How are you doing? What are you doing? How are you maintaining your experiences? Most days I am good, but I have my days when I just don’t feel like it in any capacity. I am mostly in the house, I venture out to the driveway or yard here and there but not much.
In my county, we are required to wear masks when we go to stores. Our stores legit have signs on them that say you can’t enter without a mask. So, we needed masks and I wanted fabric masks so I can wash them. The neighbor of one of my girlfriends made us some for $8 a pop. She made them using the fabric she already had, and I got one for each of us.
I try to grocery shop two to three weeks at a time. I also order a sh!t ton of stuff online, like seriously A LOT. I am strategic about my shopping, I typically go alone, but the kids have been asking to get out so I’ve taken each of them out with me once.
My Pandemic Shopping Tips
Tip #1: Meal Plan
Since the pandemic, I’ve been forced to meal plan. I come up with three meals and get the ingredients to make them. Otherwise, I would end up with a cart full of food that doesn’t go together and we will still be hungry.
Tip #2: Make a list
I make my handwritten list at home before I leave home. This minimizes my time in the store. I don’t buy stuff we don’t want or need and it keeps me focused in the store. I pretend I’m on Super Market Sweep and I try to get in and out as fast as possible.
Tip #3 Sanitize
I know it is a struggle to find cleaning wipes, hand sanitizer, and soap sometimes. I keep a bottle of hand sanitizer in my cup holder so I sanitize my hands soon as I get back to my car.
Tip #4 Shopping Days + Times
I’ve found that the best time to shop is when the store opens or 30 mins to an hour before it closes. There are fewer people in the store. For stores like Costco that manage the flow of entry and usually have a line I don’t have to stand and wait. I also ONLY grocery shop Monday – Thursday because there are fewer people in the store. The stores are packed on the weekends and I want to be around as few people as possible.
Tip #5 Barter Shop
I needed wine and didn’t have any, it is essential and that is fine because that’s my business. My bestie needed tomato soup and toilet paper. So, we work together. She gets what I need, I get what she needs, and then we socially distance and exchange the items that we couldn’t get at the stores nearest to us.
Tip #6 Share Your Membership
I was on the hunt for paper towels and my Bestie needed toilet paper, so we met at Costco (she isn’t a member) and I got us in. They are only allowing +1 person right now, and they aren’t taking on new members.
Tip #7 Shop Online
Many grocery stores have been encouraging online shopping, not just during the pandemic but before it as well through special offers or delivery deals (click over here for an example). Obviously, it means you do not step into the store and initiate contact with other people so that may be good for those with extreme anxiety. Online shopping has its pros and cons but it can reduce in-store traffic so be thankful for those who decide to go for it if you decide not to.
All of these tips are based on my experience and that of my Besties. I am fully aware that things may be different where you live. I also understand that everyone’s circumstances aren’t the same. If you are an essential employee you may not be able to go when I go. These tips keep my anxiety low and I thought it good to share them in case they might help you.
So my Bestie and I go to Costco, we get what we need and leave the store. We load our groceries and decide to sit in our cars and chat in the parking lot. It sucks that we can’t hang out and do brunch and such like we used to.
While chatting my other Bestie sends me a message saying she is in Costco. So I tell her we are in the parking lot chatting come find us when you finish shopping. She also showed up to get toilet paper for a friend. See Tip #5 Now the three of us are chatting, in total, I was in this parking lot for two hours.
As we were chatting I had my passenger side door open. After chatting for over 30 mins I realized that was a bad idea. The damage was done, my battery was dead. I’m a dope girl so I had jumper cables and we jumped the battery with no issues. I made my Bestie put the cables on, that process gives me anxiety. I let it run for another 30 minutes while we laughed and continued to chat. While waiting we had the following hilarious interactions and observations…
An older black man rode his shopping cart filled with groceries from the top of the parking lot all the way to the back, only stopping before hitting his car. It was so refreshing to see him with kid-like joy on his face. That is probably the most exciting thing he has done in some time.
A lady parked in the row behind us came out with a cart filled with plants, a fire pit, and a few other items. We laughed after she loaded them in her car. She told us she isn’t even a plant person but purchased three. She isn’t into the outside but might as well spice up the yard. We had a collective laugh and wished each other a good day.
Lastly and the most touching was a guy that came out with a flatbed shopping cart with multiple packs of Clorox wipes. Now you know Clorox products are like gold, so we were shocked that he had them. He told us he was a doctor and gave chemo to cancer patients. His normal supplier is out of stock, so Costco holds some for him. If he can’t sanitize his practice he has to close his office, and his patients can’t get the chemo they need. What a freaking story.
Life isn’t anything like what we want it to be, and some days it seems hard to be grateful, but this was a reminder to just keep going.