I ventured out this morning at 9:00 to Trader Joe’s. The experience was relatively stress-free.
Like many food stores and other outlets, TJ’s is reserving the first hour of opening for elders, at-risk people, and the immunocompromised. A staff member was scrutinizing all who entered; I guess I passed, being obviously in the correct age cohort (darn it). My pre-existing condition doesn’t show.
I was outfitted with a cowboy-style bandana, fashioned from a plausible enough dinner napkin. My wife had pre-tied this on me, tight at my request; I pulled it down around my neck for the drive, the way a cowboy would do before pulling it up to go rob the bank. Katharyn opined that it made a dashing impression as a scarf. Don’t know about that.
Just as I was arriving in TJ’s parking lot (there were three or four empty spots even in the desirable upper lot), I heard on MPR that the CDC was now recommending that everyone use face covering in public. So, good timing on that call.
I donned disposable nitrile gloves, the kind that food preparers have long worn, and went in, picking up a shopping cart from another staffer who was sanitizing the handles.
There were only two of us in the wine store, plus one clerk. We kept our distance. The clerk was wearing disposable gloves too; all of the TJ’s staff were. At checkout, I already had my credit card out in a coat pocket so I didn’t need to fool with my wallet while wearing unfamiliar gloves.
A larger crowd roamed the food store. I guesstimate that there were 20-30 customers. Perhaps 2/3 were wearing some sort of face covering, as I was; some had construction-style white masks and others made do with a scarf or other improvisation. Most of us were trying to maintain a 6-foot distance, but it wasn’t always possible in the narrow aisles. People would hang back waiting for another to finish at the shelf before moving in.
I asked a staffer whether TJ’s was considering plexiglass shields for the safety of the checkout workers (the kind that are already in place at our local Widmer’s). She said yes that was in process, but the store was on a waiting list because there is a plexiglass shortage.