Day Four: I Go to the Store

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Sorry, but I need to say this first: DON’T FLUSH DISINFECTING WIPES!!! If you think staying home is hard, just try to imagine staying home and having the public sewage system backed-up. This, a warning from the State Water Resources Control Board–which I’d say goes for everywhere…

Anyway, I did hit the “time to go shopping” mark reaching the 1/4 full point on the milk carton, so, after consulting online for Lunardi’s and Whole Foods’ senior shopping hours yesterday, I completed a shopping list, planned my wardrobe–ponytail, hat, mask, gloves, easily laundered sweatshirt–and after lurching from bed at 6:45 this morning, washed down a cup of coffee and a quick bowl of cereal.

If you’re in the “senior” category, then you likely remember a TV show called “Super Market Sweep,” in which pairs of contestants are given unlimited shopping carts to fill in a limited time with the most valuable items. The camera follows the contestants, “They’re heading to the meat department!!”  This was a great favorite in my family, and we’d imagine what we’d go for first. . . it turns out the most valuable items tended to be beauty products (they apparently revived the series in the ’80’s).

In any case, since I wanted to limit my time among my fellow potentially-virus-carrying citizens, I found myself plotting my priorities as I sat at the kitchen table. The last time I went to the store, Monday before the ShIP order, there was oddly no fresh chicken in either store I went to, so like “Super Market Sweepers” before me, I decided to go to the meat counter first, then milk, then pasta/sauce, then bread, then produce, and fit the other few items in along the way.

I got to Lunardi’s at 7:30. The parking lot was pretty full for seniors-only. I parked, donned gloves and mask, and headed toward the doors, surprised to see a couple of young women head into the store ahead of me. Despite what the website had stated, apparently senior hour was actually one half hour, 6:30-7am, not 7-8am. Foiled! However, I was somewhat comforted by the fact that the unused carts were still covered with dew, so hopefully that lowered their chances of being contaminated. I went right in.

Lunardi’s was pretty well-stocked, not the shell-shocked appearance it bore at the first of the week. About a quarter of the shoppers wore masks, but I was surprised to see that none of the employees did. Outrageous. Essential service workers are just that–ESSENTIAL. Grocery clerks especially, who face lines and lines of potential virus carriers handling bare-handed everything we’ve touched. Their protection should be top priority.

Random shortages: No spaghetti; only specialty jars of sauce and none of the small jars; no sliced bread!; and tragically NO GARLIC?!? Well, tragic for me. I peeked down the paper goods aisle and it looked as though there was some toilet paper. Don’t need. Still shoppers did seem to be bulking up their carts, but shopping a week in advance is different than “as needed” as I’ve typically done. I saw only one cart stacked with packages of meat.

So that’s how it went.

After getting back in the car, I removed my gloves (note to self: put trash bag in car), removed my mask, hand-sanitized, and decided to swing by Whole Foods across the street whose senior hour was just getting underway. A line of about 20 shoppers had formed, and I was surprised/not surprised to see a variety of ages waiting. I cruised by the front doors and saw that each shopper was being individually wiped-down by a masked employee, couldn’t see to what extent, and presumably also being age-checked? A sort of suburban stop-and-frisk. Anyway, I did see a middle-aged guy, laughing, walk away from the entrance. Their process was reassuring–Yay Whole Foods!–but not worth it for a couple of heads of garlic.

When I got home, following my own doctor’s recommendation, I came in the back door leaving my shoes outside, removed my sweatshirt turning it inside-out, and headed to the laundry room tossing it straight into the washer. I dropped my britches, as grandpa would say, and my shirt and socks, and not to perform a sort of grim striptease here, got into the shower.

Supplies should be good for the coming week. I’m trying to shop a week at a time as has been recommended, leaving my pantry items for a 2-week contingency if one of us gets sick.

TAKE-AWAY: Plan ahead, and be ready to change plans as needed.
TAKE-AWAY: Check with someone who might need a few items but are more compromised. Unfortunately, our elderly friend had also requested garlic . . . better luck next week!
TAKE-AWAY: The mundane has become an otherworldly-adventure
TAKE-AWAY: DON’T FLUSH THOSE ANTI-SEPTIC WIPES!!!

Stay safe~

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