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Hey, Buddy, Keep Your (Social) Distance When Grocery Shopping

Social distancing isn't just safe, it's polite.
Social distancing isn't just safe, it's polite.
Photo by Reggie Mathalone

Going to a grocery store or a crowded farmer's market is often nerve racking without the fear of catching a deadly virus. With the spread of coronavirus, any crowd makes even the least germaphobic person feel like they need a Silkwood-level shower.

Right now, no one wants to go out for anything right now. We Instacart and Shipt and Uber everything to avoid crowds. But, there are times when it is unavoidable. And stores are doing everything they can to help you. Even small stores and markets are letting fewer people in at once, providing hand sanitizer, wiping down carts. The least we can do is maintain a safe space.

And it isn't like we don't hear the terms "social distancing" at least a thousand times a day or don't have marks on the ground everywhere measured six feet apart. So, people, what is your excuse?

We were in H-E-B at 8 a.m. on a Monday with maybe 50 other people in a hangar-sized store and, yet, people reached over us for things on shelves and pushed up near us to get sweet potatoes. To quote the funniest housekeeper one liner in movie history, what the hell are you doing?

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No one wants you in their personal space during normal times. Nothing about 2020 is normal. So, stop behaving like we know each other and both just got simultaneous doctor's reports saying we are immune to everything. We don't know you. You don't know us. This is no time to start.

When you reach past me for that can of pinto beans, you're, one, being really rude and, two, possibly exposing me or you plus our entire families to a virus. C'mon man!

Honestly, this shouldn't even be a discussion. We get it. The grocery store, in particular, can be a rather aggressive place, especially on a crowded weekend. But, when it's nearly empty on a weekday morning? And what about you hippies that insist on locally-sourced kale and the first dozen yard eggs at the farmer's market? You may normally try to run us over with your reusable hemp bags on a normal day, but last time we checked, peering over our shoulders to make sure we aren't buying the last artisan baguette isn't cool even if you were wearing a hazmat suit.

When all this is over and we have a vaccine for COVID-19, you will hopefully have learned the lesson that it's not OK to do what you are doing in the middle of a pandemic. Maybe then, if we aren't both dead, we can all manage a respectful distance from one another, virus or not.

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