Let’s talk about grocery stores

Kirstin Kruka
Monte Sereno, California
6 p.m. Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Let’s talk about grocery stores.

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always loved strolling down the aisles with my mom and looking at the variety of options beckoning to be bought.

Ever since this whole coronavirus pandemic, however, the grocery store game has completely changed. It went from being one of the most low-key, normal experiences to one that I will never forget.

The Bay Area was the first part of the United States to be ordered to “shelter in place” on March 17. And the day it was announced, my parents sent me to our local Safeway to stock up in case supplies ran out.

It was a complete madhouse.

You would’ve thought the world was ending. Everyone was scrambling around the store wearing gloves and facemasks with a crazed look in their eyes. Carts were filled with canned food, rice and toilet paper. By the time I got there, the shelves were almost completely bare. I couldn’t even find a bag of brown rice.

I managed to snag the few remaining canned goods, lots of chips and snacks, and plenty of avocados, which appeared to be the only produce in supply. It took an hour to navigate through the store because there were so many people.

After waiting in line for almost an hour, I was relieved to be out of there. Definitely not my usual grocery store visit, but definitely a memorable one.

It’s been a week since the “shelter in place” began, and the grocery store has definitely calmed down a bit. There are far fewer people in the store than normal and everyone is keeping their distance. Walking down an aisle poses a dilemma for some who choose to almost run past other people in the aisle.

There is some rationing including eggs, which are limited to 1 dozen a purchase, and toilet paper, which is limited to two packages. Vegetables are in low supply and the canned food aisle remains almost empty.

Customers standing in line are forced to be 6 feet apart in sections marked by tape on the floor. And every single employee has on a mask and gloves.

I miss the old grocery store experience.

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