Today, I went shopping.
In the shop I saw a woman wearing an industrial mask and latex gloves. She wasn’t wearing goggles so all her precautions were wasted, as corona virus can spread via contact with the eyes.
I tried to get a picture with my phone but couldn’t get a clear shot, so I rang Julia instead. It was the most amazing thing I’ve seen since I saw the Great Rift Valley, and a lot more amusing. It was also a lot more interesting. The Great Rift Valley is fine as far as it goes (and it does go a long way) but, whilst breath-taking in its scale, it is just too big to be interesting. A woman in a paint-spraying mask with latex gloves is much more interesting because of the human scale.
If I survive the Great Pandemic this will be a story to bore people with for years to come. If I don’t survive I will at least have recorded it for posterity.
There has been a lot of panic-buying going on and many of the shelves in our local shop are empty. An interesting fact is that all the cheap stuff is going fast, and the expensive stuff is being left on the shelves. There were two sorts of baked beans left, for instance. On a six foot length of shelves only the “low salt, low sugar” and expensive Heinz beans were left. All the cheap own brand beans had gone.
The story was repeated across the whole shop. When the chips are down people prefer cheap to healthy. This has always been the case. Whatever people may say, they actually buy cheap. It used to be that 90% of people said they supported free range eggs, but the supermarket sales said that most of those people bought cheap eggs from caged birds. It took 30 years to change things round.
Someone showed me a picture today. It showed six bags of shopping and four cases of bottled water. That was the panic-buying his wife had done on her way back from work. In the evening she went out and bought a few extras. Well, you wouldn’t want to run out of beans and toilet rolls, would you?
Meanwhile, in Toronto, Number Two Son is waiting to be laid off. Occupancy of the hostel he works in has fallen to zero. That’s right, not one person staying there, all because of a microscopic bug.
Back to my shopping trip, and at the checkout a cleaner came to give it a wipe down.
“This,” she said, to the checkout operator, brandishing a bottle of sanitiser,”was the last one on the shelf.”
“Have you thought of putting it up for auction?” asked the woman in the queue behind me.