Grocery shopping? Take a Valium


Who knew the day would come when I'd be freaked out about grocery shopping. Annoyed, uninspired, wishing someone else would do it, yes, but genuinely losing my cool? That's new, but that day has arrived.

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Those who know me would describe me as mainly unflappable. I don't tend to get too worked up about anything. I've accepted the dictates of self-isolation and social-distancing as necessities of life. I miss hugging my grandsons and my kids, but am content with the occasional safe visit.

I've never been much of a shopper, but I had no idea how much I would miss the spontaneity of just popping into the grocery store to grab something to cook for supper. Since COVID-19 emergency measures have been imposed I've avoided the great "indoors" of shopping opportunities. I did patronize Nutters and a pharmacy last week, but in both cases I phoned and explained what I wanted and went inside only to pay.

A once-every-two-weeks grocery shopping run is a bit more complicated. Yes, I could phone in my order, but some of it is instinctual rather than planned. I'm looking for meat, fresh produce and staples to last at least another two weeks, feeding my husband and I and his parents. It needs to be done in person.

I plan, I fret, I expect my sometimes wonky blood pressure gets elevated. All over the once simple task of gathering provisions.

I confine my foray to the Battleford Discovery Co-op store, which we call the Super Co-op in memory of the Super A that once occupied the space. I plan my dangerous outing for 9 a.m. on a Tuesday. Research has shown this is the best time to ensure the meat counter and produce department will be adequately stocked. I'm doomed to be disappointed, but I'll take what I can get.

It's a heart-stopping outing. I glove up and venture into the store. I find others, mostly as freaked out as I am, so we keep our distance, respect spaces and follow the arrows showing us which way to navigate the aisles. But there are those who are oblivious, waiting in line with one or two items behind my towering carts of food and other products. I am amazed. My days of "marketing" are long past. I stock up and then hunker back down. Didn't they get the memo?

And maybe the didn't. They didn't get the message that "stay home" meant going out only when absolutely necessary.

And this week, as I ventured out for my shopping adventure, I decided I would head to the "big" Co-op for the things I wasn't able to find in Battleford. Huge mistake. While the Battleford store was mainly empty and everyone was doing the one-way aisle thing like true Canadians, the situation in North Town was a nightmare. It was only 9:45 a.m. but the store was busy, and few were following the rules. The employees were great, but the shoppers, not so much.

It took me several hours to talk myself down off the ledge after I got home, stripped naked in my laundry area (for my husband's benefit I had stashed a muumuu there to spare him from a "streaker" run through the house), threw all my clothes in the machine and had a shower.

I'm good for two more weeks, but I'm going to do without the "extras" from the Big Co-op in the future. It's just too nerve wracking.




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