All I wanted was toilet paper…
It’s been a few years since I did on-the-spot reporting for a newspaper. So while this is for my blog and not the local paper, I did have some fun.
Today I was so happy to put my freshly-earned journalism degree to work. LOL. It wasn’t my plan at all. But the excitement took me “back to the day,” and I relished it – for the most part.
I had a front-row seat to the hysteria of the Coronavirus hype. In my own neck of the woods – or concrete city – whatever.
Anyhow, I usually shop midweek mornings for a few reasons. One, I can; and two, it’s less crowded. So, when I pulled into the Target parking lot this morning, and saw more than double the number of cars I normally see, I instantly said, “Uh-oh.” Out loud – to myself.
Houston, we have a problem.
I threw my off my consumer hat, and donned my reporter cap.
“Something big is happening,” my instinctive journalist’s brain said as I walked through the doors.
Grabbing a cart, off I went. Straight to the toilet paper aisle.
Would I really catch this hysteria in real-time? Um, yes. Yes I would.
The TP shelves were almost gutted. I was shocked. I thought the run on toilet paper was last weekend. I asked the clerk in the aisle what was up. I mean, by now, everyone has bought enough toilet paper for 2020, right? Apparently not.
“These shelves were full at 8 a.m.,” she explained. “I mean, this morning at 8 a.m.” I looked at my watch – it was 10 a.m. Another customer and I locked eyes.
I spoke first.
“You know, I thought this was just something people were talking about on Facebook, but – whoa, it’s true.”
She nodded and said, “I’m just here for my usual shopping.”
“Me, too,” I said.
Thanking the clerk, I grabbed my “two packages per customer” allotment of paper gold, took a photo, and continued shopping. Apparently, some people grab two packages per visit hourly. Because there’s no way in hell anyone can use that much TP in a lifetime.
Okay, so since I’m there for my monthly supplies of toilet paper, paper towel, soap, contact solution, time to maneuver my cart through the pre-holiday like crowd. Yes, it was that crowded. And luckily, people were in a good mood.
There was plenty of paper towel. Yay! But, hand soap? Not so much. Disinfectants? Nowhere to be found. The shelves were completely empty. Vitamin C packets – gone. Vitamin C capsules – gone. Vitamin C anything – f*cking GONE!Vitamin C packets – gone. Vitamin C capsules – gone. Vitamin C anything – f*cking GONE! Click To Tweet
WTF! Seriously people? I grumbled with a couple of other customers about the lack of anything in the store. To include dairy products, lunch meat, etc.
I thought I’d grab orange juice – that will work until I can find vitamin C packets somewhere. Hell, I grabbed one of the few bottles of OJ that they had left.
The bottled water shelves were greatly lacking.
I grabbed what I could find, and got in line. There were many lanes open, and each one had a decent number of people checking out.
As I waited, I chatted with a manager, asking him how about the crowds.
“This is pretty unusual for a Thursday morning, but we have a full staff,” he explained. “It’s been really busy since things started closing due to the virus.”
I told him I was surprised at how everything was gutted.
“Our shelves were full at 8 a.m. People were lined up to get inside,” he said.
My only response was, “wow.”
I thanked him, and told him that every employee I encountered was helpful and in good spirits. I wished him and his staff good health – mentally and physically.
** Shout out to all the retail workers dealing with this hysteria! You all are doing great! **
I got in line and chatted with the woman in front of me. She had toilet paper and wine. I knew we could be BFFs.
“If I’m going to be stuck inside, I want to have my wine,” she said.
Cheers, mate, I couldn’t agree with you more.
As I walked to my car, I was prepared to get mugged and have my toilet paper stolen. No need to take my purse – no cash on a good day, and now no cash due to the virus. But with the value of toilet paper – yikes!
Heading home, I stopped at my favorite pharmacy. And, yay – they had the vitamin C packets. Their shelves weren’t as gutted, but they were super busy as well.
And not only did they have my Vitamin C packets, my favorite wine was on sale! Yay! Score for me.
On my drive home, I thought about a few things. Like, I’ll stop having receipts emailed to me because, well, you never know when they could come in handy. And I remembered, when I was a young mom. I wished I had bought stock in coffee, disposable diapers and apple juice. And, during Y2K, I wish I had bought stock in batteries, coffee and firewood. And now, with Coronavirus hysteria, I wish I had bought stock in coffee, toilet paper, soap and… wine.
While I realize precautions need to be taken, I had to share the humor of my “quick trip to the store.” This too shall pass. And, as my favorite columnist would say:
“If you can’t make it better, you can laugh at it. – Erma Bombeck”
Wishing all of you good health and the ability to stay sane during this hype. Much love xo
© Lynne Cobb – 2020
Have you encounter any of this hype? Feel free to comment below.