If you must go out to re-stock your essentials, be prepared. It’s just a wee bit different out and about amongst our mostly self-isolating, COVID aware population. Here are ten tips that you might find helpful (or mildly amusing–gotta have some fun these days!) based on my recent shopping experience.
N.B. In case you are wondering…I’d rather trust myself to do the handling and clean-up of my grocery items as long as I am able, so NO delivery service for this gal. If you haven’t already guessed, I am a self-proclaimed germaphobe whose OCD nature and skills might finally prove beneficial for once amidst this crisis.
SUE'S COVID19 SHOPPING TIPS:
- Rest up the night before shopping. You are going to need the physical strength and most importantly, the emotional energy. Trust me. You may benefit from watching past videos of the Indy 500 race ahead of time as well. Speed and accuracy will be key.
- Gear up! Sport a different set of clothing that you plan to shed immediately after shopping. Notice that I said to disrobe afterward, not during your outing as my title might have suggested. I must have got your attention though, since you are reading this :-). There will, however, be some walking around in the buff as you return from the store and discard your ‘outside’ clothes. This can be a good thing or a bad thing: good for your spouse, bad for your kids or your ego if you’ve been living in the fridge/pantry over the past three weeks. Oh, and wear good running shoes. This is the 100m dash reinvented. In and out. That’s your one and only goal. Stay focused.
- Go armed. Whereas a part of you will only want to take the bare minimum with you (wallet, keys and shopping bags–no way should you handle your Phone!) to avoid cross-contamination, you will need a kit full of gloves, wipes, disinfectant spray and paper towels for your trip. A mask, goggles or even a spare astronaut suit with its own air supply would be a bonus! Maybe from last Halloween?!
- Disinfect, disinfect, disinfect. Wipe off any surfaces that you touch. Truthfully, it would be great if the stores could set off their sprinkler systems with soap and water every few minutes. But since they can’t, try not to touch anything!! Oh wait…you actually need to get items into your cart. Right. A selfie stick or an eavestrough cleaning gadget might work to pick up things, but then it would be clear to others that you actually own one or the other. That would be an ‘oh-oh’ normally, except that this COVID situation is anything but normal, so who really cares?! I say, ‘Go for it!’ if you have one.
- Steer, distance and keep a record pace. You will weave in and out like you’ve never woven before. Your cart might even rail a bit at times, but do your best to maintain speed and control; hence the Indy 500 recommendation earlier. Be prepared for some pit stops however, as other shoppers debate their purchases, but DO NOT veer off of the yellow brick dots mapped out for social distancing on the aisle floor-ways or you will be promptly reminded of where to stand. “Over there!”
- Do NOT under any circumstances let out a sneeze or cough. None. Not even an inkling of one! Certainly no droplets of any kind. Hold them in at all costs or you might as well vacate the store. Glaring eyes will follow you just as your eyes follow them back on high alert. Acute peripheral and distance vision/hearing will prove handy! Eyes open, ears listening, nose and mouth closed at all times. Just like when you were in school.
- Buy only what you need, but make it enough to last. Hmmm… this may well be a tough one. For example, my idea of adequate toilet paper includes being able to bee-hive the roll each and every time, so others might not understand my need for a two-package allotment; therefore, compromise might be best in these difficult times. Since you are stuck at home self-isolating anyway, you have ample time to figure out ways to mete out your purchases. In my case with bathroom tissue, I could reduce my usage by pre-counting and bundling squares in two separate baskets, if you catch my drift ;-).
- When ready to check out, you will notice partitions to keep the workers safe. Scan your own cards, grab your own receipt and where possible, package your own things. Wait a minute….isn’t there already something called the self-checkout?! (Yah, I hate those too, but now might be a good time to bury the, ‘I am an entitled shopper’ hatchet.).
- The dreaded drive home. You think the hard part is done and your only job at present is to return to the sanctity of your own four walls. WRONG! The real work is just beginning….you will need to strip down, wash your hands, disinfect everything (car, doors, surfaces, groceries) and wash your hands again and again…and again. Then, it is time to put everything away or let your goods sit somewhere safe and out of the way to de-virus-i-fy! Did I mention previously that you should probably leave home in the morning to do your shopping to ensure that you get finished by bedtime?
- Well, you survived! Time to finally unwind, right? I doubt it. If you are anything like me, you will surely feel: exhausted, owly, and perhaps even a bit shell-shocked after your once-easy, once-taken for granted trip out. Hopefully, the chore that shopping has become will be enough motivation for you to stay put for the next couple of weeks! You might even find yourself asking, Why in the heck did I decide to go out in the first place? Was that experience for real? Did I manage to escape the COVID virus? And then, you will make another trip… to your beloved and well-stocked fridge/pantry. Safe, home and hungry again:-). Stay well!