Shopping Etiquette in a Pandemic

Coronavirus has officially become a global pandemic, but people still need to shop for the necessities.

In a matter of days, life in the United States has become upended, and many of us are adjusting to the realities of this new way of life. However, regardless of how contagious coronavirus may be, people still need to eat, clean, and take care of themselves, and that requires a number of necessities.

Most of us are now working or attending classes from home, but that doesn’t mean that life stops. Shopping is one of those things that people still need to do, and while you may not be shopping for new shoes or a new wardrobe any time soon, you still need the basics.

No one wants to be the reason someone else gets sick, and the fact of the matter is that this new reality means that there are now new rules that need to be observed when you’re out and about.

The Right Way to Shop in a Pandemic

#1. Don’t go out if you’re sick.

The number one rule of coronavirus club is don’t go out if you’re sick. Keep in mind that the virus can affect people differently, and even if you’ve just been sneezing or coughing, you shouldn’t ignore it or chalk it up to an itch in your throat of allergies. If you’re feeling under the weather, and you need groceries or anything else, utilize no-contact delivery or ask a friend or family member to go shopping for you.

#2. Stock up but don’t hoard things.

If you get sick, you should be ready to quarantine yourself for at least 14 days. And, even if you don’t get sick, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) recommends staying home as much as possible and only going out when you need to. That means that many Americans will need to stock up on the essentials, but that doesn’t mean that you should hoard things.

There are a lot of Americans out there struggling to get what they need, and it’s not because there are widespread shortages of food or toilet paper. In fact, there aren’t currently shortages at all, but the fact that some people have decided to hoard things has left a lot of others without. So, be thoughtful and kind and only take what you really need.

#3. Keep your distance.

According to CDC guidelines, people should stay at least six feet away from one another as much as possible. This can be a challenge in a crowded grocery store, but for your safety and the safety of those around you, it’s important to try. Six feet is approximately the distance of two shopping carts, so when you’re out and about, try to keep that distance in mind.

Don’t crowd around others in the aisle. If someone is standing in front of something you want or need, let them grab their purchase and move on before you go other there.

#4. Shop with your eyes instead of your hands.

Some people like to physically touch things before they buy them, and some people like to compare labels before deciding on certain items. These are both perfectly acceptable most of the time, but with this new reality, the less we all touch things, the better off we’ll all be.

Whether you’re trying to find the right pasta for dinner or choosing a tomato, refrain from touching things as much as you can. Instead, shop with your eyes and only pick up when you intend to purchase.

#5. Make a list — and a backup list.

This is not the time to wander listlessly down the aisles looking for something to call to you. If you’re following CDC guidelines, you should be staying home as much as possible and limiting your time out in public. That means that, when you go to the grocery store, you need to be prepared, which means having a list.

Going into the grocery store with a list will help you get in and out as quickly as possible. However, it’s also good to be prepared just in case certain things on your list aren’t in stock. Having a backup list will help you avoid having to make up alternative meal options on the spot.

#6. Bring bags with you.

People have been flooding grocery stores and pharmacies for days, and while there may be plenty of toilet paper and canned goods to go around if people weren’t hoarding them, the one thing that is in short supply are plastic and paper grocery bags. Do yourself a favor and make it a point to bring your own reusable bags with you when you shop.

#7. Be kind!

Social distancing is important for staying healthy and safe, but that doesn’t mean that we have to sacrifice basic human decency. A little kindness always goes a long way, and that’s especially true during these times of uncertainty, so in everything you do, try to be kind to those around you.

Some people who could really use a little extra kindness of the men and women who work in grocery stores and pharmacies throughout the country. The risks that you take by shopping is nothing compared to the risks they take by serving you, so recognize that and show them a little extra kindness and patience, even if lines are long and shelves aren’t as stocked as you’d like them to be.

It’s also important to remember that while you may be healthy enough to get out and go to the grocery store, others may not be so lucky. If you’re heading to the store, ask friends or neighbors who may not be able to go on their own if they need anything, and while you’re out, grab a few extra canned goods to take to your local food bank.

When you’re out and about, keep everyone in mind who’s working hard and putting their health and safety on the line for you. Leave them kind words and encouragement in the form of a review on Top Rated Local®, your go-to local business directory!

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