Inclusion Still Matters - Why I Continue to go to the Supermarket Once a Week During a Pandemic

grocery store aisle with the words Inclusion Still Matters, Why I Continue to go to the Supermarket Once a Week During a Pandemic; Removing the Stumbling Block

Let me be clear: Never in my adult life did I expect that going to the supermarket would become the most stressful part of my week.

Amidst the international crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic, the simple, mundane tasks many of us take for granted have changed drastically. Even before the pandemic, weekly grocery shopping was a chore, and certainly not something I looked forward to doing. But, admittedly, I took it for granted. I would try to find some coupons, and would read the weekly sale circular, yet I bought whatever I wanted, knowing there would be a multitude of choices. Occasionally a sale item sold out, but that was pretty rare, and finding what I wanted was never hard. The most stressful part of my grocery store was the narrow aisles and the other shoppers who had little to no regard for those around them.

I’d go back to that level of stress in a heartbeat.

Now, being out at all is anxiety-provoking. Being around others who may be disregarding CDC recommendations is frustrating. But most of all, it is unbelievably stressful to wonder what items will or won’t be available and to somehow find enough to feed a house that will continue to be full all day every day, for each and every meal and snack.

But before you rush to tell me how I might avoid this stress by ordering online or tell me all the reasons why I should stop going amidst the stay at home orders, let me tell you the reasons why I continue to make a weekly trip to my local grocery store:

I go because I can. When thinking about my lifestyle and the advantages I enjoy, never did I expect to consider my ability to grocery shop a privilege. But here we are. And it is. I am in my 40’s with no pre-existing health issues. I am not in a high risk category for contracting or developing complications from COVID-19 and I am not caring for anyone in my home who is high risk. My Facebook feed is full of people complaining about how difficult it is to get a grocery delivery slot from one of the online providers such as Instacart or Peapod. And I truly appreciate how many people have made the choice to stay home completely and have groceries delivered. This certainly puts less stress on the system and will definitely reduce the spread of the virus. However, I can’t help but think about those with disabilities or those who care for people with disabilities, who are either physically unable to go to a supermarket or can’t risk being exposed. I wish there was a feature of these online delivery systems to prioritize those who can’t go out over those who do not want to go out. Trust me, I do not want to go out. I do not want to shop right now. However, I will not set an alarm to wake up at one in the morning to get online and try to grab the last remaining delivery time from a service that might otherwise benefit someone who needs it more than I do. So, I go to the supermarket because I can.

I do not hoard food and basic household supplies. Sure, like many who live in suburban areas I buy in bulk and double up when there is a good sale, but I do not have a supply of anything in my house that could last me into next year. In a time like this, my shopping habits are tested. The roulette game of what I will or will not be able to find is real. It is SO tempting to buy more than what I need just because it is there. But I force myself to think about who else needs what I need, and recognize that I will be ok. If you would have told me that in 2020 it would have been close to impossible to buy toilet paper or cleaning products and that stores would have imposed “one per customer” rules to purchasing chicken, I would have laughed at the absurdity and called it a first world problem. And it is. I am not making light of what we are experiencing. The trauma of this situation is real, for all of us. But it could always be worse, and I know that I am fortunate. So I will not hoard food and basic household supplies.

Inclusion still matters. My supermarket employs people with disabilities. And while most of them are currently at home as they are at higher risk during this crisis, I want to be sure these jobs are preserved when we make it to the other side of this crisis (and we will!). Like many, I am worried for the state of our economy. Jobs are more likely to go to out-of-work primary wage earners and other able-bodied employees before those with disabilities. That trend exists in a healthy economy, so it will be even worse in a recession. I will continue to support my local grocery store as I hope that their hiring practices will resume as we find our way to a “new normal.”

Stay safe, stay healthy. This too shall pass.

Sign up here so you never miss a post from Removing the Stumbling Block:

No comments:

Post a Comment

You Might Also Like:

Do not publish, curate, sell, post, or distribute all or any part of this blog's content without express permission of the author. You are invited, however, to share links to posts on your webpage, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and other social networking sites. If you are interested in republishing any Removing the Stumbling Block content on your own blog, in a newsletter, or if you wish to use any content in another educational way, please contact me. I am also available to write unique content for your specific network.