Pandemic Shopping

Some consider shopping to be a fun and enjoyable activity. I’m not one of those people. In the best of circumstances, shopping pushes my crotchety button. Grocery shopping is the worst.

Before COVID-19, I ordered everything but perishables online, mostly from Walmart. Convenience, selection, low prices and free shipping keep me coming back. Aside from shipping delays, I didn’t anticipate any problems.

Wrong. Almost everything I usually order has been out of stock. Substitutes have been in short supply too.


I checked out pickup and local delivery options. The next available appointments/delivery dates were weeks away. Availability is better now, but I’ll pass. Sooner or later, another person choosing my produce would surely piss me off.

Masked and armed with sanitizer, I hit the store. The first few trips scared me. I expected toilet paper and cleaning supply shortages, but not so many vacant shelves elsewhere. Empty ice cream cases hit me especially hard.

Forget shopping with a list. The supply dictates what I buy. Some items are plentiful one week and gone the next. Yeast and gingersnaps are still hard to find, but the toilet paper crisis appears to be over.

Beef, pork and poultry products come and go. Salmon, however, is always available. I’ve eaten more salmon in the past four months than I”ve had in my entire life. I like it more than I did, but touching the raw skin still makes me want to puke.

To extend the time between trips to the store, I buy extra of frequently used items. When out-of-stock items reappear, I buy extra too — whether needed or not. Limited storage keeps me from getting more than an extra package or two of anything.

Stuff turns over faster. Instead of months (years in some cases), nothing in my cabinets or refrigerator is more than a few weeks old. Anything on hand in March has been consumed or deemed inedible and tossed in the trash.

I can’t complain. What I want hasn’t always been available, but I’ve always had what I need. So far, so good.