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Basic Grocery Store Etiquette

(Originally posted April 5, 2020, but I think much of it is still relevant today.)

Some things to keep in mind right now, in no particular order:

  • Minimize your trips. Don’t go more than you need to. Really. (Check in with neighbors, family and friends when you need to go. You can save them a trip, and maybe they’ll save you a trip in the future.)

  • Try to space out parking. Don’t park right next to someone if you can avoid it.

  • Hand sanitize as you go through the store gathering items and when you leave.

  • Put a mask on before you go in and take off when you leave, unless you plan to make more stops. It’s a good idea to have a plastic bag to put your used mask in so you can clean it when you get home. Don’t touch your face when removing mask until you’ve sanitized your hands.

  • Wipe down your cart or basket if you're not sure if it's been cleaned.

  • Keep your distance. Don’t cluster around things.

  • Buy what you touch. Don’t put it back. Don’t open and close and check inside things.

  • Be patient with everyone, even those who aren’t patient with you. We’re all stressed in some fashion.

  • Smile, even if you’re in a mask. It shows in your eyes.

  • Don’t complain about what’s not there. We all know there’s going to be stuff missing at this point. Sigh, shake your head, shrug, whatever, and move on.

  • Don’t bring your kids if you can possibly avoid it. I have kids. I love my kids. I know how hard it is to do things without your kids sometimes. BUT. They touch everything. They forget to cover their mouths. They forget to keep their distance. They can’t stop themselves from not listening at least once.

  • Thank the workers who are there.

I write lists for a living (really) so please excuse the parallel imperative verb form. I’m not trying to sound bossy. These are just some things that have occurred to me from what I’ve seen and what other people have said/written about their experiences.

I’m open to correction or addition. Just let me know if you think I’m off the mark on something.

Here’s a great resource from the CDC for wearing and making homemade masks: Use of Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19

Finally, a couple of thoughts, building on what CDC and DeWine say:

  • Gloves and masks don’t preclude washing hands, keeping distance, and not touching your face. Observe those things first.

  • Gloves and masks need to be changed, cleaned, discarded (depending on the type of item) to be at all helpful. If you walk around wearing the same pair of gloves all day, you’re not really helping anything. Potentially, you’re spreading the virus. If you wear gloves to the gas station, happen to pick up the virus, and then get in the car, drive, go in the house, and pick up your kid without taking off the gloves, you’ve just spread the virus in your car, on your door, and to your child. At the least, keep sanitizer handy to use on your gloves, too. Change and wash your mask between outings.

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