Last night I did an online shop - no home deliveries to be had from any of the local supermarkets for 3 weeks, but I did manage to book a click and collect one for 2 weeks' time. Which is fine, it's when I wanted it anyway. How much of it we actually get picked and packed though remains to be seen when we go and collect it....I read in the paper yesterday about one couple who'd ordered £50 worth of shopping, but only received one bag containing just a few items amounting to £7 in total! The world's gone mad.
Anyway, it was announced that Sainsbury's were opening for the first hour this morning just for the elderly and vulnerable....as husband is in his 70th year and in the at risk category because of his heart failure, and I am too due to my diabetes and liver disease, we decided that included us. Fortunately, neither of us is showing any symptoms, but it could be just a matter of time before we do. We decided to go and get some fresh veg, milk and bread flour, and some Vitamin C, honey and lemon.
We arrived at the store at about 07.15 (it opens at 07.00). The car park was almost full, nobody queueing to get in but the store was really busy. What surprised us was that there was no member of staff or security on the door vetting who was going in (if they were old enough eg), and the store was full of - well, basically everybody, all age groups. Now I know you can't always tell if someone is disabled or vulnerable by their appearance (husband is a prime example, despite his heart failure and list of medications as long as his arm, he generally looks perfectly well), but lots of younger people in there didn't look disabled or vulnerable at all - eg there were several workmen in building gear and hard hats, young men and women in suits, all clearly on their way to work. So no adhering to the dedicated 'elderly and vulnerable' rule at all. Out of interest, on our way out husband asked a member of staff why there was no one manning the entrance....she said they'd rung Head Office to ask if they should and were told not to bother! So what's the point?
The shop itself was decimated, empty shelves everywhere. Hardly any veg - in fact the entire section where they keep most of the root and green veg was literally totally empty. Almost no potatoes, hardly any salad, no apples, only a few pears. Loads of bananas, bizarrely. Husband managed to get the very last bag of bread flour. No yeast or baking powder. Not much milk left - no 4 or 6 pints, only a few 2 or 1. Only about half a dozen of my lactose-free milk, the same of soya milk - and only the branded high cost one at that. Almost no eggs, other than a very few boxes of very expensive 'artisan small producer' type eggs. No toilet rolls, paracetamol or liquid soap....other than some fancy posh one costing £9!!! a bottle - who pays that much for soap?! (nobody clearly, since that was all that was left). The entire shop looked like it had been looted or had a plague of locusts in. We picked up a few things that were on our list, whatever we couldn't get we'll just manage without. We won't go hungry, nor will Betty, we have plenty for our needs even if we end up having to self isolate for several weeks.
We feel very lucky indeed, actually. We're not infected (as yet!), we're retired and on fixed pension incomes, so won't suffer financially and aren't in danger of being unable to pay our rent or bills. With Spring on the way, we'll be able to get stuck in to the gardening, husband's already made a start on getting some of the veg beds ready and sowing some seeds, he's going to plant his seed potatoes in bags at the weekend. We'll probably grow more produce than last year. Everyone in our little hamlet knows each other and we're all looking out for each other, so I'm sure we'll be fine. Hopefully the shopping situation, which is madness at the moment, will be sorted out soon - the Government seems to have been very slow in reacting thus far, but things are evolving very quickly indeed now.
I hope we all stay safe and get through all this as unscathed as we can. If nothing else, we'll have a very clean and tidy house, a very full and productive garden and some 'interesting' meals to be made in the coming weeks as our store cupboards and freezers get emptier!