Grocery Shopping in a Pandemic

Wednesday March 25th 2020

Today began sunny and calm. It got windy during the middle of the day and ended with cloud cover. The temperature made it to the upper half of the seventies. Tomorrow is forecast to be up to ten degrees cooler.

Interesting afternoon cloud cover.

With the exception of my move on Saturday, I’ve been pretty much staying around my RV home for the last two weeks. There isn’t a stay at home order in Arizona yet, but it only makes sense to isolate as much as possible. On my last trip out for groceries fifteen days ago, I stocked up on food fairly heavily. Since then I’ve only used up the things that have a short life. I was out of bread, milk and Orange Juice. Today was the day to replenish and extend my supplies before a more restrictive edict is established.

The experience was not what I expected. From the news broadcasts I expected to find ghost towns in some areas and waiting lines in other areas. Traffic on the interstate was a level I’d judge as normal. On the surface streets of Casa Grande traffic was light, but many businesses seemed to be open. On the surface Walmart appeared very normal. The parking lot had a normal level of cars and nothing appeared different as you entered the store. The produce and bakery sections of the store were fully stocked and had an expected level of customers roaming around. It wasn’t until you started to work deeper into the store that differences became visible.

The meat section had been well picked over. I found meat to buy, but not in the size packages I would normally purchase. For example, instead of a pound of ground beef I had to buy a two and a half pound package. As a positive consequence my freezer will get filled with a few more days of food so I can stay isolated longer.

The can goods, pasta and baking supply aisles were in bad shape. There were a few odd items in the middle of long empty shelves. Surprisingly I found some things I could use in those odd items. An unknown brand of bow tie pasta found it’s way into my shopping cart along with a jar of Prego spaghetti sauce. Neither would be my choice in normal times.

The dairy section had plenty of milk and eggs. The butter substitutes were a bit picked over, but I managed to find a large container of my favorite brand. In the Orange Juice section I had to buy the good stuff. They were out of the Walmart generic OJ I’ve been buying lately.

Overall the selection of food wasn’t bad. I got some form of everything I had on my mental list. The store was busy with people of all ages. There really wasn’t much obvious concern about the virus. Most, but not all, of the Walmart employees were wearing plastic gloves. Concern about maintaining distance was not apparent. I was in the checkout line behind one multiple family shopping party with about four mothers and half a dozen or more kids. It was a mob that I kept my distance from, but the poor checkout person was surrounded. Later, in the parking lot, I saw them all climbing into one van. Maybe they don’t have a choice, but probably they just don’t get it.

Top down view of a cactus in bloom.

I think I’m through with big stores for a few weeks. The convenience store at the intestate on-ramp near my RV park seems like a better choice for the few things I’ll need during this period of isolation.

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