During this time of social distancing due to the corona virus outbreak, I am still having the bulk of my groceries delivered via the Instacart program. It's just so simple : I order and pay for my groceries online. An Instacart shopper fills and bags my order. Then, he/she delivers it to my front porch, rings my doorbell and returns to their vehicle. Simple.
And safe: It eliminates person-to- person contact / possible exposure during this season of health concern.
However, when I occasionally need just a few things that can't wait until my next delivery, I drive the few blocks to our neighborhood store, put on my state-mandated mask, enter, grab a cart from the just cleaned line, and away I go, with store-provided antiseptic wipe in hand.
I know the store's layout by heart and write my list accordingly. Fresh fruits and vegetables in area number one, a variety of bottled waters in aisle number two, and so on...
And, since I hate all kinds of shopping, I move right along. I'm always in a rush to be done and get out of there.
Yesterday, I ran in for some laundry products, a head of on-sale lettuce, and some fresh brown sugar that wasn't hard as a rock like what I had at home. To my list, I'd also added Lysol spray and wipes, liquid hand soap, and disposable gloves just in case a miracle had occurred in the past few weeks and there were actually some of these on the shelves.
There were very few people in the store and I was able to quickly reach aisle # 17 which normally held the Lysol products I sought along with my clothes-washing needs. But, I still found none of the anti-viral items on my list. In each of the mostly empty sections were signs identifying the product plus noting these Items were "limited to two per customer."
This landscape of aisle # 17 was just so bizarre it wasn't registering in my brain. I visually scanned each shelf a number of times before I accepted the fact that none of the products I'd been seeking for two months were on the shelves yet.
"Did early shoppers come in and clear the shelves?" I considered. I loosely figured how many shoppers it would take to exhaust a supply at two items only for each product and found that premise to be reasonable.
Or.... perhaps ....
"Does the store have those areas specifically marked for these products whenever they should again be distributed and delivered?" I found myself leaning towards this latter possibility then focused my eyes on the rest of the shelf space further down the aisle.
There, I could see the laundry products on the left plus a woman standing on the right, toward that end of the aisle. She seemed frozen, with a dead stare focused on the few products displayed on the right-sided shelves in front of her.
I calculated correctly that I could pick from the left shelf the laundry products I wanted without disturbing the lady, and reached for them. Then, as I turned back to my cart my eyes were caught by the words "Anti-viral" in a section of small bottles beside the lady. I strained to read the words identifying the product then did what we shoppers have done for years and said, "Excuse me, can I just grab a couple of these?" as I leaned in front of her for what proved to be an off-brand anti-virus liquid hand soap.
Yes, I had been able to get my laundry products and anti-viral hand soap, but it never came to me until I was putting the items away, that I had violated that woman's right to safe distancing during our joint shopping experience.
And I'm still feeling ashamed... it takes only one such exposure to pass the virus on, they say.
P.S. On a lighter note, I googled how to keep brown sugar soft. I was informed to pack it down in a sealed air-tight container with the addition of bread or marshmallows on top. I'd already been doing the former so will add a slice of bread to the top and see what happens since I don't currently have any marshmallows~ KellanC74