Blog #69: I am not one to shop at too many different stores when it comes to grocery shopping, however, it has been difficult looking for toilet paper and paper towels during this pandemic. This forced me to try different stores and search for food and essentials. During these grocery runs I noticed which stores had a more sanitary approach for shoppers. I cannot speak for all grocery stores, just on my shopping experiences.
Where I Shop
I normally shop at two different grocery stores. I head to Whole Foods for my meats, fruits and vegetables and then I go to Market Basket or Target to get snacks and household items. Since the pandemic, I have been forced to go to a few other stores for essentials.
- Whole Foods – This is my go to store. Yes it is more expensive, but everything is fresh and there is always an organic option and grass fed meats! This has been the most sanitized grocery store I have been to so far. There is tape and signs directing you in the store, along with an employee that will give you the okay to go in and arrows in each aisle with stop sign stickers on the floor for those tight aisles! There is also an employee directing the next customer to the registers. They have been stocked with many things except for toilet paper and paper towels every week that I go. I do go to a smaller whole foods.* I gave Whole Foods a 5 Star because aside, from great customer service they have really upped their sanitation since the pandemic. All workers wear masks and gloves AND after each customer checks out, the registers are disinfected before the next person goes up! They also have a glass window in between the customer and employee at check out.
- Walmart also has a line with tape and an employee directing customers into the store once someone leaves. I still found it to be very crowded as the employees were stocking in practically all the food aisles. There was no tape directing customers and people were going in all directions. They were out of toilet paper but did have paper towels. The cheapest brand! But it was something. At checkout, there is tape for social distancing and the workers wore masks and gloves. However, the crowded aisles with stockers did not feel very safe.
- Target is one of my favorite stores. I like to go to the smaller Target close to my home vs the larger one for grocery shopping so I am in and out quickly. My review is on the smaller Target. There are no lines to get in and no tape for social distancing. Employees wear masks and gloves and they have now hired employees to disinfect the carriages. The few times I have gone I have been able to find toilet paper and paper towels. Depends on the day I guess. The benefit of going to target is the self checkouts. They have less people touching your items. They also have a glass window in between the customer and employee if you choose to have an employee check out your items. I was however not very happy about people getting to close in the aisles. Some people still don’t know how to social distance, unfortunately! Pick up and drive is still an option but not worth it for essentials as the website says items may be out of stock. Better to go in the store to see your options at this time.
- Walgreens – I have gone in once to look for toilet paper and water. I had luck finding water but not toilet paper. At the time I went, it was the very beginning of the restrictions so things may have changed. When I went there was tape for social distancing at check out and the employees wore masks. Since then I just go through the drive thru to pick up my prescriptions. I no longer have to sign for insurance billing. Less touching, less of a chance of transmission. I just verify everything verbally and get my prescriptions! I even saw an elder walk up to the drive thru and a pharmacist was able to assist even though he walked to the window!
- Market Basket had a huge line to get it. It is always busy so I was not surprised. Employees let a certain number of customers in the stores, just like Whole Foods and Walmart. They were fully stocked with everything, including toilet paper and paper towels! They also had tape for social distancing and a glass window between the customer and employee at check out. The scary part is that the employees are not wearing gloves and masks. Many communities have been complaining of this. A few folks have approached these employees but have not received a good response. An employee at another Market Basket location passed away from covid-19. Therefore management should take it more serious with their employees about safety. By the time this post goes up, the governor of Massachusetts has made it mandatory as of May 6, 2020 for everyone to wear masks in public places, both indoors and outdoors. Maybe the next time I go into Market Basket I will feel a bit safer!
- My Local Convenience store has plenty of toilet paper at $2 a roll but not great quality. They also have plenty of paper towels but more expensive. This is my last resort if needed as the prices are more expensive since everyone is looking for these essentials. There is also no limit on how much you can purchase. It is safer to shop at my local convenience store as there are less people and there is a piece of glass between employees and customers at check out. Employees are also wearing masks and gloves.
Overall, there are pros and cons to each store and every one is nervous to go shopping.
I can only speak for the stores I have gone to here in Massachusetts. Other franchise chains may do things differently at each store and things are frequently changing. I have heard CVS does not touch your items. You check them out yourself. Every place is different and it is very important we take precautions.
When I get home I immediately disinfect all my groceries in the car before bringing them in the house! I then was my hands and wrists in warm water.
Wherever you shop, stay safe. Keep sanitizing your groceries and wash your hands!