Shopping patterns change with the circumstances


A flyer from Kohl’s in the mailbox touts a sale March 25-29. It’s a surreal reminder or normality – advertising flyers are set up, and the sales decided, months in advance. The products, seasonal, have to be ordered, decisions made about what clothes people will need in the next buying period, Easter – it appears, from the elegant children’s clothes.

While some incomprehensible person in Washington says grandparents should die for commerce, instead of being around for the grandchildren to hug for the Easter dinner in their cute new duds. And Italy reports considering that breathing support won’t be available for those under SIXTY. New low.

We’re not that far out from normal

It is very different, depending on which pictures you see in the news – between the photograph showing a packed Bondi Beach in Australia or Daytona Beach in Florida and ones showing a piazza in Rome more empty than it’s been in years – but it hasn’t really been that long yet.

A few months since the first cases in Wuhan, China, to total lockdown in Davis, California, for the safety of old folk for whom there will not be enough ventilators in local hospitals.

The SCALE has shocked the world, but far too many people still don’t believe it.

And the more optimistic among scientists, and especially among politicians, are hoping ‘normal’ comes back within a couple weeks, wherever they are, so that we don’t mess up the economy too much for their taste.

We’re still in the world of Just-in-time inventories

Of factories with so much capacity they can produce what is needed with a quick turnaround – and of inventories so low doctors and nurses are re-using face masks usually disposed of after each patient, and re-using them for many, many patients.

We’ve gone from crowded shopping in grocery stores where there are SALE! signs everywhere, to standing six feet apart in the checkout line.

And we don’t know which patterns will last, and which will be gone the minute there is a vaccine to protect from COVID-19.

We’re feeling mental whiplash.

A month ago…

Having the husband head out on the facility bike to do some grocery shopping was a bit of exercise tacked onto a chore…

…Now it is a death-defying adventure into a post-apocalyptic landscape.

Getting together in a small group in the Piano Lounge to sing folk songs…

…Not even allowed because the room is small and enclosed, even if people stay six feet apart from each other.

Going to the pool was almost a social activity…

…And now we are being supervised like children by management to make sure no one uses or touches anything.

Online shopping was a convenience

For us, without a car yet in California, it was so much easier to have things delivered that I think we had a package a day delivered to the front desk!

Now it’s an adventure in finding a time slot in which your local grocery store can deliver food and TP (assuming they have some) after you’ve filled in a very detailed form online with many restrictions – and for which someone else will choose your ripe bananas.

As a shut-in, basically (little energy and little mobility are a real deterrent to shopping in stores), I’m used to the concept.

But everyone else is still trying to wrap their mind around what can and cannot be done, at the same time they wonder why on earth they would even buy an Easter dress.

Welcome to my world, sort of

And I wonder if you will have been changed permanently by your visit, or whether you will just have a few vacation photos tucked away in a virtual album somewhere.

Try to remember – and have some understanding of what the permanent residents deal with daily.

I STILL don’t see much of a plan for the NEXT time we get a novel virus.

Stay well. Read books. Get around to those projects.

If you survive… what will you have to show? As I tell myself to stop watching the news and get back to NETHERWORLD. It isn’t writing itself, but we did have a good day.



12 thoughts on “Shopping patterns change with the circumstances

  1. joey

    Like so many things, people are dismissive until it affects them personally. We can’t get groceries delivered. Every time I log in to an app or a service and click to pay, there are no delivery or even pick up times available. None, for as many days as one could schedule. Or, on occasion, I click and half my order disappears because those items are not actually available.
    Opposite Marian, I hate grocery shopping and don’t mind that The Mister has taken that on as his chore. Due to his military service, he seldom lets fear stop him doing anything. At this point, after my chat to nurse today, I am presumptive — and I think, Alicia, I think I live with three asymptomatic carriers.
    My whole office is ill and presumptive, because why waste a test on people who will likely live? Two of them have been admitted to the hospital and still not tested. Don’t even get me started on the government failure. I am really not okay.


    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      This has been mishandled from the top as of the very beginning. Many of us will not make it, and others will have a pretty miserable time of it.

      I am not okay, either – and I’m sorry you are not. I hope, if you come down with symptoms, that you will buckle down and REST aggressively. Let the asymptomatic carriers do everything you need. This is not the time to think of them – they are in better shape to survive than you at this point, and we all want you to survive in good condition.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. marianallen

    I’ve just put in a grocery order. Our next-door daughter goes and picks them up, and leaves them in the vestibule. I miss having her come in and visit. I miss grocery shopping, too; it was always a social activity for me. I never went in without seeing friends. Lots of hugs. I guess I miss hugs the most.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      I miss hugs, too. We were just getting settled, just getting to know people here and to become better friends with some.

