Do you get a panicky feeling each time you go into Shop-Rite to battle throngs of masked grocery shoppers for the last economy pack of toilet paper? It seems we are all on the same page in terms of wanting to stay safe. And yet, many people seem confused and distraught while making their way about the store.
It could be the intimidating security guard stationed at the front entrance which is causing some minor distress. Or perhaps it’s the threadbare shelves which were once the home of your favorite items. (How could they be out of creamed spinach already!?) Whatever is throwing you off on your big day out, keep in mind that the rest of society is counting on you to hold it together and be mindful of proper protocol while selecting, paying for and packing up groceries.
Below please find some best practice for protecting yourself during the harrowing but necessary act of picking up food and supplies for your family at the grocery store during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Try not to make grocery shopping a group activity.
It’s true that the monotony of being stuck at home staring at the blank faces of your family members makes a trip to ShopRite suddenly seem like Disneyland. And yet, if you can refrain from piling into the family minivan, that would be a really smart idea. Yes, it’s tempting to bring along the whole gang to help with decisions on which ketchup is the better value… or strategize that if you split up you might be able to snag twice the amount of toilet paper. A far better plan is to designate one grocery shopper for the entire household – that one brave soul on the front lines, risking it all for the last pint of Chubby Hubby.
Stay to the right, pass on the left.
General rules of the road should apply while grocery shopping, and this high-risk quarantine period is the perfect time to enact them. With the exception of Walmart who labels their store entrances opposite of what’s normal and expected, every other retail store where you shop has the Entrance doors on the right and the Exit doors on the left of whichever side of the building you’re facing. This means that if you’re going into the store, stay to the right. And if you’re coming out of the store, also stay to the right. Shoppers should also keep to the right when pushing their carts up and down the aisles. If you must maneuver around a shopper who has stopped to peruse something on the shelf, pass on the left and then reposition your cart on the right side of the aisle once again to avoid traffic congestion.
When necessary, use the park and dash method.
Sometimes you’ll be wheeling your cart down the aisle when you spot a cluster of shoppers fighting for space up ahead. Or, you’ll see some confused individuals all trying to navigate the produce aisle at the same time. (Where do they hide the garlic, again? Has anyone seen avocados?) When these types of problems occur, your best bet is to steer your cart off to the side and make a beeline, sans cart, toward the item that you’ve been searching for. Not only will this speed up your shopping mission, but you’ll also manage to successfully avoid getting within six feet of other shoppers.
Now is not the time to hone your self checkout skills.
It’s true that the long lines and feeling of being herded along like cattle down a nevendingly long aisle barricaded by yellow caution tape conjures up images of Communist Russia. But the self checkout area is meant for people who have mastered the basics of scanning and bagging groceries while managing to avoid doing something to trigger those famous words of chastisement:
“Please place items in the bagging area!”
If you see or hear anything weird going on, immediately head in the opposite direction of whatever the commotion may be. Disgruntled shoppers, bizarrely dressed individuals, general raving lunatics, slow-moving individuals, and screaming children should all be avoided. Wear your surgical or makeshift face mask and keep it positioned properly to cover nose and mouth area for the entire duration of your shopping trip, including entering and exiting the store. Once you’re out in the open air, do not lollygag about or attempt to start conversations with others. Instead, make your way swiftly to your vehicle where you can stow your bags safely in the trunk, lock your masked self safely inside the closed car, and drive away.
We hope that not only are you able to to utilize these shopping suggestions for the safety and well being of your fellow shoppers, but may you also retain these skills for use in your non-emergency shopping practices to come.
DISCLAIMER: This post was in no way endorsed by Shop-Rite or any other grocery store conglomerate.