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Thursday, April 9, 2020

Covid life: Going to Hannaford in Highland

From the News You Can Use Desk:

We needed stuff so I went to Hannaford in Highland today, at about noon. PPE was the best we could do - nitrile gloves and a bandana. The diagrams posted on Facebook on how to make a decent mask out of a bandana, plus hair ties and a coffee filter, did not really work for my head-shape so I just tied it around my face, cowboy-style. I wore a washable Mets hat and a hoodie; hood was on during the entire operation. I left my phone in my car and would have left the keys too, but then how would I have gotten back into the car? (No I don't trust people in Highland. I didn't trust people in Hyde Park - for good reason, considering where I lived. I don't even trust people in Milton. I wonder what goes on in the heads of people whom the police have to remind to lock up their stuff lest it get robbed. Maybe I yearn for that level of innocence and trust in the essential goodness of one's neighbors. Maybe I don't.)

The store was not crowded. A sign on the door stated that only 140 customers would be allowed inside at any one time but there was no person with a clicker or anything up front. Anyway, it didn't seem like there were 140 people in the store. No more of the bringing of your own bags - they're not allowed in the store, so it's back to the days of "would you like plastic or plastic?"

PPE use the last time I was there, almost two weeks ago, I would have guesstimated at 25 percent. More people today had it on, maybe a little less than half. (This figure includes store employees, who, like everybody else, either wore nothing or some mix of gear ranging between effective-looking and, umm, less so.) Social distancing was partially observed but those who know that store know that space is tight in there to begin with. Many center-aisle displays were taken out, presumably to allow for more distancing.

There were most things. No hand-san or toilet paper or disinfectant wipes, of course - we may never see those things again in our lives, it seems. Perhaps a future helpful Facebook post will describe how to make wipes out of old clothes and battery acid. No toilet paper either, but some paper towels. Canned soup was scarce as were (see above) coffee filters, but I am good for those so far. Sugar? Flour? Yeast? No, nope and not available. Pasta was very scarce. If you wanted to bake something with almond or coconut flour, they had you covered. But there were ample supplies of dairy, eggs and meat. (I am not the type to get up to go to the store at 8 a.m., so maybe they had more stuff then. You will need to check the Morning People of Southern Ulster blog for that kind of info.)

The employees seemed tired, more than anything else, and some displayed that kind of dark humor one often sees from people who are in dangerous situations for many days. A few were bantering back and forth about the possibility(?) of supermarket and other essential workers being cut a $5,000 check as "hero pay."

"Hero pay sounds better than sacrificial pay," a worker quipped.

I feel for these people, having to expose themselves to the virus for the kind of shit pay people in supermarkets make so we can all go and buy stuff for less. If they even get their $5K checks, it will be far less than they've earned.

Got checked out OK - social distancing was observed and it was a longer-than-pre-C-19-times wait as not too many people were there buying less than a metric ton of stuff. The plan to keep the credit card in a little plastic bag and just tap the thing was foiled as the thing would not accept the tap. So out of the bag and into the thing, another small quarantine broken in a world awash in broken quarantines of all sizes. The second I got out of the store I pulled down the bandana - it had gotten clammy and started to slip off my face at the end anyway. I did my level best to remove the gloves and put them in another little plastic bag; while doing so one of the gloves, bought some time ago for kitchen use, had a hole in it. Loaded up the car in a steady rain - yay - and went home. Left the nonperishables in the car so any viruses would perish over the next few days. Perishables were carefully wiped down - as an FYI be careful as battery acid does eat through some forms of common packaging - and put away.

Yes, if you must know, there was the taking off all of the clothes and putting them in the washer. I went to the bathroom, washed my face and hands with unusual attention to detail and then drank an Emergen-C as pro (or ante-?) phylaxis. Then I ate a little food and took a big nap.

The last time I went to the store I was anxious for about three days afterwards. I am now anxious, and expect to be for about another three days. Not helpful in anxiety mitigation was reading a Facebook account of the horror those dying of Covid-19 suffer before they pass. This is a weird time for us all, but one aspect of my own personal weirdness is my journalistic need to know this stuff pushing hard against my knowledge that knowing this stuff is bad for my mental health.

So, it's back to the Hunker Mode, concluding the 22nd (222nd? 22,022nd?) day thereof. 


  1. Ahhhh Dan I am with you as far as the anxiety of it all goes.I used curbside pickup at Adams and it was almost stress free.I didn't even have to get out of the car. Try that. It's definitely worth the drive.

  2. I hear you, pal. I make intermittent trips to the Hannaford in Kingston. It's probably a little roomier than the one in Highland, but everything else is pretty much as you've described it.

  3. Sounds familiar, Dan. It helps being old and scary looking. I've been to Adams twice since this started, during the 7-to-8am seniors-only shift. I wear an all-black scary voodoo priest outfit, a black hat and a black lower-half-covering ski mask with a coffee filter in it. Rubber gloves. People run away when I'm coming down the aisle.


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