Wednesday, March 18, 2020

A Shopping Trip

The school district I sub for is closed this week. It's officially closed for two weeks, but this could go longer, depending. So, I'm off for the duration.

However, last week was business as usual, so I do have some subbing stories for Thursday and Friday. And I can probably dig up some stories that haven't been posted for the next couple weeks. Or I might go on "summer schedule". It'll depend on my mood.

As we left campus on Friday, we thought it would be business as usual Monday. I even had gigs scheduled for Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday of this week. As I drove home, the order came down from the governor to close the schools. I didn't hear about it until the sub caller gave me a call to let me know. That's when I checked my email and found the official word from the district superintendent.

It was a couple hours later that my roommates and I started thinking. Perhaps we should make a quick grocery run? Just in case...

Yeah, us and every other person in the city.

I've never seen such a thing before. There were no shopping carts, so we retrieved a couple from the parking lot. And the shelves were mostly bare. We got there about 4 PM (totally should have gone earlier, but this was when we thought of it).

I'm not great at panic buying, so I went to look for the two things I knew I needed: milk and eggs. And I was able to find them.

After I got through the line, which wasn't bad, I went to sit at the entrance and wait for my roommates. And it was fascinating.

There was a constant stream of people coming in and going out. I had been there a couple minutes when the store manager came in with a dozen or so shopping carts. Those were taken by incoming shoppers in about a minute. This process was repeated several times while I sat there. Every time the manager came back, all the carts he had brought in before were gone.

At one point, the manager came back in to find that the rugs near the door had jammed the door. He calmly fixed it. And people kept coming in and going out.

There were families. Plenty of mothers with children. Older people. Some went out with a couple items, but many had full carts. (The person in front of me in line spent over $300 on her groceries.)

There was a station with wipes for the carts. As a customer left, he found it empty. I shrugged that that was to be expected. He said that it wasn't empty when he came in.

It wasn't much later that a woman found an employee and pointed out the empty wipes thing. The employee filled that thing right up, and was pleasant to the woman as he did it.

I swear, the grocery store employees are heroes. I can't imagine the crazy they'd been dealing with (and I worked for the evil toy store, now defunct, for eleven Christmas seasons). Yet, they were all very pleasant even though they must be so very stressed out.

The manager returned with another batch of shopping carts. A woman noticed his name tag and that his picture was on the sign as "store manager". She needed to talk with him.

She told him that the shelves were empty. The manager admitted that they were. She wanted to know where the food was. He just kind of looked around at all the people passing by and shrugged. She asked if they were going to restock. The manager informed her that they were expecting a shipment later that night.

This wasn't good enough for the woman, but she didn't cuss him out or anything. She seemed genuinely perplexed.

Eventually my roommates made it through the lines, and we left. While it was a strange experience, I'm glad we made the trip. I think I needed to see this for real, not just hear about it online. Because, wow.

Stay safe out there. I wish you all good health.

27 comments:

  1. We were fortunate to be following early reports by YouTube content creator Styxhexenhammer666 advising folks to stock up on essentials before panic might hit. I'm so glad you didn't encounter any bad behavior. Our community seems to be standing together, I'm grateful to note. The local grocer waved its pick-up fees and YMCA facilities have turned into daycare centers and refuge for any first responders that might need shelter. Take care!

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    1. That's good. These are interesting times.

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  2. I'm glad you were able to get your stuff, and that people were being civil. I've avoided the stores myself. I had to stop by to get some apples for my daughter and meat for dinner. Their chicken was gone, but I did get some beef. Thankfully, my sis-in-law keeps the house regularly stocked with toilet paper and paper towels, so we didn't get caught up in the mad rush to get supplies.

    Hope things remain well for you!

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    1. Yeah, we had a run on chicken as well. The meat section was clear. Never thought I'd ever see that.

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  3. We were lucky we'd just done a big run last Tuesday and since we were out of everything, we got all the essentials without issue. This past Monday, my wife said the shelves were half empty. Store employees are doing a great job considering the circumstances.