      The residents are an interesting mix. Many have family in Davis, which is why they located here. A few of us have family further away. Our eldest daughter is in San Francisco – and she keeps wanting to come out if we need help – but she wouldn’t be let in, and frankly, I don’t want her driving here and putting herself at risk, when she is safely sheltered at home.

      You are lucky to have neighbors who look out for you. My husband insists on going to the grocery store for our few needs, while being VERY careful about the possible contagion.

      This isn’t a peaceful time, even when people are inside their homes.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Lynda Dietz

    I still find it amazing that there are those who embarrass themselves by continuing to insist that the virus is “overblown” and “no big deal.” I have friends around the world who are sharing their trials and suffering, and I’m getting much too angry about those who don’t seem to care who they put at risk. I’ve had to limit my social media because of this.

    We’ve never been ones to overstock our cupboards, but I find myself with the “if they have it on the shelf, I’d better grab one” mentality lately. I do follow the rule my husband and I have set up: buy what you use, and use what you buy. I’m not going to grab armfuls of things we won’t eat, nor will I waste what we do eat. I do hope many will reevaluate what’s important, and realize it’s not possessions. I would hate it if we all went through this crisis together and then immediately returned to wastefulness and selfishness.


    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      It is hard to know what drives those who follow DT and the pastors who are so anti-science they don’t realize God gave us science as part of the solution to our problems.

      I can’t imagine living as they must. I pray they will become educated – it doesn’t take away your belief in God, it just makes you appreciate Him more.


      1. Lynda Dietz

        I just don’t get people like that, and I’m thankful that all the Christians I know (including my pastors) recognize that God and science are completely compatible. Online, I see those people you’re referring to and don’t understand how they fail to recognize that the Bible and science prove each other time and time again.

        I just read another report last night about large churches that are continuing to meet, despite government orders, and all I can think of is that, first of all, no one is telling them they can’t worship. They simply can’t gather because of the spread of illness. The church is much bigger than the building we meet in. And second of all, if I read my Bible correctly, we’re supposed to obey those in authority over us. If they think they’re pleasing God somehow by disobeying those he’s allowed to be in charge for this time, they’re mistaken.

        Aaaaannnddd that’s why I’ve had to step back from social media, haha. It doesn’t take long for me to pull out the trusty soapbox these days.


        1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

          Your soapbox is safe with me.

          To be willfully ignorant (covignorant – have coined new term) of the good that has been learned in science seems to be telling God that we want nothing new, while wearing clothing from the modern era and driving a car.

          There is much wrong with modern dog-eat-dog life (and if you look into the ancient world, it has always been thus – I remember reading about King Herod’s projects), but income inequality – and the life it forces the poor to lead – is the worst part.

          And turning down things like vaccines to let your own children die or suffer isn’t stewardship.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. acflory

    Yes, ‘just-in-time’ production was never designed to cope with sudden changes in buying habits.

    I’ve never liked online shopping, but now I have no choice, and am grateful that it’s even an option. But still. I put in an order yesterday morning thinking it would arrive in 24 hours. Nope. 3 days so I’m back to eking out the cat meat, and the milk, and hoping that yes, they will still have TP by the time ‘they’ get to my order. I dream of Sunday markets where sniffing the produce isn’t likely to kill me or the Offspring. -sigh-

    I hope that we don’t forget how good it feels to be on the receiving end of a simple act of kindness. That’s something no amount of money can buy.

    Stay well. 🙂


    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      Shipping has been affected, and international shipping more. I have two packages coming from far away – and I don’t know when or even if they will make it.

      I have to remember to do more of the things that I CAN do, while there are so many that I can’t.

      In normal circumstances, I rarely leave our little compound, and when I do, I don’t go far, but this is SO different. Knowing that people who had a life just as tiny as mine, and then lost it completely to the carelessness, or bad luck, of another – and that I’m in that group with the largest loss – is sobering in a way few things have been.

      One thing I’m changing: I EXPECT delays now, and order well before I might need something. Businesses need the business, if they’re still operating, and I can’t count on delivery dates.

      So sorry about your cat! Hope you and the Offspring are mentally well – and thank goodness for the kindness of those who still dare to be kind.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. acflory

        I’m not much of a social butterfly either, so I’ve been surprised at the things I /miss/. Just little things, like being able to nip down to the shop if I run out of bread, or milk or cat meat. Or last night, it was potatoes. I was going to make plum dumplings and totally forgot that it’s a potato dough. I ordered potatoes on Sunday, but the order won’t be delivered until tomorrow. -sigh- Little things. For perhaps the first time in my life, I understand my late Mother’s obsession with keeping her pantry chock full of the basics. I guess living through a World War, a revolution, and being a refugee will do that to you.
        This too will pass.



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