Don’t believe everything you hear

I couldn’t have predicted how difficult this post would be to write. It’s like no matter how many times I rewrite it, I just can’t seem to find the words to convey all that I have to say.

I’ve been attempting to write a post about my shopping experience yesterday. I think it matters because I didn’t have nearly the experience I was anticipating after all that was being reported.

It’s the people that surprised me the most

I’d heard that people were hoarding toilet paper. Heard that there was no bread or meat or dairy to be found anywhere. I’d heard that you could be parched in Hell and still not find a single bottle of water to purchase. And I’d heard that this was making people grumpy.

you were hoping to buy what?

You might find me a little crazy, but I walked in there armed with a grocery list. I went in there armed with a normal grocery list. I’d gone through my kitchen and determined what my family would need. I figured it was worth hoping, and it was better to head into this mess with some kind of plan.

And so, I walked into Kroger, armed with my list, zero expectations, and a back-up plan. I managed to nab the last corned beef for St Patrick’s Day. That definitely counts as a win. In other ways I wasn’t so lucky.

My back-up plan needed a back-up plan

I had to rethink things more than a few times, but I managed to arrive home with enough food that I believe I can get my family through for a short while. It’s the best we could do with the options left on the table.

a treasure trove ignored

This is one of the ways people surprised me. The meats were picked clean, there wasn’t a loaf of bread or a canned or frozen vegetable to be found (except for the stacks and stacks of frozen okra – I guess the southern delicacy of a vegetable isn’t very popular in this neck of the north). The rice was nearly picked clean, but we managed to grab a couple of bags.

From the shelves beside the rice I grabbed a bag of lentils and one of black-eyed-peas. The powerhouses of nutrition that are dried beans and pulses were fully stocked. People, if we end up without the option of shopping for a couple of weeks, these bags of nutrients can be blended into meals and stretched to feed a crowd. You’re leaving a gold mine behind on the shelves.

Small town living at its finest

It’s true, every where we looked there were bare shelves. While there wasn’t a kid in sight, so many of us were parents worrying how we were going to feed our families over the coming weeks of uncertainty. And, we’ve all been hearing scary words like social distancing.

I’d heard warning that it was reminiscent of Black Friday out there. I was expecting people to start swinging over the crumbs that still lingered on the shelf. I worried that my corned beef might be a prize akin to those Black Friday television sets.

Joviality

Community. That’s what I found in the aisles. Usually we’re all shopping with our grumpy faces on. We’re all grabbing or items off the shelves and grumbling about how they are always out of the coveted sale items. Not yesterday. Not here in the middle of rural Michigan.

People were chatting with their friends in the aisles. They were apologizing with smiles as they slid their carts out of the way for fellow shoppers to obtain items. They were sharing jokes and bantering with total strangers.

Even the cashiers (who I’m certain weren’t being paid nearly enough for their stoic efforts) were full of smiles and pleasantries. Our cashier (whose grown to know us over the years) inquired about our kids and shared a few good-humored anecdotes with us.

I hope that it’s not just our small Michigan community, but allover the country that you can find a sense of humanity amongst the people.

Made out like bandits

It’s true, I didn’t find everything on my list. Meijer was all out of buy one get one 50% off frozen turkey breasts. We are stocked up on beans (and other pulses), rice, and pasta. We have some meats and a small selection of vegetables. There are cold milks in the refrigerator and a half a bag of dry milk in the pantry. I found fresh, locally-grown green beans, and there is coffee for brewing. We’ll be alright.

We rounded out our day of shopping with a family game of Stupid Deaths followed by the movie 28 Days Later because these are the strange things people do at times like these.

In it for the long haul

I put in an order with Amazon. Husband’s been wanting Undead Nightmare to go with Red Dead Redemption -which he’s already beaten at least a couple of times. I also ordered Bedknobs and Broomsticks -a beloved movie from my childhood that I am excited to see again.

Looking for books for the kids to read while they’re home these next few weeks?

Check out these picture books about the seasons or a monster and even one about Santa if they don’t mind reading about the jolly elf at Easter time. For the bigger kids, I’ve got a great book about a dog and cat dealing with the neighborhood bullies (also on Kindle and KindleUnlimited). As for mom and dad (or your babysitter home from college) I’ve got a paranormal thriller (also on Kindle and KindleUnlimited) you might enjoy.

Wishing everyone well as we enter into these coming weeks of uncertainty.

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