It's getting scary out there isn't it? I am not trying to be a forecaster of doom but I was out today for hours trying to gather things for my father in law and for us...and the day I had hasn't quite washed over me yet.
Add to that, the changes happening every hour here...it's all too weird.
I was busy all day at home Thursday and couldn't get to the store but I checked in with my father-in-law to see what he may need for Friday. Again it's the minimal of things which means...everything I know he needs.
Today I ventured out...the first time in what seems like in forever. I couldn't sleep last night with the anticipation of what today would bring and I was not disappointed. Madness.
I went to Walmart...and after two hours in line waiting to checkout at the self-checkout (because there were no cashiers on the registers even though they were supposed to be) I was ready to go and ask the Pharmacy what did they have to make it all better. LOL
Social Distancing was NOT practiced in the store. The shelves are bare...contrary to what Doug is sharing, this area store is in sad shape.
When we arrived at the 6-acre superstore, the general merchandise doors were locked with upside-down carts blocking them. Um....no Bueno.
Fire - or any other kind of situation that requires a fast exit would make that whole door situation quite problematic. Yes, I know they are break-away...but still. The carts aren't breakaway.
We drove down to the Grocery Side of the store and there awaiting us was more...fun.
Upside down carts taped together as a sort of makeshift fence to herd cattle...meaning us consumers...down through the sidewalk by the parking lot and up to the door. Like cattle to the slaughter.
And it was...for your nerves after entering. Oh and for the record, no one was cleaning any carts as they say they are.
I heard other customers complaining to the woman at the door about the other entrance being locked. You tell them, girlfriend.
I walked across the entire front end of the store to get to the pharmacy area to get a drug my husband needs to live and had to stand in the Pepcid aisle more than 6 feet away to maintain distancing from the gentleman chatting it up with the girl at the window.
I laughed because I had to raise my voice up a bit communicate my need standing back from the counter as I was speaking through a paper mask, a homemade three-layer mask, and my winter scarf. ( Oh, yes, I was a sight! And I don't care, I have been wearing a mask for weeks longgg before the CDC recommended it. Because I am a Germaphobe ) It was freezing cold here today so the scarf didn't look goofy at all. Spring my patootie.
I left the pharmacy and made my way to health and beauty where I picked up a few needed things and made my way to the grocery side of the store.
It is surreal, seeing the stores like this and the hurried shoppers all grabbing for things in front of others. There were so many rows of empty shelves, even the meat counters were cleaned out.
I try not to let it upset me to tears in the stores because YOU CANNOT TOUCH YOUR FACE.
Which became a problem when the fuzzies from my scarf kept catching on my eyelashes. I shopped the entire time with one rebel fuzzy stuck on my eyeball. I sure hope the other shoppers didn't think I was blinking out an SOS message to them...or winking at them...with all of the blinking, I was doing trying to dislodge it.
So I finished up shopping there...and went to Giant Market to search for items still needed that were sold out at Walmart...and that was another crazy experience and two-plus hours to get checked out.
Oh, the Humanity.
A sea of people cannot...I repeat...cannot socially distance when you have them standing single file with their filled carts from inside the front door around the store to the registers not knowing the new...procedure of checking out. Life was so much easier just weeks ago...to finish shopping, look for a register and stand on the little, yellow piece of tape away from everyone else.
Two registers with cashiers at one end of the run and seven self-checkout registers at the beginning of it.
My observation was this: people do not know how to check themselves out...as verified by the continual blinking for help lights that stopped the process with every UPC barcode swipe.
And like every stop we made, we took a few moments and cleaned our hands with the wipes we brought...said a little prayer and moved on.
I took the food to my FIL and took care of all that he needed before heading home. My front porch never looked so good let me tell you. And we loaded it up with all of the groceries, slipped off our shoes and carried everything to the table to be cleaned and put away.
The new normal.
Clothes, coats and everything else you wore out now goes into the washer. Followed up with a shower for us. The other new normal.
I cannot imagine what our water bill is going to cost us next month.
I spoke with my aunt as I made dinner, checking in with her usually makes me laugh and as luck would have it...she was in the Giant store at the same time I was.
Just all of the way at the beginning of the checkout line by the front door. We compared notes of the craziness and laughed at ourselves a bit more. She can't find any kind of mask to wear so I need to take the time and sew her and my uncle up a few. They are both high risk with serious pre-existing health issues.
A quick call from my father-in-law raving on how delicious dinner tasted and I was ready to catch up on a few things.
Then we heard the newest updates coming out here.
Our mayor has put a curfew lockdown on us now, here in town. Something that has never happened here before.
Everyone must remain indoors with limitations on how many people can congregate outdoors and travel together in cars. We still have manufacturing plants that are non-essential still operating requiring people to gather and work. Rumors have it that there are sick people working in them and the workers want out.
We have an issue here with busses that travel to New York daily refusing to stop bringing people back and forth. (I'm blinking again) --Flatten the tires??? It's a matter of life and death and they are not transporting people to work in New York...it is people visiting their families there going back and forth. Truly selfish at a time when no one can afford to be.
No public street or roadway travel from 8 PM until 6 AM regardless of necessity. NONE.
They are requesting the National Guard to come in to help protect us and keep order.
I heard they hired security for the two testing sites in our town because people were coming in for a test who aren't ill and don't have a doctor's order to do so. They were not happy being turned away.
Walmart stores beginning tomorrow, Saturday, are limiting the number of people into the stores at any given time. When one shopper comes out, another can go in. Yep, four hours to shop and checkout now for sure.
I cannot imagine the elderly standing outside for any period of time waiting for someone to finish shopping so that they can then go in. When I went shopping, there were people who could barely walk hanging onto the cart trying to make their way through the store.
Keep in mind, Not all of the elderly shop on that one day, one hour allotted for them to shop without other customers. I am hearing that other stores are implementing this limit on customers in the store as well. I think Target is beginning it too.
And earlier tonight I saw photos on FaceBook from our Walmart store now stacking pallets five feet high around the entire store blocking off all general merchandise sections to not allow sales from anything other than Pharmacy and Food. (shaking my head) They are creating paths to follow to shop.
I have family members that work in Walmart stores and I understand the need to try to safeguard the employees as best they can. I understand many of the workers are mad that people come in to shop and they feel that they are just passing time out of boredom wandering around.
What I hope that Walmart knows is that they are trying to close the barn doors now when the animals are already gone. It's too late.
All of these weeks...no- months have passed that they had to recognize there was a problem in the world that will directly affect everyone...and yet they didn't implement protective protocols to safeguard us all sooner.
From listening to the News Daily Briefings those in charge everywhere knew there was a problem in December and January yet the Governers didn't close down the states until late in March.
We need food and supplies of course and it is a BLESSING to have food stores open. I am grateful, to the store workers who show up and do their jobs so we can all survive... don't get me wrong. But limiting what people, who bundle up to protect themselves (and others) to go out maybe once a week or every two weeks to gather what they need, can have access to is crazy.
Sometimes what you feel is essential may not be what I think/need as essential. What if I need something random like a light bulb? Electrical tape to fix something. A toaster or coffee pot.
They are not in the food section. Yes, I know about online ordering. I am still waiting for a few things I have ordered early in March to ship...and arrive. I somehow think they are not coming.
There are days that feel like it's a world gone mad...and we are only observers of what's happening hoping for some normalcy that's pushed just beyond our grasp. Also known as grocery shopping days.
Thankfully there are more days that are in our control...as we peer through the glass of the protection of our homes while praying for the time we once had, knowing to appreciate it more when it arrives.