Bob’s blog 7: Shopping in the age of Covid 19 & and other anecdotes

I hope everybody is managing to get their shopping in. I am lucky in that I have a good circle of friends to help me. I thought I would share some of my experiences with you to show it’s not all bad news.

I used to do shopping every fortnight at Aldi with the help of somebody from the Canal Society. I could memorise the location of everything that I needed.

We were in and out of the store inside 15 minutes, checkout queues permitting. Now I am confined to the house I rely on people like my carer, Claire, and my friend Phil.

Jerry, a colleague from my office in Newbury, wrote out her shopping list as and when things left the cupboard and then also according to what the menu plan was for the following week. Colin, her husband, then re-wrote the whole list according to the location of the things in the supermarket. If speed shopping was elevated to an Olympic event, Colin would definitely pick up a medal!

On the flip side, I remember going on a week-long training course at a laboratory in Milwaukee, America, with Katie, a colleague of mine from our Technical Department. Every evening I would accompany her round a different Mall as she looked for the perfect jacket. On the Friday evening we ended back at the first Mall and she bought the first jacket she had tried on, on the Monday night! This is slow shopping!!!

Luckily Claire, my carer, knows where everything is in Aldi. There is a strict one-way system and lo and behold anybody who forgets something now has to go round the whole store again. Claire had to be quite rude to a lady who invaded her two metres of space by attempting to overtake on the inside!

I think it must be reminiscent of the early days of IKEA where you had to follow the arrows religiously, even though you knew you could take a shortcut to get to the place you wanted to be.

My brother Mike lives in the South of France. Lockdown is much more severe down there and much more bureaucratic. He said that he has to download a sheet of paper called a “Attestation de deplacement derogatoire” for every journey out of the house. Last week he had to get a sheet to go to the vets and then another from the vets to the supermarket. Even then he was stopped twice by the Police! I hope our Government doesn’t follow the French example, but watching the briefings on the TV they could impose a similar system if people don’t follow the guidelines.

Unfortunately in France if you don’t have the necessary sheet of paper it could be quite expensive. A lady in the next village went for a can of Coke and got stopped and fined €135. Mike says it’s quite easy to get a can of coke, as long as you have a baguette and a litre of milk in your basket as well!! Plus the regulation bit of paper saying that you’re going for prescribed essentials.

Now retired, Fred, my brother-in law, who lives Near Wolverhampton, has never been renowned as an early riser. On the first occasion he went to the supermarket at 11am he only found empty shelves. He then heard that Sainsburys, just three minutes’ walk away, was opening between eight and nine in the morning, for the over 70’s. He went just after eight and the queue was right round the block, he didn’t know that there were so many over 70’s on the estate and he’s been there for 31 years!

He then, as part of his exercise, returned on regular intervals in an attempt to catch the shelves being stocked after a delivery. He managed to stock his cupboard with enough essentials to last 10 days, including soap and lager!

The two metre social distancing is likely to be with us for a while and going shopping will involve queueing to get into the shops as well as queueing at the checkout, irrespective of when you go. Ho hum!

Till next time! Bob.