Pandemic Levity – Shopping

Woman Grocery Shopping
Publish 29 May 2021

The following humor may be too soon for some. This is an obtuse call to take coronavirus precautions seriously. Some facts may be exaggerated for the sake of amusement.

⚠️ Reader discretion advised. I respect the work of medical professionals on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. My heart goes out to all those adversely affected, whether by personal health battles, the loss of friends or family, or economic hardship. Many helpful articles on this site address the serious nature of this topic. This post takes a detour in presentation method to share the importance of virus prevention with a bit of levity. Some humor may not translate well into other languages.

Weight Gain

During shelter in place, we need to talk about the elephant in the room, which in certain circles is me. When I join Zoom, it’s just rude to say, “You look like you’re eating very well.” I know what you’re implying. Can I help if my pantry has a surplus of Ramen noodles, oatmeal cookies, and bags of popcorn the size of body pillows?

Don’t judge me. It’s not like I can run to the gym for a morning workout. You know how many hours 24-Hour Fitness locations are open? For most of the pandemic they were Zero-Hour Fitness.

I’m not gonna risk catching going out into the “wild” to forage lettuce. Did you miss the CDC investigation of e. coli in leafy greens? Salads are dangerous, people! Somebody is not washing those pre-washed greens.

Hand Washing

Let’s be honest. How many of you really wash your hands for 20 seconds? You know who spends that much time washing hands? Surgeons. I’m sure you’ve seen the videos with songs to sing while caressing your hands with thick lather and hot water.

In my house it takes 3 minutes for the water to warm up. I poke my hands underneath the ice cold stream and snatch them back. It’s like dipping my toe in an unheated swimming pool. Pump a squirt of soap, rub it like I’m shaking dice on a craps table, and rinse.

I’m done before the stream of water leaves the faucet and hits the basin. Afterwards, I dry my hands vigorously for 20 seconds with a towel to warm them up. What I lack in duration, I make up for in frequency.

Mask Wearing

How many people here like to wear masks? You know who likes to wear masks? Surgeons. How many of you are surgeons? Oh, more hands. Masks violate the entire reason of going out for a breath of fresh air.

After strapping on my mask, I sound like Darth Vader—with asthma. All I’m saying is there’s something wrong when we can take a deeper breath in our homes, filled with dust, carpet fibers, and hand sanitizer vapors, than we can in the great outdoors. — But we wear masks to save lives.

How many of you wear disposable masks? Let me finish… more than once? Some people keep a surgical mask on their automobile dashboards… “sanitizing” it in the sun between errands… for weeks. You may have reused the same disposable mask since the pandemic began. I’m sure you’ve seen some people with black face masks that used to be blue. — People, that’s not the way it works.

Even if it doesn’t have the coronavirus on it, you could die from the accumu­la­tion of mold, mildew, grease, and dirt. Can you imagine a surgeon, prepping for an operation, scrubbing his hands for 3 minutes while humming his favorite song from The Bee Gees. He then runs out to his car and grabs a sanitary mask from his dashboard? — It doesn’t happen.

There are what we call reusable masks made of cloth. After each use—no matter how long—you thoroughly wash them in “hot,” soapy water and let them dry out before reuse. You know how to tell these from disposable masks? It’s in the name, people. So the next time you go outside, breathing like Darth Vader to buy pre-washed salad greens, wear a clean mask. — That’s all I’m saying.


The coronavirus and shelter-in-place has put an end to dating as we know it. Attractiveness is limited to the bridge of the nose upward. Pickup lines now focus on someone’s face mask: “Hey baby, I like the way you fill out that face mask” or “That looks like a 2-ply. Can I add another layer?” To ward off unwanted attention just reply, “I tested positive for COVID-19.” It stops men right in their tracks.

In the off-chance that someone agrees to go out after your pathetic advances, a dinner-and-movie date is off the table. What theaters are open? Dining options are pretty much drive-thru restaurants. A romantic dinner for two consists of two Happy Meals with you behind the wheel while your date slips fries beneath her mask in the third-row seat of your father’s minivan.


You know something else that suffers during shelter in place? Daily hygiene. The only exposed body parts that are clean are our hand-sanitized fingers. Something crowds of shoppers did not horde is toothpaste. It’s a good thing we wear masks in public. Have you seen the masks with teeth imprinted on them? People wear them in lieu of brushing. Dentists will make enough money to retire when this pandemic is over.

