Inspired by V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #88: Domino Effect
The dominos are falling. Where is this all leading? What happens when the dust settles? Thoughts? Examples? Interpretations?
First it was hand sanitizer and wipes. Then toilet paper. Next…paper towels. Then Kleenex. One after another. Disappearing from store shelves. Worried moms…dads…kids…everyone actually…buying what they can…just in case. The unknown is a scary place.
The fear is palpable. The carts full. We are all in uncharted territory. I must believe this will pass…in time. We will someday look back and learn.
Yesterday was likely my last visit to the grocery store for the foreseeable future.
This is what happened:
Do you remember when the Berlin Wall fell?
I was leaning back against the shelves on one side of the paper products aisle. Finishing up taking a few pictures with my phone.
A man – probably in his 50s – had stopped his shopping cart in front of me to talk. His voice was tinged with a faint accent. He wore a camouflage patterned sweatshirt and jeans. Short clipped dark hair. Slightly balding. Medium height. Stocky.
I was trying to document the (almost) entire aisle of empty shelves. Which are usually crammed with assorted packages of toilet paper, facial tissues and paper towels.
Shelves now empty as panicked customers buy out the inventory day after day – sometimes within an hour of being even partially restocked. The virus is coming.
Shoppers quite frequently start random conversations with me in the grocery store. More often than not.
But this seemed more off the beaten track than usual – immediately capturing my attention as I answered…
Um…yes, I do.
Well this reminds me of it.
It was like this in East Germany.
You mean people buying up supplies when it happened?
No, this is how it always was in East Germany then. Empty shelves. I saw it. That’s communism.
Did you live in East Germany?
No, but I was there when the wall came down.
The two of us paused and looked over at the empty shelves. We were alone in the aisle.
Is it upsetting for you to see this? I asked.
No…but what’s with all the panic about buying toilet paper?
I think people are worried about being quarantined. A friend of a friend of mine bought 120 rolls. For just herself.
That’s BS. All you need is enough for 14 days. But…he glanced at the empty shelves again…what if you ran out…
Well, there’s always napkins. I pointed to the few remaining packages of dinner napkins.
He nods. True.
There’s also no chicken left, I added. Shifting to perhaps a more important priority when stocking up for survival while stuck at home. If, of course, you are fortunate enough to have a home. And enough money to buy food…never mind extra food.
He nodded…No hamburger either! Ridiculous.
Shaking his head, he announced…Well…ya know…I really like guns. And people don’t like that I keep so many extra boxes of ammo stocked in my house. But I don’t care what they think.
Ahh…well we all do what we gotta do I guess.
Yes we do.
He began pushing his cart away to finish shopping.
Have a good day!
Hand sanitizer. Toilet paper. Paper towels. Tissues. Guns. Ammunition. We all are trying to prepare for an unseen enemy in our own ways.
The Berlin Wall…East Germany…who knew.
Stay safe everyone.