Grocery Shopping in a Pandemic

March was a month of changes.  Grocery shopping is one of the things that has really changed.  I thought the panic buying in the grocery store would settle down after the first week or two.  But the hand sanitizer and toilet paper areas continue to be empty when we go to the store.  And the grocery stores are always packed with people.

Grocery shopping is one of the few times Tom and I leave our compound.  We go as seldom as possible, trying to limit our trips to every other week.  We haven’t been off the island in a month.  Aside from getting take-out once a week to support local businesses, our local Harris Teeter is our only outing.

After our last experience at Harris Teeter (super crowded) we decided we don’t feel safe shopping in the store.  Harris Teeter offers express curbside service, so we thought we would give it a try.  I spent an hour figuring out how to use the app and filling out an online grocery list.  Then we tried to schedule a pick-up time.  No times were available for the next week.  I called the helpline, and they told me that times open up after midnight so we should try again.

About 10:30 Tom tried the Harris Teeter app again and found that times had, indeed, opened up for a week from Wednesday.  We went ahead and scheduled our grocery order, paying online.  We will pick up our groceries next Wednesday.  In the meantime, we will need to go into the store.  I doubt we will use this service more than the next month because we don’t like getting all the plastic bags.  I also like picking things out myself.  But it is an alternative to going in the store.

Grocery shopping is a crap shoot.  Harris Teeter works really hard to keep the shelves stocked, but can only do so much.  I can’t believe how many people are still panic buying.  Settle down folks!  If we go first thing in the morning the store is packed but the shelves are pretty well stocked.  If we go in the afternoon, there are fewer people but they may be out of some of the things we need.  The last time we went they were out of bread and eggs.

Harris Teeter is trying to keep people as safe as possible.  They installed sneeze guards for the cashiers and have disinfectant wipes all over the store.  I never thought of grocery store workers as heroic, but these people are working really hard and putting themselves at risk every day.  I thank every grocery store employee I see.

Eventually things will return to normal.  But in the meantime, grocery shopping continues to be an adventure I am trying to avoid.