Everything has changed, thanks to Covid-19. From big things like how we work to the mundane like how we shop.
Now, there's two kinds of people during this pandemic. The first, who are getting way too bored in the house and want to go out to the grocery store for some 'fresh air'.
The second are the type who feel more anxious after going to the supermarket...as you know, one should! We can't keep wishfully imagining that grocery stores are somehow immune to the virus. Newsflash: they're not.
While you should try to avoid going out altogether, we know you have to step out sometimes to get food and other necessities. So naturally we wrote you a handy dos and don'ts guide to supermarket shopping in the age of corona:
Do keep a distance
The most important rule in social distancing, according to WHO, is to maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and others.
You know that temptation when you loiter behind someone who is shopping, only because he's dawdling near the last few packets of the Doritos you want? Yeah, stop it. Keep a distance!
While shopping, and while entering the supermarket. If you're pushing someone, you're basically pushing yourself right into the arms of corona danger zone. Bad idea.
Don't roam around without a mask
The sooner we accept this as the latest fashion trend that isn't really optional, the better for everyone involved. Many experts say we should be behaving not like we don't want to catch the virus but like we don't want to transmit it to others.
By wearing a mask, you're protecting yourself and those around you. Wear. A. Mask. And gloves!
Do be intentional about touching products and surfaces
Rule of thumb: if you touch it, it's yours. So only pick up what you're going to buy. Be mindful about touching surfaces unnecessarily. If you're paying by cash, just place the money on the counter instead of handing it to the cashier and try to bring exact change. If you're using a card, use hand sanitiser instantly after.
Your face, products, money. Just try to minimise touching as much as possible.
And definitely don't touch other people
We know, we know, Pakistanis don't have a great understanding of personal space but you'd think a pandemic would make them realise. Nope.
In times of desperation, we understand everyone is craving human contact. But please, don't touch. There are a lot of things you can pass to say hello or get our attention if need be. A smile, a wave, even a nod (all of which are contagious in the right way).
Do wipe down your shopping cart before and after use
Bring anti-bacterial wipes or sanitiser and some tissues and wipe down your cart.
Superstores are trying to be as cautious as possible but ideally you should be disinfecting any surface you're going to touch as well as after you're done. This is for your own safety and gets you brownie points as a decent human being. Win-win.
We understand, its tempting to load up. You don't know if an Insta live will throw a new recipe at you and you'd want to experiment this time. Or if you'd want to stand in long lines and wait hours for your turn the next time.
But the truth of the matter is, you need to check yourself. If the last pouch of mayo is staring right back at you, you need to examine whether you can survive a few more days without excessively double dipping your sandwich (the correct answer is yes.)
Don't come with your entire family
It's not a chance to spend quality time together, you get to do that at home anyway now. In fact, think of it as a break from them. Lets be honest: grocery shopping with kiddos isn't a walk in the park.
The more people you have with you, the more likely someone will pick up a bug and we don't need unnecessary crowding inside the store; designate one member of the family to shop.
Do follow the signs and rules laid out by the store
Three words: Get in line.
No one's getting special treatment. Most shops are having people line up and only allowing a few people inside the store at any given time. Follow instructions from the staffers and the signs.
If a store worker is telling you to step back from a fellow shopper or offering you sanitiser, don't make faces or start arguing. They're only following protocol and trying to keep everyone safe.
Don't be a jerk to store employees
They're definitely not getting paid enough for their jobs and it's a thankless gig for the most part but these guys are essential working at the frontlines fighting this pandemic, exposing themselves to a potentially deadly virus so that we don't go starving. Show some respect and kindness.