( Photo by The Packer staff )

At the beginning of March, I would have never imagined the world would be in its current state, when suddenly, my social media, news outlets and work e-mail were taken over by COVID-19 updates.

I thought, this is absurd — and the last thing I need to worry about, being four months pregnant. Oh my! How wrong was I?

Since then the entire world has been turned on its head. Aside from working from home, the one thing in my life that has changed the most drastically is grocery shopping. 

I remember when my local grocer announced its steps to help during this pandemic. I had a tough transition with the whole process. 

I began by shopping during the designated special needs hours, from 7-8 a.m. Surprisingly, the lines were long and the “one way” aisles annoying. 

Take three steps, wait for the line to move, repeat, all while maintaining at least six feet of distance. 

By the time I got to the register, I was exhausted. I waited while the customers placed their groceries on the conveyer and checked out, and then the cashier had to sanitize the belt before the next person could place their groceries on it. 

But I was about to pass out from lightheadedness and had to go sit down, losing my place in line. I was done. I decided my next trips would be through their online grocery platform.

Easier said than done, right? While I was attempting to transition to the new shopping process, my local grocer was attempting to keep up with demand. Spikes in online grocery sales had them struggling, to say the least. 

In the following month I received wrong or entirely missed items, half of an order missing with no notes and no explanation, and long lines to pick up. I will say, I was always greeted with a smile and caring personalities, even if I had to sit in my car for 30 minutes while someone shopped my order. 

Sometimes the store would be entirely out of a produce item that I had an entire menu planned around, so to satisfy my pregnancy cravings I decided to take a trip to another grocery store. I pulled up to store No. 2 and there was a line out the door a mile long (not exaggerating). I guessed I would have to change the menu, then. 

Looks like I had it easy at my local grocery store. 

Drastic shifts in supply and demand can wreak havoc on an economy. Overall, I feel my local grocer handled the transition process very smoothly. It has been a few months since this crisis began and it seems the online grocery process has leveled out. 

I really appreciate all that the grocery clerks, shoppers, managers, etc., are doing for our communities. I am so very thankful to have an online grocery shopping option and will continue using it for years to come. 

Brooke Park is digital strategist for The Packer and PMG. E-mail her at [email protected].

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