 thoughts on “Grocery Shopping and Corona Virus

  1. Panic shopping is really irrational. When I went to Costco, the bread aisle was empty. But if you looked for specialty breads, there was plenty of lavash and pita and bagels. All the regular milk was long gone but there was chocolate 1% lactose free. Very strange. The canned goods were all gone but there were 10 lb bags of basmate rice. The meat was all gone but the deli where they sliced meat was well stocked and they had lots of “meat ends” bagged up and for sale cheap.

    Wipes were all gone but there were plenty of paper towels and Spic and Span cleaner.

    I had better luck in ethnic stores and local markets that were out of town.

    It is not like the food was going to disappear and never be restocked. People just feel a need to “do something” and collecting supplies in the face of uncertainty is a really basic instinct.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. My store doesn’t open until 8 – I’m getting prepped. The big thing we need is the chicken nuggets for Declan – Target brand nuggets are the only one he eats. He’s gone without for five days now (last time I was there they were sold out). Going to try again for him. When we go for walks its the same. You can cross paths with another family pod, but you don’t interact. You can smile. You’re right.


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