Leave Minimal Shopping Footprint

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Analyze Your Shopping Method

Depending on the size of your family, grocery shopping can be an exhausting half-day affair. Little hands grab everything. There are frequent bathroom breaks and constant cries. Do children have tantrums or run down aisles, bumping into displays, and retrieving items not on your shopping list? When your clan exits a store, do other shoppers applaud?

Perhaps you’re a solo lingerer. You slowly push a cart down every aisle. In the process, you pull items from shelves to read labels. Without a firm list, serendipitous selections eventually make it to the checkout line.

Maybe you’re a wander. You know what items you need but have no idea how to find them. So you wander from one end of the store to other before hunting down a stock clerk to direct you. Great, one item your cart, five to go. Repeat the process. It is not entirely your fault. Grocery stores periodically move things around so people discover more items to purchase.

Shopping During Coronavirus Pandemic

Leave Minimal Shopping Footprint

Do you have concerns about contracting or spreading the COVID-19 virus? There are things you should and should not do while grocery shopping. Do you have the tendency to touch more items than you purchase?

Are you a cantaloupe thumper? You might prefer to dig through several heads of lettuce before adding one to your cart. Do you reach for the loaf of bread in the back of the shelf? How about picking up packages to read labels? Stop it. These pre-coronavirus behaviors are faux pas during a pandemic. They are as extinct as physical-contact social greetings.

The goal is to minimize points of contact. A stock clerk opens a mechanically sealed box to place cans on the store shelf. Twenty shoppers come along afterwards rearranging and touching them. If a thousand people each touch 50 unpurchased items, you can see how easily potential contamination multiplies. If you wear gloves, you might keep germs from getting on you. But you may transfer contaminants from one package that many people have touched to another.

Scale Down And Move Out

Try not to bring an entourage. Think of grocery shopping as a Navy Seal extraction. Identify your target. Get in. Locate the package. Get out safely. If you cannot handle the mission, consider curbside pickup or home delivery options.

To prepare for shopping, first make a list of what you need. Read product labels online beforehand. Major supermarkets have websites or apps to assist with this. For sanitary reasons, many stores are rejecting reusable bags. So you may want to leave them at home (or sanitize them). Then, mask up and sanitize your hands. Put on sterile gloves before entering the store.

Move quickly, with a purpose down aisles. If one is crowded, loop back to it later. Interact with as few people as possible. Grab and go without distractions. Put fresh fruits and vegetables into provided plastic bags so the do not come in contact with the communal shopping cart. With self checkout, you can have an attendant sanitize the kiosk prior to use. Pay with credit or debit card that you can wipe clean.

Master these suggestions and safely cross into the new era of shopping during a pandemic—and perhaps for time beyond. This may become the new normal.

References
  1. Why Do Grocery Stores Change the Layout? thegrocerystoreguy.com
  2. Dr. Gupta's tips on how to safely shop at grocery stores. cnn.com
  3. How to Stay Safe at the Grocery Store During Coronavirus Outbreak. aarp.org
  4. Some states slow reopening as coronavirus cases rise. cnn.com
Kevin Williams is a health advocate and writer of hundreds of articles for multiple websites, including: A Bit More Healthy, KevinMD, and Sue’s Nutrition Buzz.

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