The weekly trip to the supermarket is now the highlight of your social calendar – but make sure that you do it as safely as possible

All4Women editor Sasha ventured out to stock up on food for the family for the next two weeks (hopefully), armed with a bottle of hospital-grade hand sanitiser and a packet of antiseptic wet wipes…

Day 5 of the lockdown and my cupboards were empty

I thought I stocked up last week, but what I bought only lasted five days. Bored people snack. And cook more. And bake too.

I was happy to be the volunteer to take on the general public at my local Pick n Pay. It was a chance to get out of the house – and the new highlight on my social calendar.

#OperationFoodGrab: planning the mission

This was my plan:

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1. Use crossbody handbag to keep said bag close to chest and limit contact with other shoppers
2. Pack above bag with hospital-grade hand sanitiser (for myself and the cashier and grocery packer)
3. Pack same bag with sterilising wet wipes for trolley (in case store had run out)
4. Take credit card to avoid handling of cash and ensure that I swipe it myself
5. Check that I had change for car guard (to leave on trolley seat to avoid human contact)

I was pleasantly surprised to see that Pick n Pay had implemented lots of extra safety measures since my last shop at the store

  • My hands were sprayed at the door by the security guard and a manager on duty was overseeing the process (I used my own trolley wipes as I grabbed a trolley from outside the store).
  • There were notices posted around the store warning customers to wash fruit and veg before consuming and to avoid selfish mass panic buying
  • 90% of my favourites on my shopping list were available and the fruit and vegetable section was well stocked with fresh produce. I did however, avoid buying produce that had to be weighed (I am trying to avoid contact with other humans wherever possible).

The deli sections that served hot food were closed according to regulations, but I was disappointed to find that chevron tape had been placed across shelves that stocked products like can openers and vegetable peelers. After accidentally binning my peeler with the carrot peels last week, one of those has become a bit of an essential in my house and so too a tin opener (living 200m from the sea means I have to replace mine every few months.) I guess that tins with rings for self-opening will be the way forward for a while…

But contrary to fake news reports, there was plenty of toilet paper… a lot more essential than a veggie peeler! And Easter eggs make the essentials list, so my family’s two major requests are fulfilled!

The store was relatively quiet, and I was glad to see that panic buying seems to have subsided

Customers kept their distance from one another and shared polite smiles as we stood aside to let each other’s trolleys pass.

I had planned on doing an alcohol detox for 21 days so had purposely avoided the bottle store pre-lockdown, but after a few days of 24/7 with the restless, ratty runner husband (fretting about his non-training for the 2020 Comrades) and a moody teen, I was beginning to regret the decision.

I had planned on doing an alcohol detox for 21 days so had purposely avoided the bottle store pre-lockdown, but after a few days of 24/7 with the restless, ratty runner husband (fretting about his non-training for the 2020 Comrades) and a moody teen, I was beginning to regret the decision

Fortunately I have unearthed two bottles of craft gin sent to me at Christmas time from a PR company – they could never have dreamed how appreciative I would be – and mercifully Pick n Pay was able to supply copious litres of tonic so lockdown is going to become just that more bearable at 5pm.

The person in front of me as well as the one behind me at the till both kept their distance and Pick n Pay has installed perspex screens in front of the cashiers to protect both employee and customer when speaking to each other.

The cashier and packer both sprayed their hands before handling my groceries and so did I

I inserted my own card into the machine and wiped it before putting it back into my wallet.

I declined the car guard’s offer to push my trolley to my car or pack my groceries but he did take my trolley when I had finished. I’m glad to see that car guards are still able to earn an income (even if reduced). They just need to practise safe social distancing, so please leave some coins in the trolley seat for them when you shop.

Germ-busting ideas for your home: Back from the shops

Once home I left my shoes at the door, washed my hands, and used a couple of precious wipes to wipe down my groceries before packing them away. Then I had a hot shower and tossed my worn clothes into the washing machine.

Not everyone has the luxury of wipes and washing machines, but hopefully most have access to soap and water nearby to wash their hands before handling food and groceries. There are some areas on the KZN south coast (townships in particular) that have been without water for WEEKS! Not acceptable in this time of crisis. I can only hope that our municipality has restored water to these affected areas.

That is about all I could do to prevent contact with the virus and each time I go out, I can only hope… But I would like to express my gratitude to Pick n Pay for the steps they have taken to try to ensure the safety of their customers: THANK YOU!

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