Grocery Shopping

Supermarkets have gone through quite a rollercoaster through the pandemic. Initially, shoppers cleared shelves of all the toilet paper and canned goods. Then stores had to limit the number of people within the store and the number of items purchased.

A friendly greeter sanitized each cart before admitting you. As restrictions are lifted, we no longer have greeter. Grab your own cart that could have been corralled by a baseball pitcher for all you know. Inside the front door you might find some pre-moistened wipes to clean your own carts. In some cases its just a bottle of hand sanitizer and some rough paper towels. As you might find in the supermarket restrooms.

The way we shop in the grocery stores needs to change. What worked in the past is now becoming both dangerous and irritating. Are you a shopper who touches everything in the supermarket before buying two items? Pick up a package. Read the label. Put it back. Read another label. Put it back. It’s a bag of Ramen noodles. You know what’s inside. If you don’t want all the sodium, use only half of the seasoning packet.

If someone asks you to purchase a carton of eggs, it’s a trap. Are 18 small eggs equal to 12 large eggs? Who knew we’d have to solve these math problems for a simple grocery item? The confusion doesn’t stop there. We have free-range and cage-free options. I’m not a farmer, but if the eggs are in cartons, aren’t they all now cage-free?

Among the multi-colored shells and golden yolks, a newer trend, free-range-access eggs, is emerging. What are they, caged hens with a window?

And why don’t prices ever line up with the cartons? Given the choice of $10 organic free-range eggs that expire next week, I’m choosing the $3 Franken eggs that expire in two years. But that’s not what the checkout scan decides. At home, the expensive organic, free-range-access jumbo eggs are in the bag.

Is it just me or do other people find it difficult to save money at bulk-shopping stores. If I need a few things, I can run into the local market and spend 20 bucks. When I go into a membership bulk-shopping store, I’m in trouble. The first clue is the shopping cart that is half the size of my SUV. When I checkout, my few items cost nearly 200 bucks. It turns out that buying everything for a family of ten is not as economical when there are only two people in the household.

Do you swim through a shelf of bread like Michael Phelps in order to grab a fresh loaf from the back? Then you discover the stock clerk tricked you by moving fresh bread to the front. With your great form in doing so, you would take home the Gold Medal, as Phelps takes home the silver.

Nobody wants to traverse your touchy-feely aisles of squished bread pudding and expired milk cartons. The cashier behind the poly­carbo­nate sneeze guard doesn’t even want to touch your money. Swipe your card. Bag your own groceries. Leave no evidence behind.

Pre-Coronavirus shopping behaviors need to stop. You touch it; you buy it, like you did with all the toilet paper when this crisis began. The new normal behavior for shopping is to extract groceries with surgical precision. Let the label ingredients and expiration dates be a surprise when you get back home—like finding out what toy you got in your Happy Meal as a child—or last week on that drive-thru date.

While standing in line at the market, adhere to social distancing guidelines. It is both rude and dangerous to bump your shopping cart against a Darth-masked patron’s posterior. Give him the space he requires—the length of two lightsabers.

Shopping responsibly explains why I have so many Ramen noodles and bags of popcorn. Sure, my face fills the Zoom teleconferencing square. Be happy about it. I’m doing my part to stay safe while protecting the community. I have confidence that you are doing the same. Coronavirus is serious. Please wash your hands, brush your teeth, and wear a mask.

Why People Think Pandemic is a Hoax

During the first 9 months of the pandemic, over 1 million people died from 33.4 million infections. At the time of this article’s publication, nearly half of the United States and one eighth the population of the world was vaccinated against COVID-19.

Denial is a way for people to defend themselves against anxiety. When they’re in periods where there’s a lot of anxiety and it’s perceived as a threat, then people develop strategies to protect themselves, their sense of security and safety. And one of these is simply to deny whatever the threatening source is exists.”

Denial is considered to be maladaptive, meaning it doesn’t help anyone adapt to the source of the threat. It can actually expose one to an even greater chance of whatever that threatening thing is.” —CNN

Main photo by Jack Sparrow from Pexels.

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