The most dangerous place you will ever visit in your life is now your local supermarket. No, we aren’t kidding, every surface in the store is infected by the endless number of COVID shoppers who are asymptomatic.
The door handles, scanner, every carton, every package, even the floors themselves are all infected. When you leave, your car door, turn signal, steering wheel, floor mats, radio controls, garage door opener, so much more, all carry COVID, a disease we now know isn’t Trump’s ‘demo-flu” intended to wipe out the old and sick but a real disease that drops millennials from no symptoms to doornail dead in hours.
Stores drag you around, searching for toilet paper than isn’t there, from store to store to store, they drag you to the back for bread and milk, make sure you are there as long as possible, touching everything, walking everywhere, hoping your will be stupid enough to buy their useless crap you never wanted.
Store personnel wear no protective gear and if they did, their gloves would be infected just like their hands are. Stores are now as dangerous as a bioweapons lab run by chimpanzees.
Time to think outside the box. Way past time! Our world has been turned upside down. Right is left, left is right, up is down, well, you get the picture. Stress levels are through the roof, even if you or a loved one or friend do not have COVID-19 and you are not working on the front lines in healthcare, you are feeling stressed and that is to be expected. The world as we have come to know it is no longer. Now is time for some actual creativity that will save lives. Grocery stores need to step up their game, big time! Grocery stores are allowed to remain open when most businesses have been forced to close. Grocery stores need to become safe places. Grocery stores must safely serve us. Let’s begin:
Why are the basic food that families run out of located in the back of the store? Food is number one for the needs for humans. We are spreading infections in grocery stores. We have to be. Humans spread COVID-19. Even with physical distancing, there can be viral droplets in the air or on items on the shelves. How about those handles you grab to open the freezers and coolers. Grocery stores now focus on cleaning the handles of shopping carts, but that is not nearly enough prevention. By the way, I take my own Clorox wipe and clean my shopping cart handle. I use disinfectant wipes in a store, but more to come about this.
People searching the aisles for food or supplies to make meals are potential sources of COVID-19 infection. I state again, people spread COVID-19. The items that a family runs out of, at least once during the week, are all located at the back of the store in the hopes that the shopper will pick up other items either on the way to the milk and eggs coolers that invariably are located at the furthest reaches of the store or on the way to exit the store. This has got to stop! Time to put lives before profits. Grocery stores are one of the businesses that are allowed to remain open and thus continue to make a profit. These stores should take responsibility for making shopping for food the safest possible experience imaginable.
Milk, eggs, bread, butter, rice, cleaning supplies (people do continue to maintain their homes and businesses), toilet paper, yes for those who did not raid or are still raiding the shelves, toilet paper is a necessity. Baby food, formula, diapers, pet foods should all be quick to grab and not entail a long trek to the back or sides of these mega-stores.
The repeated needs for food will bring us out of the house. We cannot/will not have children or pets that are hungry. Place the most sought-after items at the front of the store. Roll out a cooler and plug it in and put milk and eggs in the front of the store. Encourage a quick in and out, not the leisurely stroll corporate headquarters has come to depend on. Produce can last a few hours without refrigeration. When the store is closed to customers, the produce can be placed back into their coolers and brought out at the beginning of the next shopping day.
Stores should get large white boards or signs and actually use them to alert the foraging customer that the stores is out of certain items. Place these boards outside the store with large lettering. Often there will be no need for the customer to even enter the store if what they need/want is not there. These boards and signs can work in the other direction. Advertise that you do have items available. Keep those boards/signs current. This will make it worth the chance of an encounter with COVID-19.
Until grocery stores change their sales’ tactics there are some measures you can take to protect yourself:
- Only one person in the family needs to be in the store. If other(s) go along for the ride, as is often the case to just get out of the house, the car sitters can use phones to remind the shopper of any additional item that might have been forgotten on the shopping list. Communication works both ways since the shopper may not be able to find what is needed and would like some input into what else to purchase.
- Use an antibacterial wipe to thoroughly clean the handle of the shopping cart or basket. Rub all sides of the handle and do not touch any other part of the basket or cart. Do not trust the store to have adequately sterilized the handle.
- If you must open a door to get into a freezer or cooler, use that wipe to grab the handle.
- Move quickly through the store and stay at least 9 feet away from any other shopper.
- If you use a hand-held scanner to self-check out pick up the scanner with the wipe. The scanners that you just wave the item over would eliminate this process.
- Most stores do not allow your own cloth bags so use the store’s plastic bags which can be discarded when you are home. You could also transfer your items to your own bags located back in the car and get rid of the plastic bags when you arrive home.
- If you use a credit card for the purchase, you will have to touch the screen or buttons on the credit card reader. Everyone else has had to touch these same buttons. Use q-tips which you throw away, to touch the buttons and screen. With enough pressure they should work. You can get a large amount of them at the dollar store, so a quick use and discard is not going to break the bank. If there is no refuse container, stash in a pocket and throw away on the way out of the store or at home.
- Back at the car, wipe off the door handle and get out of there.
- Take your shoes off upon entering your home. Thoroughly wash your hands and why not your face with soap and water, washing away any potential droplets of virus.
- You might want to wipe off cans, boxes, containers with disinfectant.
- Then, you are back home and hopefully you have found what you needed which will make your chance at encountering a COVID-19 droplet less stressful.
Carol graduated from Riverside White Cross School of Nursing in Columbus, Ohio and received her diploma as a registered nurse. She attended Bowling Green State University where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Literature. She attended the University of Toledo, College of Nursing, and received a Master’s of Nursing Science Degree as an Educator.
She has traveled extensively, is a photographer, and writes on medical issues. Carol has three children RJ, Katherine, and Stephen – one daughter-in-law; Katie – two granddaughters; Isabella Marianna and Zoe Olivia – and one grandson, Alexander Paul. She also shares her life with her husband Gordon Duff, many cats, and two rescues.