Sunday I ventured to the grocery store. I had heard the reports that people we lining up an hour before stores opened to get a chance for hot items like meat, bread, paper products. But, I couldn’t do it. I did not want to be around that rush, so I waited until noon. I wasn’t prepared with a list like normal. My mindset was, Get whatever you can to sustain your family for two weeks. I had my baggie with Clorox wipes and my reusable bags, and I was out the door.
As I pulled into the parking lot, things seemed fairly normal. I got my cart and wiped down the handle and began to the produce section. There seemed to be no shortage of fresh fruits and vegetables. Good, I stocked up on everything I could find, ensuring lots of healthy sides for our upcoming meals.
Next, I passed the bakery section. Stocking up on some fresh baked breads, because my family loves breads. Actually, that might just be me. Moving on to the seafood, I grabbed our go to salmon plank hoping for a nice day to grill out this week.
Then I encountered the meat section. Where is the hamburger? Where is the chicken? Empty. I scanned for other protein items. Pork tenderloin, stew meat, roast. I can make something with those things. Hopefully the freezer section will have some other items I can work with.
I continue on my shopping journey. The bread isle. I see a sign posted. Only 3 bread items per customer. I continue to see this sign throughout the store, in the dairy section, in the paper section. I am shocked at several aisles. Absolutely no tortillas, no paper towels, napkins, toilet paper, cleaning wipes, milk. MILK. My kids drink a lot of milk. I have to settle for two half gallons of random organic milk and one chocolate Fairlife to stay within the limit. That will not sustain us for two weeks. We will need to limit our consumption.
Several people have masks on throughout the store. I try not to make eye contact with people for fear of being drawn into a conversation. I need to stay away from close contact. I see a colleague and we exchange pleasantries and wish each other safety and good health. Every door I open, I use my wipe to protect my hand from any germs on the handles.
I think I’m finally ready to check out over an hour later. My cart is filled to the brim. I have never bought so much food. I hope people don’t think I’m hoarding. I’m trying to be responsible and get everything I can think of so I can stay home and flatten the curve.
The man in front of me has a mask on, is spraying the conveyor belt, and wiping down everything in sight. He hands me two wipes for my cart. He tells me stories of people who are sick and individuals that have died. This is not helpful. He is spreading fear. I keep taking deep breaths. I thank the cashier and bagger for their continued work during this difficult time. I exit the store hoping my family can stay away from the grocery for two weeks. So far we are on day 4, and the milk is already running low.