POPPING TO THE SHOPS
I never thought that Waitrose might kill me.
But we live in the strangest of strange times. All of our major socialising places are closed. All we have for socialising are a billion Houseparty notifications, while remaining firmly not in the house.
And “popping to the shops” now means exposing yourself to your fellow man, all of whom might cough on you and kill you.
But my mum and I need to eat, and we agreed that I am slightly better out of the two of us at maintaining social distancing and not touching your own face. The other day Mum touched a gate, realised that it might have coronavirus, and put her hands to her face in alarm.
So I updated my will, made my peace with God, and set off into the depths of hell itself.
There was a queue outside, which was fine, but it’s also extremely windy today, which adds to the coronavirus spreadability. Thankfully, however, most of my fellow queuers were wearing either surgical masks or scarves. This was both reassuring, and also a reminder that eVeRyThInG iS tRyInG To kILL Us.
Strangers were talking to one another (from a distance of >2m), which was unusual, too. We Brits know how to queue like a champ, but this is usually done in complete silence. One woman was loudly talking about her husband while on the phone to a friend. Apparently she told him he’s not allowed to smoke anymore, and now he’s driving her mental.
Anyway, I got to the front door and asked the chap managing the queue if I could wipe my trolley with an antibac wipe that I’d brought from home (I am a responsible isolator). But no need – they had already done it. Good old Waitrose. Though I suppose their shopper demographic is a bit more at-risk than Tesco or LIDL’s, so it makes sense that they’d want to keep them alive where possible.
Anyway, a man came out with a trolley that contained 8 crates of San Miguel, and I was ushered inside.
For a start, it is pretty much BAU for the staff there. One was manning the Customer Services desk, politely explaining to a pensioner that no, they couldn’t return a ready-meal because she’d bought it from Tesco. Others were stocking the shelves, doing their ready best to maintain a 2m distance from each other and shoppers. And there was one extremely flustered lady who shouted at me for using the till wrong.
In an unrelated note to coronavirus, I do not understand self-scanning shopping. Not self-scan tills, but the one where you carry the little boop machine around with you and boop things as you go.
I’ll get there eventually.
Second, this particular Waitrose does not have a lot of space. There’s not that much room for two people to walk past each other in an aisle as it is, let alone with a Jeremy Clarkson-sized void between them. This means that I held my breath a lot as people walked past, which must have made me look profoundly weird.
Third, there were almost entirely full shelves, save bog roll, naturally. Even the fine people of Sunningdale need to pipe one out occasionally.
Fourth, there was a degree of camaraderie among the shoppers. And some confusion as to the rules, too. As one member of staff diverted her route to give a customer some space, he loudly barked at her, “Don’t worry love, I’m not sick, hahahaha.” Well, Geoff, 52, who drives a Jag, that’s not the bloody point.
There was also a group of middle-aged women having a good natter by the yoghurts. I quietly crossed out the Activia on my shopping list.
And, finally, the aftermath. Once I got back to the car with my trolley, I remembered to antibac my hands. Then I opened my car boot and put all the shopping in. Then I realised that I’d just touched all the shopping again, so antibacced my hands again before closing my boot. Then I put the trolley into a trolley rack and realised I’d just touched the trolley again, so antibacced my hands again.
When I got home, I unloaded the shopping, and antibacced my hands again. Then I realised I’d just touched all the doors on the way in, so I antibacced them and my own hands again.
In other news, my hands now look like I’ve put them in my Nutribullet and switched the power on. I am going through moisturiser like it’s cider at a festival (recklessly quickly).
So, readers, you’ll be pleased to know that I have survived my ordeal. While there is a chance that I contracted the coronavirus while out, I feel like I took as many precautions as humanly possible. And now we have food.
Update on the jogging post from yesterday – my legs constantly feel like they’re covered in concrete.
Don’t judge me.
Sometimes… when I’m feeling pretty low, or stressed, or blue…
I watch Barbershop Quartet videos.
And yes, there are hundreds. You’re welcome.