Shopping in the Corona Era
Stick ‘em up, give me the money !
We had occasion to shop for groceries at the nearby Publix Supermarket today. It was just after Publix, like many other markets, started requiring customers to wear face masks while shopping, to help retard the spread of Corona Virus.
To say that it felt a little silly wearing a bandana on your face, while out in public, for all the world like a bandito in an early 20th century Western, would be an understatement. Still, convention requires proper hygiene for the public good, so we were complying. A staffer at the door was washing down every used grocery cart with disinfectant.
There wasn’t a “a mask bouncer” at the entrance way, so I wondered at the level of compliance. But, from what we could see, about 90 % of the shoppers were wearing masks. All of the staff were so equipped. After a few minutes, we like they I suppose, pretty much forgot about the awkwardness of wearing a mask and went about our business.
We completed our shopping and headed to the cashier for payment. A plastic shield had been erected to protect the cashier from customers and vice versa. It wasn’t awkward. We were starting to adapt to the “New Normal.” Being an inveterate smart ass, I was tempted to ask the cashier if she had had any “stick ‘em up” jokes offered by customers. I held my tongue though, figuring that comments like that would go over like a lead balloon, similar to making “terrorist sabotage comments” while flying on an airplane. Sometimes, even well-meant humor is inappropriate.
Later that day, we drove up to the Olive Garden restaurant at the nearby Coconut Mall complex. A masked server came out as they espied our already identified vehicle. Mary had sent in our order on line, earlier in the afternoon. The server asked our names, and then retreated to the restaurant to pick up our order. It was all neatly contained in paper shopping bags, the various food types encased in separate serving containers. We paid, via charge card, tipped the server for helping us and headed back to our castle. Like many things from now on, we will have to get used to procedures like this in the “new normal.” It is an unexplored territory, that we will all collectively have to discover for ourselves. Like most journeys it can be an interesting adventure if we adapt and prepare for it.
Joseph Xavier Martin