Thursday, March 19, 2020
(random iguana picture)
Yesterday I went grocery shopping. When I (finally!) got home I realised that I visited three supermarket where things were all very different. So now I have something to blog about for Carole's Three on Thursday ;-)
1. I started at Van den Tweel. That's an hour drive for us, over the Juliana bridge, to the other side of town. It's a supermarket that's rooted in a Dutch chain and therefor very populair with Dutch people. I go there for bread (they have one type that my body can handle), rice cakes and anti mosquito spray (natural, low DEET that still works). In this supermarket I saw what I expected to see after our Corona measures were issued. Not very busy, people keeping their distance, hand sanitizer at the entrance, cashiers wearing gloves. There was enough food on the shelves, luckily, but they were out of rice cakes.
2. Then I went to Centrum. This is my go-to supermarket and I get the bulk of my stuff there. It's the one closest to us and they have the best products (for what I need). Shoppers are a mix of local people and Dutch and Americans from the big gated resort close by.
Here, much to my surprise, it was business as usual. I saw some Dutch and American people standing close to each other, talking about how silly it all was. People were not keeping their distance at all. There was hand sanitizer, but nobody used it. Cashiers were wearing cloves, but the boys that help you pack were not. Shelves were filled like normal. They were out off eggs though.
3. I really needed eggs, so my next stop was Esperamos. Not my favorite supermarket, but also not too far from Centrum, so the best option to find eggs without driving all over the island. I had to park my car at the edge of the parking lot. I had to wait for my turn at the hand sanitizer. And the lines at the checkout were crazy!
I actually checked my phone to see if there was some disturbing news, but this was before the press conference*. There was still a lot of food on the shelves, but they were also almost out of eggs. Weird, since eggs are local. And why would you stockpile eggs? You can't keep them that long. Anyway. I got my normal amount of eggs (I always shop for two weeks at a time), but they were all in boxes of 6, so I couldn't get the fast lane, because I had too many items (I also bought a few rolls of rice cakes). So I waited and observed.
Lots of full carts. That's not normal, because locals tend to shop for smaller amounts at supermarkets and get the big stuff at Costuless and Goisco (comparable to Costco I think). I saw a couple that had two carts and there were two overflowing carts standing in the middle without an owner. I guess he or she was filling up the third one.
Since I had a lot of time to think I realised that it was probably also busy because restaurants are closed and lots people are home from work. They tend to eat out a lot and get their food on their way to work/home or in their breaks. There is still take-out, but I guess more people are cooking their own food now.
Even though people were sanitizing there hands, nobody was keeping their distance, except one man who was constantly telling people to back off. Nobody talked about Corona, but I think it was on everybody's mind. I just wish they would be more careful about protecting themselves.
It felt like an alternative reality. So strange. I was glad to go home where things were quite normal. We are used to being home and work from the porch most of the time anyway.
* Since the first case was reported on Friday we have press conferences daily at 11.30. On this day they started out by reporting there still were only three cases and the first one was still in IC, but stable. After a few minutes though, word came in that he died.