I watched as shoppers came and went at the King Soopers on Main Street in Longmont. Some came in masks (yay!), while others wore nothing on their faces. One came with a long scarf, presumably since the president raved about scarves a few days ago.
My thoughts went to Daniel Defoe, author of “Robinson Crusoe” and “A Journal of the Plague Year.” I read the more famous “Robinson,” though I have only some memory fragments of the movie or the “Classic Comics” version. Defoe was only five years old when the plague hit London. He reportedly relied on his Uncle Henry Defoe for information as well as the diaries of Samuel Pepys. What did the poor residents of 17th century London know about viruses and ways to employ homemade masks and hand sanitizers?
We arrived at King Soopers before our 10 o’clock appointment time in pick up lane number one, only to get a call as we pulled in that our order would be delayed until maybe 11:30. So we pulled into lane number three so as to get away from the shoppers who were parading past our car in the number one slot.
I had my window cracked to about four inches as the occasional cart was wheeled past to another car. We kept hoping each cart we saw would be our order of $350 or so. That cache would carry us (excluding milk and half and half for our coffee) for a while.
By the time a young man appeared at about 11:30, we were anxious to get going. I tipped him $20 after he loaded up the car and he was genuinely grateful. He had been laid off at his job and had gone back to King Soopers, which had employed him as a teenager. He asked if we wanted a receipt but I waved him off, wanting to get home before the frozen items started melting.
When we got home twenty minutes later, after getting the many bags into the pantry, refrigerator, freezer, and cupboards, something was amiss. Some items were missing (like the milk and sliced deli turkey), and others were ones we didn’t order. The most obvious was the huge ginger root. Most people seem to buy about three inches’ worth of ginger, which will suffice for a couple rounds of Chinese cooking. And that’s what I ordered online.
What we got instead was a two pound monster. I’m going to see if we can barter with Julie’s Thai Kitchen and trade most of it for a green curry dish. A friend in town said she could use a piece.
I also got two packages of bay leaves instead of the one I asked for. But bay leaves will keep. Ginger will not. The milk that we wanted was not in the order, but a five-pound bag of King Arthur unbleached flour that we did not order was there.
I’m really not complaining. We have the opportunity in the time of this plague to go into supermarkets with sanitary wipes, hand sanitizers, and face masks (although good luck on getting sanitizer or wipes). We also can shop in the designated hours for seniors and people with compromised immune systems or pre-existing conditions. However, we will not defy our daughter in Austin who made us swear on all that is holy that we would not go into a store–even during senior hours. I’m sure that if we die from going into a store, she will haunt us with “I told you so!” for eternity.
We can order online and hope that our orders are mostly accurate. I would rather order online for a pickup than risk my daughter’s wrath. Based on my limited experience with online ordering, I can share with you a few nuggets of advice.
Make a list based on the store’s circular. If you do that on Wednesday and they give you a pickup date even six days out (like our second trip), you will theoretically get the sale items you want.
Go through your pantry, refrigerator, freezer, and closets where you keep toothpaste and toilet paper. Balance your available space with your desires. We tried to eat freezer meals prior to this trip. We made a dent, but all those ready-to-eat microwaveable meals take up a lot of space. We bought four packs of Thomas’ English muffins at a really good price, but we couldn’t stuff all of them in the freezer.
Don’t rely on memory. My father died with nine bottles of Ken’s blue cheese dressing because he loved it, and every time he went shopping, he wanted to be sure he had some. So make a list while doing an inventory. Do you really need eight cans of garbanzo beans?
And finally, based on this most recent experience, get a receipt of your purchases. I regret not getting the paper copy that the young man offered. According to WebMD, the virus can live for five days on paper, so I skipped that in order to get the frozen food home. I still don’t know what I was charged for the massive ginger root.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this Opinion Column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any staff member, contribution writer or the Lyons Recorder.