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  4. When I went, it was at eight in the morning, and it was STILL crowded. I shudder to think of what it must have been like mid-afternoon.

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  5. The last time we went to the store was a week ago tomorrow. It was an afterthought at the time. Little did we know what was coming. We're part of the demographic that's been told to stay in the house at all times, so we recently placed an order with "Peapod", the delivery service of a local supermarket. Us and about 100 others. We were given a delivery date a week from the day we placed the order. Fortunately, we can still add items to the list up until a certain cut-off time. That doesn't mean the items we ordered will be available. I can only hope the absolute basics will be.

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    1. Glad to hear you have delivery available. Stay safe.

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  6. People are well behaved, pubs are closed which is a shame, no mass gatherings and I have run low on food except Alpen. Chicken fillets have sold out unfortunately.

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  7. I think stores need to put policies in effect for the future that quantities get limited under certain conditions. Some of this could have been prevented if those were in place. We aren't trying to hoard but stay ahead. Hubby goes out most days to see what we can get to replenish what we use. I don't know how people who are just getting by can keep up with it all. I wonder how many panic buyers who bought paper products in big quantities now have money for food. Definitely be safe too out there. Panic will cause people to do crazy things. That worries me more though I know the virus is serious.

    Betty

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  8. Never seen anything like this before. Stop in store to grab a few items. Quite a few people there

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  9. Being a cancer survivor my kids have forbid from going ANYWHERE except the back patio. It's so crazy down town. I think the people who work in those stores are heroes too. AND YOU TOO! You work in a swimming pool of germs everyday. You should all get time and a half - at least!

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    1. Ah well, I'm off for the duration. Your kids are right. Stay home. Please don't catch this thing.

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  10. i hope most of the world can be as hard-working as him and as patient as her (no yelling!) but also a little smarter and less panicky than the hoarders!

    i’m working on my lessons from home, going well so far, but a few technical glitches—to be expected...

    thanks for continuing to support my Beast World campaign =)

    Tara Tyler Talks

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  11. The same in all countries, just weird how people can act sometimes. Stay home and safe!

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  12. FEAR of the unknown....does some crazy things to folks. I went to the store Tue but only got a few things I needed. I am not stock buying and who knows, I might regret that but it is what it is.

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    1. I'm not either. So long as things remain open, we'll be okay. Although, you shouldn't be going out too much. Take care and stay safe.

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  13. The times I've been to the grocery store, the crowds haven't been bad, but it's been interesting seeing what items people are grabbing. The snack cake aisle was picked bear!

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    1. That's what I'm hoarding, too ;)

      Yeah, we just picked the moment when everyone panicked as that's when word first came down that there were massive closures--the schools.

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  14. I'm so glad I live in a developing country. We go to an open air market for fresh goods - where locals sell what they grow or is sent in from the countryside. We go to a tiny convenience store-sized grocery for dry goods. Some have closed as things run low or crowds got unruly in the first couple days, but they reopened when they could. Town is slow, but we are okay.

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    1. You're probably in a much safer place than me. Stay well.

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  15. Fear is a powerful thing. We went to the local supermarket on 3/13 around 8:30 am to pick up a prescription and found ourselves in the middle of Crazy Shopping Day. No TP, frozen food wiped out, no chicken (chicken is about as scare here as TP now) no paper towels, hand sanitizer stations all over the place. Didn't know about it and then found out it was nationwide. Now we aren't supposed to leave our homes except if necessary. Take care of yourself. We in NY and you in CA are in similar boats and I hope someone finds a paddle soon.

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    1. Yeah, chicken was scarce here as well. The meat sections were as cleared out as the TP. It was wild. Take care. Glad our governors have been keeping on top of the situation and doing what they can to slow the spread.

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  16. Either tomorrow or Thursday, we're going to the supermarket, as early as the Husband is willing to get up. I'm still not driving. He's more at risk than me so I may make his stay in the car. Thank goodness we have a governor who in on the ball.

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