Anyone else feeling like they’re starring in an episode of the Twilight Zone?
I’ve seen people go crazy at the grocery store at Thanksgiving. I’ve seen them go crazy when we see a snowflake in the weather forecast. Our local Target was low (but not out) of disinfectant wipes the weekend before business closings began, so people were already mindful of what we’re likely to face with a pandemic. But those have been nothing, NOTHING, compared to what I witnessed at the grocery store on Sunday.
Our store was doing alright with their stock. There was definitely a run on the soap, baby wipes, syrup, and spaghetti sauce. But everyone was there. Everyone was wiping down their cart handles (and taking 10X more wipes than they needed). I honestly haven’t seen so many people wiping down their carts before.
And the vibe I got being in there. Everyone was polite, but there was an uneasiness in the air. Nervous smiles were exchanged.
It was weird.
I had already done our grocery shopping for the next two weeks the day before panic set in. The boys are off school for spring break this week, but a neighbor told me to be prepared to be out an extra week so I made sure to have a few extra things on hand because the idea of having to take all three kids shopping with me is daunting.
There really isn’t much difference between My Kids are Home From School for One Week and We Are Going to Be Confined to Our House for Two Weeks shopping. When the Walmart associate wheeled out my groceries on Thursday, it probably looked like I was panic shopping when I was really doing a relatively normal grocery haul.
Anyway, I ran into the store on Sunday because chicken was on sale and I always stock up when it’s on sale. But after hearing about experiences in other parts of Virginia and in Maryland, I went in fully prepared to walk back out with nothing.
I got lucky. Our store was still pretty well stocked compared to the ones my brother and sister were trying to do their social distancing shopping at.
I’m sure most of you have already prepared your pantries and refrigerators for the next couple of weeks, but I thought it would be nice to compare notes. Here is a rundown of what I’ve tried to have on hand as my family practices social distancing to #FlattenTheCurve:
- Granola Bars
- Fruit Snacks
- Baby Food
- Pancake mix
- Spaghetti Sauce
- Chocolate (for my survival)
- Ketchup and Mustard
- Prepacked muffins
- Snacks on L’s safe food list
- Ground meat
- Lunch Meat
- Juice from concentrate
- Toilet Paper
- Disinfectant Wipes
- Disinfectant Spray
- Feminine Products
- Hand Sanitizer
- Baby Wipes
- Wet Ones
- Laundry Detergent
Pain Management/First Aid
- Pain medication (baby, children’s, and adult)
- Cold/Flu medicine
- Allergy medicine
- Alcohol Wipes
- My anxiety meds
I also made sure we had cheese, milk, eggs, bread, and butter. I bought my usual amount of produce, which I try to make last for two weeks anyway.
Even if you’ve already stocked up on your necessities, you’ll likely have to go out again. I’m going to be That Guy and remind you of a few things:
- DO NOT be the jerk who buys 10 cans of black beans when you only need five. Even in countries who have enforced national quarantines have allowed one person per household to go grocery shopping and pick up medicine. Hoarding just hurts others.
- Pay attention to labels. Foods that are WIC approved will be labeled. Try to find an alternative so that those who are using WIC benefits can still feed their families.
- If you have the means, buy a few extra products and donate them to your local food bank. These organizations are going to be vital for those who struggle with food insecurity, especially if they find themselves out of work because their company shut their doors to help #FlattenTheCurve. This pandemic is seriously going to take a village, and that village is going to be ordinary people; not those up top.
- Speaking of food banks, if you’re able to purchase an item or two that is allergy-friendly that would be awesome as well. Food allergies do not discriminate, which means there are families with special diets who also need assistance. Sun Butter, Made Good, YumEarth, Enjoy Life, and Goodie Girl are some of our favorite allergy-friendly brands.
- Another reason why you should think twice about hoarding food: many in the food allergy community are concerned that their safe products are being bought up by people who don’t have to worry about what’s in their food.
- Make a meal plan before you shop! I admit I did not do this. I bought what I knew we were out of and what I usually buy. But now that we’re home and are trying to only go out when necessary, I’m regretting not planning out lunches and dinners. I’ll be sure to do this before making another grocery run.
What is on your social distancing shopping list? What have your shopping experiences been like?