For the past week or so, the local Safeway has had 6-foot-distance lines at the registers, made with painter’s tape. Today someone was pulling those up and laying down big red professionally-printed floor markers indicating where to stand, as well as little posters explaining the CDC distancing guidelines.
In addition, the glove-wearing cashier and bagger wouldn’t touch reusable bags brought in by customers, and would only bag your purchases if you paid for paper bags (naturally, the state didn’t suspend the law mandating a minimum ten-cent price per bag).
Most of the store had stabilized, with only specific brands being low or out of stock, with the usual exceptions of TP, pasta, rice, flour, yeast, and beans, which were mostly gone. Actually, yeast seems to be one of the most persistently absent items now; I have half a pound in the freezer, so I don’t need any, but either it’s being snatched up like toilet paper, or the turnover is normally so low that it’s taking a while to refill the distribution pipeline.
Or it’s being diverted primarily to commercial bakeries. Which is a distinct possibility, because they had a double-shitload of bread in stock, enough that it looked like a white-bread-themed holiday was coming up. (“Dough Is Risen!”)
I just grabbed a half-price rotisserie chicken and some celery. Most other people seemed to be in normal-shopping mode as well, although the young asian couple wearing bandanas as masks saying something about “the last time we’ll be able to buy groceries” was mildly concerning. I choose to believe they’re just too busy providing essential services to get out much during the reduced shopping hours…
In other news, my severance was direct-deposited as promised today, which even after 41% withholding is still eight (California!) mortgage payments. No sign of Cobra paperwork yet, which is the only monthly expense I can’t predict (for those outside the US, that’s “18 months continuation of your former employer’s health plan, but you pay their part as well as yours”). My regular coverage expired today, but fortunately I had just gotten a three-month refill on my prescriptions before the axe fell.
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