The Big Quarantine – March 19, 2020
The Day in Closure: In the fluid situation that is commerce, I had been scheduled to work at my part time job at TJ Maxx this morning at 7 am. Then came word they’d shortened their business hours. My start time, like the other store openers, was moved to 10. At 10:05 a manager convened the staff and read us a message from Corporate (she was nervous: she even read the “thank you for joining us today” part of the message). Effective immediately, the store (and all TJ Maxx/Home Goods/Marshall’s) was closed. We had a few tasks to make sure the store was secure and we locked it down.
It’s one thing to have a job where the boss says “knock off early today,” and a totally different thing when the boss says, “Let’s close this Mother down.” (My boss didn’t quite say it like that, but this is my story.) I felt some sadness and even our back room dude who isn’t much on emotions said he did too. It felt like one more layer of normal was taken away. I’d like to be at a point where we flattened the curve on taking normal stuff away.
I imagine if anyone has disposable income available when Covid 19 subsides there will be a pent up need to comfort shop. And, it seems, to comfort sell. Who knew?
The Day in Dried Beans, Dried Beans I Tell Ya: I can pinpoint the exact moment I knew this whole Covid 19 thing was REALLY going to be a big deal. I should note, I’m not a virus denier, I knew this was going to be big. This is the exact moment when I could wrap my head around how disruptive things were going to be.
The lightening strike for me was all the way last Thursday (which seems so long ago). I was doing my initial Kroger stock up. I pulled out of the produce section and into the dried bean and rice aisle. I cook from scratch a lot, so me and this aisle are friends. I’m usually alone communing with the wild rice and contemplating which variety of dried bean I need. In normal times, other shoppers usually cannot pass by this section quickly enough. Last Thursday, as the Covid 19 Big-Q was ramping up, the beans and rice were half gone. The spike in dried bean sales alarmed me more than toilet paper sales. Dried bean cooking while standard for some, is Zombie Apocalypse Level for most people’s cooking routine and skills.
There was another woman there picking up beans, too. I asked her if this was a usual stop in her shopping (remember, we could stand closer together back then and converse). She said it was and we both wondered how many people were buying dried beans but had no idea what to do with them when they got home. I wonder how many of these bags are going to be found in the back of kitchen pantries in about 3 years.
As for me and my beans, I soaked beans over night to cook today. Working on a white bean and sausage soup which should get me a few comforting meals.
The Day in the Supply Chain: I’m not 100% convinced people are hoarding paper products as much as I’m convinced people overuse them in general. I know of women who wrap their hands in Toilet paper like a glove for general wiping. (After the Covid let’s meet for a beer and I’ll tell you how I know this.) That method is fine, but that’s not how the product is intended to be used. Similarly, paper towels and paper napkins are the first things we reach for in the kitchen to wipe up messes and ourselves. We use cloth kitchen towels more for decoration, than for their intended function, you know to wipe up messes and our hands as we work in the kitchen. We can wash and reuse them, mayhaps reduce paper waste?? But I digress.
Here’s how I know the supply chain is fine. I bought grocery store sushi today. There was plenty of sushi to choose from. There was plenty of stuff all over the store actually. Yes, yes, yes, decimated aisles and sections abounded, but once we settle in, if we can settle in, this should change.
I stocked provisions last week. Today I went for some fresh ingredients and to stock for my Mom (see below). The store had everything I wanted.
The Day in Chips: Yesterday my Mom called to let me know she was out of chips. I’m like, “It’s Day 3, MOM!” Still, today I schlepped out to the store to really stock her up (just in case I do actually get sick and can’t get to her for 14 days.) She has a very small appetite so the amount of food she has in her house is ludicrous. That is, it’s about a 3 hour supply for a teenage boy, but for my 79 year old mom it is easily two weeks worth.
I had several bags of groceries to drop off and she was not happy that I wouldn’t come to into her house. I put the stuff on her porch and made her wait until I went down the stairs to before she could open her door. She did it, but I’m sure she questioned what kind of lunatic she had raised.
- Total cases: 10,442 (Yesterday = 7038)
- Total deaths: 150 (Yesterday = 97)
- Jurisdictions reporting cases: 54 (50 states, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and US Virgin Islands)
* Data include both confirmed and presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 reported to CDC or tested at CDC since January 21, 2020, with the exception of testing results for persons repatriated to the United States from Wuhan, China and Japan. State and local public health departments are now testing and publicly reporting their cases. In the event of a discrepancy between CDC cases and cases reported by state and local public health officials, data reported by states should be considered the most up to date.