Doing Things the Safe Way

It’s getting old, blogging about sheltering in place. But we’ve got it easy — for far too many Americans, the shutdown isn’t merely old, it’s a financial disaster. If Trump says it’ll be safe to go to church on Easter, a lot of people, including many who should know better, are going to take him up on it.

This morning I’m taking the motorcycle to the pressure wash down the street. It’ll give me something to do, get me out of the house for a while, and make me feel better. I’ll be by myself, safe in my personal bubble. A low-risk diversion, in other words.

Unlike, say, going to the grocery store. Our corner Safeway instituted seniors-only shopping hours: 7-8 AM, Tuesdays and Thursdays. We’re running low on a few staples. Since I’m usually up and dressed while Donna’s still in her robe, drinking her morning coffee, I thought I’d check it out.

People were queued up in front of the store as I rolled into the parking lot at 7 AM, but by the time I found a parking space the doors were open and they were filing in. Once inside, I realized we were all heading for the same aisles: paper towels, flour, pasta and rice, canned veggies.

I saw only one or two shoppers wearing masks. As I noticed on an earlier venture to Safeway, few shoppers were making any attempt to keep their distance from others. Old folks were shoulder to shoulder and cheek to cheek in the crowded aisles. I couldn’t wait to get out of the goddamn place.*

I don’t see how anyone can be ignorant of the danger, since the news talks of nothing else. No, they’re making ideological statements. They’re less concerned about the virus than with showing others where they stand, and by gum a lot of ’em stand with Trump. Suck that up, snowflake libs! Well, we’ll see each other in hell, I guess.

So anyway, a friend, a professor at the U of A, posted an amusing and shareworthy story about his Safeway experience:

Last week I tried to have Safeway deliver groceries to my home via their website. But there were no delivery slots available. Next I tried to order on-line pick up at the store. Safeway scheduled me for early evening 4 days later at a store 18 miles away from where I lived. Starting around noon on pick-up day I began getting automated messages that my pickup time had been postponed, 1, 2, 3 hours before getting a message it had been cancelled. So I tried again, and go a new slot only 3 days later at 8 am when they first open the pickups.

I drove the 18 miles and arrived 15 mins before 8 and got to park in pick up slot #2! At 8 I called to notification number on the sign to let them know I had arrived and what slot I was in. They indicated they were running 30 min behind and to just wait. At 8:07 I got a message that my order was ready and they would soon be out with it. By now the line of parked cars in the pick-up row was getting long. At 8:40 a guy in a Safeway shirt comes out with two small bags which he places in one of the last cars to arrive. They are not delivering by slot number but just as the items are ready. I ask; he says mine must not be ready; I show him my 30 minute old message saying my order was ready but he says this must be an error.

30 minutes later (well after 9 am) I am one of the last 3 cars in line) when I get a phone call from Safeway saying that of the 29 items I had ordered (including such hot selling items as Vernor’s ginger ale) only 1 is available — 1 of the 2 onions I had ordered) for which I would be charged $10.39 for the onion including the service fee. I tell the person to cancel the order; she says if I cancel they will call the cops and get me banned from the store on a trespassing charge for taking up their time and parking space.

I told her to go ahead and cancel the order and call the cops.

I just got a call from the cops saying that I am no longer allowed on the property of the Safeway store 18 miles from where I live.

It’s a a great new world.

*Back to my Safeway adventure: I didn’t find the paper towels and tomato sauce we needed, but was able to snag a dozen eggs and two chicken breasts. The cashier told me they were limiting the number of items customers could buy, so at least they’re trying to control hoarding while the supply chain catches up. Then she coughed, right in my face.

Time to fire up the Goldwing and get the hell out of here, at least for an hour or so. Stay healthy, friends!

© 2020, Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.

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