#266–Grocery Shopping–pandemic style

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Checklist:

Bags to put groceries in––check!

Mask—check!

Nitrile gloves—check!

Grocery list—check!

Besides grocery list, you need bags, mask, and gloves!

Nowadays, when you go grocery shopping, besides the grocery list, you need a checklist. Steve Inskeep on NPR said the other day on the radio that stopping by the grocery store to pick up a few items is a much more complicated process than it used to be. He got that right!

Shopping early involves few shoppers and no lines to wait in.

Also, I will only go when there are the fewest people in the store. I set the alarm an hour earlier than I normally get up, which means a certain amount of planning ahead. The hours between 7 and 8 a.m., Monday through Thursday, are set aside for seniors. And since Florence is a tourist hotspot, weekends and mid-day any day are busy. So I go between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m. on Friday. And there really are very few shoppers in the store.

Before I got into this habit last spring when the lockdown first hit, I, along with everyone else was out looking for sanitizing products, which were nowhere to be found. Then it was toilet paper’s turn to be the “missing product.” It was during my several week’s long search for TP that I discovered that if you arrive when the store opens at 7 a.m., you have a better chance of finding sanitizing products, toilet paper, and anything else that may be hard to find. And I discovered that very few people were in the store. I was hooked. This became my time to go grocery shopping. As we’re heading into winter, I’m going in a little later.

This is typical weekly shopping haul. And all of it gets sanitized before being put away.

Once the mask mandate came into being, most everyone started wearing masks. Then I started feeling safer when entering the grocery store. Now there are signs to wear masks and someone to remind you that you need a mask if you forget. Since I am no longer young, I fall into a high-risk group. I have friends my age who have their groceries delivered. They wouldn’t dream of going grocery shopping themselves. I don’t want someone else shopping for me I want to do it myself as long as I feel safe.

And when I get home, I don’t just put everything away right away. I don’t park everything in the garage for three days like some people. But I do sanitize every item except produce, and the fresh produce gets washed with soapy water. Some people put a few drops of bleach in their wash water with the produce—I don’t do that.

Freshly washed produce has been rolled in a towel to dry thoroughly before being put in plastic bags and placed in the fridge.

Also, I used to go to the store more than once a week. I never went for just one item, but I’d go when I needed a few. And I’d go whenever I wanted to. Now, I go once a week and usually the same time. If I have an appointment on Friday morning, I’ll go on Thursday or Saturday, but I stick to going early and once a week.

During the week, I write down items that are getting low or running out. And I go online and “clip” digital coupons. I also check the paper and when what I want is on sale, I add them to the list. Overall, I’m a more efficient shopper, and I’m saving money. So when the virus is over, I’ll try to stick to the same routine. Perhaps, some aspects of grocery shopping pandemic style are not such a bad thing after all.

About crossingsauthor

Judy Fleagle spent 22 years teaching 1st and 2nd grades and 21 years as editor/staff writer with Oregon Coast and Northwest Travel magazines.Since 2009, she has written five books: "Crossings: McCullough's Coastal Bridges," "The Crossings Guide to Oregon's Coastal Spans," "Around Florence," "Devil Cat and Other Colorful Animals I Have Known," and "The Oregon Coast Guide to the UNEXPECTED!!!."
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