Under normal circumstances, these things don’t matter. But this situation is anything but normal, so right now, they do matter.
In my other life, I work at a grocery store. On an average day, scanning and bagging and counting change are about all I have to worry about. But once the world turned upside down, a whole lot got added to that list. Do we have toilet paper? Has that card machine been sanitized? What items are we still limiting? From the customer perspective, some of the precautions stores are taking can feel like an overreaction, but trust me, they are there to keep us all safe and healthy. Here are the top six things you should know about grocery shopping during a pandemic.
1. Please don’t bring your reusable bags
As much as reusable bags can save the day (and your kitchen drawer), they can bring outside germs into our environment. We’re trying to keep our stores as clean as possible, so by not bringing in your reusable bags, your eliminating a lot of those outside germs from getting on our carts, our belts, and our hands. Even if you plan on using self check, your bags still make contact with the carts, the scales, etc. It might sound obsessive, but it’s all in the name of safety.
2. Follow the one-way aisle guidelines
Many stores have implemented this practice, and it is an adjustment, believe me. I find myself doing a double take whenever I walk down an aisle. But this system really helps with social distancing. It might take a little extra effort, but just be mindful before you enter an aisle and check the signage to make sure you are heading the right way. Even one person going the opposite direction makes it hard for everyone else who is trying to follow the guidelines.
3. Keep your social distance
This can be tricky, as we have all probably noticed. But for store employees, we often can’t control social distancing without customer cooperation, especially if we’re trying to solve a problem for you. At a self checkout lane in particular, if you need help from the clerk, just take a few steps back. They will probably need to access the machine to fix the issue.
4. If at all possible, go grocery shopping alone
I know that for a lot of families, this isn’t possible. If your husband is working (and we know babysitters are hard to come by right now) the kids gotta come. That’s fine, we understand. But if your kids are older and can stay home, or if your husband is available to watch them, then just come by yourself. Or send your husband! It helps a lot with over crowding, especially at the busy times of day. When lines get long, social distancing is harder to maintain if the whole family is crowded around the cart.
5. Please try to be patient
We are all in the same, weird situation. We are all stressed and trying our hardest to get by. So if something doesn’t go your way at the store, please don’t take out on the employees. We are doing the best we can with what we have, and sometimes, that means we don’t have toilet paper.
6. Only take your fair share
We’re all tired of seeing the empty shelves on our grocery shopping trips, so if you’re out of paper towels at your house, just take what you need. There is no need to panic buy. Limitations are lifting, so in order to keep the shelves from clearing out again, until this is all over, take only your fair share and save some for others.
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