During these very difficult days, I want to thank our three major grocery stores — managers and staff — who have done such an amazing job of helping us to keep our pantries, refrigerators and freezers well stocked and maybe more.
The men and women who have filled the shelves, taken our money, listened to our woes, filled our bags and often carried our groceries to the car, deserve our heartfelt thanks, more than one bonus for their incredible service, and, indeed some real rest.
As shoppers, I think most of us need a rest too. The level of anxiety and stress associated with shopping is untenable. So I offer two suggestions:
1. Could our local grocery stores implement a system, like we had during the gasoline crisis in the ‘70s, where people with house or apartment numbers ending in an even number shop on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and those with odd numbers shop on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday?
On Sundays, anyone could shop, but the stores could stagger opening and closing hours to give staff a break and not overload the system. (Health care and emergency workers would be exempt from the system.) This idea would need to rely on the honour system, of course, but it might help to reduce some of the anxiety of “getting there first.”
2. Could the local stores, working together, also regulate the purchase of key products? For example, only one family-sized package of toilet paper, paper towels, chicken breasts, or other high-volume items allowed per grocery order. This would enable more people to have access to these products throughout the day. Many of the grocery stores in Scotland are implementing this policy and it seems to be working well.
Extraordinary times call for extraordinary actions. While collaboration among competitors may seem like a radical idea, in our small town it not only seems feasible, it may be a necessity, especially if we want to keep our grocery stores open, well stocked and fully staffed.
Susan Simosko Debling