St. Patrick's Day 2020: A View From Shoprite.

I've been thinking that I SHOULD have been keeping an online diary or something since this mess of a pandemic began.  Now we're in the thick of it, but it's never too late to write something down.  I think it's important to keep record of what's going on so that we can look back...some day we WILL look back.  But for now...

This is my third day of working from home.  Friday I asked to work from home since the schools were closing early and I didn't know how much stuff my son was going to need to bring home.  After all kids keep a LOT of crap in their lockers and they were told to clean them out. I envisioned him carrying ton a stuff...I was wrong.  (Or maybe there still is a bunch of stuff in his locker that he should have taken home but didn't...I'll never know.)  On Sunday night my company allowed most people to work remotely and I chose to do so since my son was home.  Before that I was planning on going in.  My office suite is small and social distancing is a way of life because on a busy day there might be 12 people there and our cubicles are large (as far as cubicles go) and no one is on top of anyone.  Who knows when I will be back...?

Friday is my usual grocery day.  And you can read about my experience here.  Today, March 17th, is NOT my usual shopping day.  However, today was the last day that corned beef was on sale and even though I'd made my St. Patrick's Day dinner on Sunday, I thought I'd give my local Shoprite a go.  I made a small list of items that we could use (my son has been eating a lot of yogurt lately) and items that were on sale this week.  

The store I go to is under construction, which means it's a bit chaotic even when there isn't pandemic! I decided to do this one my own (usually my husband and I tackle this together.)  I left the house about minutes to seven, as the store opens at seven.  On a "normal" day I would have needed to give myself more time than that due to traffic, but there is nothing normal about this week.

I pulled into the parking lot a minute before seven.  While it was not as chaotic as Friday (when I arrived at 7:40), the lot was very full.  However, no one was jockeying for position.  There was no line to make your way down to the lower lot.  I just drove and found a spot, even if it was quite a distance away.

Though the store lot was quite full, I didn't think the store itself was that bad.  Yes, there were plenty of people, but things moved.  I didn't have to wait to get in (which I kind of did on Friday when people were blocking the entrance as they wiped down their carts.)  I worked backwards on my list (because I went in the door that I would usually exit).  I was not able to get everything on my list (like the corned beef that I actually went there for), but I was able to get most.  Here are some of my observations from today's outing:
  • At the early hour of the morning, shelves are still being stocked.  Items may be missing, but items ARE coming in.
  • Those cleaning supplies (like wipes and can of Lysol) are still missing.  Paper towels and tissues are still scarce.  
  • If you like soda and "junk food" you are in luck.  There are plenty of "snack" foods and sodas.  
  • Milk was light, but available.  There were plenty of dairy products like cheese and yogurt.  Although eggs are a no no for me, there was no shortage of them OR of bacon (which was also on sale this week so you can bet I grabbed a pack).
  • Packaged pastas, rices, etc. were picked over.  I'm thinking they would be restocking later, but that section was pretty sparse.
  • We obviously LOVE our meat and poultry.  As I said, I couldn't find corned beef.  The chopped meat section was pretty well picked over.  There was some pork.  There was probably more in the butcher section, but I wasn't going to wait.  What I did see in beef was a little pricey, so I took a pass.  I still have some items in my freezer that I can defrost and use.
  • We are NOT a seafood nation.  (Or at least we are not in my section of the world.)  The new seafood counter was well stocked.  The section for frozen seafood seemed to be untouched.  Now might be a good time to stock up on those items.  (Something I will consider when I go back.)
  • While I couldn't find a corned beef, I COULD find cabbage (which I couldn't find last time).  The produce section was also well stocked.  People, get out there, buy and eat these items.  They are good for you no matter what the situation is.  I thought that they might be running low on clementines (since they were on sale this week).  There was MORE than enough.  Don't forget your fruits and veggies.  
  • I got on line around 7:30 and there were only two people ahead of me.  Usually at this hour there is no wait, but...Not all aisles were open (as they were on Friday), but then again the lines were manageable at the hour.
  • One final thing, since it is St. Patrick's Day, I am wearing my green.  Didn't see a lot of others in green today.  But the people I did see were generally courteous and kind.  Perhaps we are all realizing that we are in this together and that we need to treat each other with care.  (And we always should.)
All in all not a bad trip to the grocery store.  

If you need to go out and shop:
  • Take your time
  • Don't expect the store to have everything you need.  
  • Make do with what they do have
  • No's NOT necessary
  • Be courteous.
  • Although we are keeping our physical distance from one another; a smile can go miles.

Happy St. Patrick's Day.  Maybe we can't attend a parade, have a pint in the pub or even have some corned beef and cabbage, but we can be kind and we CAN look forward to next year.


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