Monday, April 13, 2020

Reflecting on the last Shopping trip

About a month ago, March 12, 2020, just before the noon hour I was grocery shopping with a leisurely pace. I went to the store with the intention of picking up some more produce, dairy, and bread. All things that our family tends to consume the most frequently. I also needed a few incidentals to replenish empty bottles of things like ketchup and toothpaste. By this point talk of the sinister global viral infection had been on every form of media. The day before travel restrictions were being put into place limiting international flights from arriving the the United States. Various other pieces of information were circulating about how to prevent the spread of the virus. We watched news channels report on the West Coast as Washington, Oregon and California were being affected by the corona virus. Many states were talking of setting up temporary stay at home orders. Everything news wise was utter chaos.

That chaos filtered down into the very store I was in shopping for weekly replenishment groceries. As I watched people pile food and other supplies into their large shopping carts I began to wonder what was going to happen. I didn't change my planned list other than pausing long enough to buy Easter candy 'just in case' for the children. (So glad I did as that was the last time I went shopping.) As I made my way toward the front of the store the reality of crazy began to settle in. Cereal was nearly gone. I did not need any having bought plenty the previous week, I watched as people tossed boxes into their carts and as others were just trying to find a box of their favorite cereal. I passed the paper products and cleaning products aisles. They were wiped out. Completely bare. People were becoming angered by the limits of 1 package of toilet paper per shopper. People were demanding the employees stop hiding all the individual bottles of bottled water and bring it out right this minute. Apparently the gallon jugs were not acceptable. All around me people were unraveling. Panic was setting in. It didn't even register in my mind to panic buy. When I went to get a bottle of ketchup only to find that the nearly all the condiments were gone I began to become annoyed. I found the very last bottle of ketchup in an excessively large size. Not my first choice but I am glad I bought it. Seeing the shelf empty of mayonnaise, ketchup, and BBQ sauce was becoming weird. I moved on to the next item on my list, the cane sugar I preferred for my morning coffee. The aisle was bare. I couldn't even believe my eyes. Flour, sugar, oils, shortening all of it gone. Nothing was there. Never had I seen the backs of so many shelves in a store. Now reflecting on it a month later it still is flabbergasting.

All these weeks later and still stores are having difficulty keeping products on shelves. To think that finding paper towels, toilet paper, sanitizing wipes, bleach cleaners, and even pasta is challenging. Meats and eggs are now being found on a regular basis. Fresh produce has been easy to find in our stores. Frozen foods are impossible to get. Where does it end? When does it end. We are all feeling like the next shopping trip is more full of hope of finding what we need rather than knowing you can get what you need. It is very unsettling.

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