They Told me not to panic, so I did.

This moning at 6:30am I did something I swore I would never do. I went to Kroger in sweatpants. Not the cute, tight fitting kind that say “Love” on the butt, showing everyone that you bought them at Victoria’s Secret. The old man, worn elastic waist band, too short to look cool sweatpants. Why did I cave and wear this horrible ensamble in public after 32 years of swearing I wouldn’t? In short: I panicked. The longer version of why I’m up this early is actually your fault, but I’ll get to that.

I was ready for my 7am shopping trip, I’d heard Kroger’s hours would be limited to 7am-10pm during this trying time of Coronavirus, so I was ready for battle. I was prepared for a long line of people waiting to get in and continuing their doomsday prepping. I had my comfiest shoes on so I could get around easily and I reminded myself repeatedly not to touch my face while I was in there. Or after. Or ever. So, Imagine my surprise when I got there at 6:40am and there were only seven other cars. And people were already shopping! The kind employees of Kroger opened a little early, perhaps they too were expecting mayhem!  

As I gathered my cart and reusable bags (Which I later left in the garage, upon realizing they could carry germs BACK into my house), I made a point to thank an employee for being there. “You’re welcome!” she called back to me. Then she returned to her conversation, “If I ever find out who posted on facebook that we were closing at 4:00 yesterday, I’ll kill them! Worst day ever.” I immediately realized that this lady needed more than gratitude… she needed a hug. Not from me, though. Because…. You know, germs. But from someone.

This is where we get to the part that is your fault. All the pictures of empty bread isles, all the doomsday preppers saying that beans and rice are the first things to go… none of that was true in my 7am shopping experience. There was plenty of bread in the Sabraton Kroger. Fine, most of the bags were of hamburger buns. But do you want your grilled cheese or not?? Meat: Plenty of it. Fresh as well as frozen, but the butcher section is closed until further notice which was relayed on a printed note taped to the glass case. It may or may not surprise you that frozen potatoes were one of the first items to fly off the shelves! Toilet paper? Don’t even get me started.

I saw all the posts on facebook last night about the greedy jerks of the world taking the last of the canned soup when they’re a single family household, not leaving enough for everyone else. I’m sure that’s true sometimes, but they were re-stocking the shelves full of soup as I walked down the isles. Is the Kroger in Sabraton West Virginia immune to jerky attitudes and panic buying spam despite never liking the stuff? Are we more giving, kind and special than everyone else? Or has the panic just set in for some and they want the rest of us to join them? I think the latter is most likely, and it worked.

Yes, I’ve been completely freaked out the last few days. I cleaned my air filter for goodness sake. I watched TWO movies about outbreaks this weekend thinking it would be like cognitive therapy. Do the thing you’re scared of the most and you won’t be scared anymore, kind of thing. It didn’t work. Everyone from my Boss to my dad and even the CEO of Big Lots who inexplicably emailed me twice have all warned me about being prepared but not panicking. And yet I did anyway, which is how I landed myself at Kroger at 7am realizing that even in supposedly “Desperate times” people still won’t pay a little extra for organic produce.  

So I’ll repeat what has been told to me. Be prepared but don’t panic. Wash your hands, use common sense. And don’t wear sweatpants to Kroger, you look like a bum.

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