Supermarket experience. Where did America go?

I went to the supermarket yesterday for the first time in eight weeks, first four weeks having been spent on the infamous “death” a ship, the Zaandam and then the Rotterdam and two quarantined.

I admit I was shocked.

There was a guard at the door to assure you had a mask. Constant announcements reminded you to stay six feet away and that only one member of a family could be in the store. The deli and fish sections were closed.

I felt like I was shopping in Venezuela or another third world country. Not only were some aisles totally empty, but those that had some items were brands I had never seen or heard of before.

I was struck by the regimentation; one way aisles, marks on the floor where to stand in line for checkout, etc. There were the signs limiting quantities which didn’t matter as there was nothing on the shelf.

The masked shoppers moved like zombies with automstic distancing mechanisms. We were like one of those magnetic Scotty dogs we played with as kids pushing each other away. At one point I reached for an item and heard “six feet, six feet.” I had violated the zone. Then I got stuck behind a robot (literally) that wouldn’t get closer to another shopper.

At one point I was looking fruitlessly for dish detergent and found my shopping cart was gone. I panicked, I can’t do this again I thought, has it come to intrastore theft? A hurried search found the cart several aisles away in the hands of an older woman who apologized profusely and assured me she was using plastic to cover the handle, as if it mattered.

My mask fogged my glasses so I couldn’t read labels, I took off my glasses. It’s a good thing I’m nearsighted. Even though I was not in a rush I felt pressure to get the heck out of the store. It was stressful and unnerving. It was unAmerican.

My shopping list proved useless so I rambled up and down aisles taking what I could find as close to what we needed as possible … plus a bag of pretzels just for fun.

I had heard of paper product shortages, but no rice or baked beans, no frozen vegetables, no cranberry sauce? Plenty of ice cream though so I splurged on some Cherry Garcia… and I’m going to break up some of those pretzels on top. Try it sometime.😃 I picked up prepackaged American cheese, my fogged glasses turned it into Swiss.

The question is, are shortages the result of production and distribution problems or hoarding? No doubt some of each.

Well, we all understand why this is taking place and that it’s for our benefit, but I would really like the spoiled America back where we can buy all the stuff we don’t need.

12 comments

  1. A word to the wise. One can’t be forced to wear a face mask if one has a medical breathing problem like COPD or asthma. Nor can one be forced to disclose medical information per federal HIPPA guidelines.

    A week or so ago a draconian Dallas County judge issued a draconian decree requiring face masks in public or one could be fined. Then he faced hot water in high places, so the very next day, he changed his decree to NO FINE. I called my neighborhood Walmart to ask about face masks and was told if you enter the store without one, Walmart employees will NOT make you leave. Today, Gov Abbott decreed as of midnight April 30, everywhere in the state face masks are voluntary and that supercedes all draconian local decrees [Houston was the worst !]

    .

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    1. The face mask does not protect the wearer, but protects others from the coughs, sneezes, etc of the wearer so not wearing a mask only potentially harms others.

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  2. Since I haven’t driven my 2004 Mercedes since the middle of March to my surprise I now need to call AAA for a new battery! So, I decided I would have groceries delivered. That’s a joke!, delivery was 1 week away so any sales in the grocery ads will have expired before that time, and pick up was set for 1 or 2 days in the future, so I am still toying with the idea of going to the grocery store that my children tell me not to go out anyplace, so what’s the answer. And paper products, I had to ask my grandson who lives in a rural county near here to bring me, since there hasn’t been any since I was at the store in early March. So, year, hurry up with that vaccine, doctors, we need to get back to regular living. (See what you missed while on your extended cruise!)

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  3. If you really want a fine experience, go to Walmart. If you happen to have the patience to wait on the 60 person line, then scramble for the items you so desperately can’t find, only to buy stuff you really don’t need, but because you made it this far, feel compelled to buy, I say- don’t go. It’s very disheartening that people have become nasty and disrespectful. I’m frustrated too, but when I let the 80 year old woman with 2 items go ahead of me on the checkout line, all hell broke out behind me. People started yelling “hey she’s gotta get online”….really? Is this what society has become? I just can’t …..

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  4. Coming off your “vacation” and into solitary confinement in itself must have been a real shock. Then to experience a new found “freedom” at zombie like shopping really blew your sense of reality. Where we live they open stores at 7 am for seniors but that is no trip for speed racer. Like the show “who wants to win a million” we call my son, grandchildren or a younger neighbor. We are just now being asked to wear masks but to get up at 6 am to shop behind mobiliy impaired doesn’t do it for us. Try the click it shoppers on line who then do the shopping for you and have it brought to a designated spot in the parking lot or delivered to your door.
    This is the new normal we are faced with.

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  5. I noticed that every time Governor Murphy puts into place new restricts there was another round of panic buying. Cutting hours, number of people allowed in the store, reduce bus service. People don’t know if they will be allowed back in the store the following week. (of course they will be).

    Beside the supply train issues of trying to get the products into the store, take a look at what is not selling. Some stuff is just so bad, nobody wants it. Also America is eating differently and the supply train was not setup to feed everybody at home. Take butter for example. A large part was packaged for restaurants in bulk. Now restaurants are not buying butter, but the suppliers do not have the extra machinery to package it for home use, where due to restaurants being closed, the butter is needed.

    Think of your shopping experience as an episode of Chopped. What can you make with these mystery ingredients?

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    1. You hit on something important. I read that the supply chain was roughly 50/50 grocery store/restaurant supply. Things have shifted enough to the grocery side to throw things out of whack. The restaurant stuff is packed differently and cannot be changed over to consumer grocery so easily as you point out with the butter example.

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  6. Hey Dick, get used to it. They are talking things could be like this for quite a while. I go at 7am and not much of a problem. Most of our snowbirds have flown the coop. Stores have gotten better. Gas here is $1.56 at Sam’s Club. Wish I had a 1000 gal.tank. Just think,we can soon think about hurricanes.

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