Quarantine Tuesday, May 12, 2020

So where are we at, shopping-wise?

In the world, Elon Musk opened his plant in California and dared the state to arrest him. He also said his stock was priced too high (not long, ago), and that he’s selling all his possessions. I suspect his robotic brain is malfunctioning, and he needs to reboot.

In BC, Dr. Henry is giving dating advice. Here. It’s kinda like advice from my grandma, “So pick somebody, see if it works and then take your time.” I can’t wait to hear her shopping advice.

Anyway, here in Langley, I went shopping. Remember, as always, my experience is anecdotal and before coffee.

I arrived early. (With all the other old people.) I wiped down the cart. (There’s stuff to do that with outside the grocery store.) I had a wet, disinfectant wipe in a baggie in my pocket for disinfecting random things like milk-fridge doors and small children.

I wore a hat to hide my crazy, old guy hair. I mean, I can actually make my hair look ok, but without a lot of product and a comb (yes, a comb!), I look like Southpark’s Kenny after being electrocuted. Without a hat, I frighten children way more than usual.

Inside, unlike a few weeks ago, TP was on the shelves. As was Kleenex, paper towels and pretty much all forms of meat we’re used to eating.

A few items could still not be found – mostly cleaning products or wipes (though I did find wipes a week ago). Other items were sold-out, like shreddies for some reason, but I suspect that’s due to someone like the-Oldest needing to buy all the Shreddies in the world as part of his apocalypse supplies.

That’s good. Lots of food. Lots of fresh food. Lots of bread. Lots of chocolate and vitamins and milk. And Spam. I bought a can that The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World will mock me for buying.

Social-wise, most of the people seem to be able to read the arrows on the floor. That makes social distancing pretty straightforward but slows up a shopping trip immeasurably. I mean, back in the day, which was, like January, I could get a full cart in about 10 min. Now it takes a good 40, because, hey, people are slow, unused to looking for some items (you know how long it takes me to get feminine hygiene stuff), or just morons.

Being me, I point out the arrows on the floor in a nice way. It could be this is their first time in a store in 2 months, so I give them the benefit of the doubt. Could be they’re blind. Could be they feel like the rules don’t apply to them.

Most of the one-way violators are just doing a quick grab in the first 4’ of an aisle. That seems ok, to me, but start wheeling your buggy towards me, blocking my way, and staring at the shelves like it’s the first time you’ve seen organic, free-trade rhubarb syrup, then if I’m not wearing a mask, I have to speak up.  I use my old retail voice and retail smile, but if they’re paying attention, they’ll see murder in my eyes.

If I am wearing a mask, I point at the arrow on the floor and say, “Shoooorbubbing dawung maay.” They usually get the message.

As for masks, I wore mine today, as did about ½ the shoppers and about 2/3rds of the staff. 100% of the cashiers wore them, but the stockers or the ones who pull online orders, not so much.

There was a guard at the entrance now. He said hi to everyone in a very nice way. I wanted to ask him if I can get him to taser people who bug me or shoot people who are going the wrong way, but I was wearing a mask, and he wouldn’t be able to understand me.

But honestly, except for the asshole telling everyone about the one-way arrows, people are mostly super friendly and accommodating. Even better, I’ve not seen anyone trying to hoard (though me buying 19 chocolate bars might seem like it, I’m not, I’m just a piggie.)

All in all, there seems to be less of a sense of panic and desperation. People are going about their shopping lives, mostly complying with the new rules.

I guess that’s the best we can hope for – that most do their part.

Gas, by the way, was about 94 cents today, which seems like the new normal, hamburger (lean) was $14.09/kg, and 2%milk, $4.79/4L. The roads were completely empty at 8am, the parking lots had very few cars, and everyone’s lawn was mowed along my route. Honestly, I’ve never seen the neighbourhood look so good. It’s like the queen is coming. Or The Rock.

When I got home, I still wiped down all my groceries, still worried I don’t have enough pasta to feed a 1,000 people, and still disinfected myself like I’m going into surgery. It’s my way of respecting this new world.

And that’s what it’s like. Better than a few weeks ago, but still not back to a time I loved so much, a time when a man could use his reusable bags, literally run through the grocery store, and not be judged if he bought 19 chocolate bars (ok, not judged AS HARSHLY.)

One last thing, though. I want to thank everyone for their kind words about my Uncle Jim’s passing. I find loss like this hard to process, and I had to spend a day or two kinda curled up in a ball and feeling sad. Heck, when I lost my wife, I basically spent 3 years in that ball, but I’m back in the world, now, so watch out one-way-arrow-ignorers, I see you.

Anyway, thank you all for saying such nice things.

Until tomorrow, stay safe, stay healthy, and respect the new order.



About Joe Cummings

Aquarius. Traveler. Gamer. Writer. A New Parent. 4 of these things are easy. One is not. But the journey is that much better for the new people in my life. A life I want to share with others, to help them, maybe, to make them feel less alone, sure, to connect with the greater world, absolutely.
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