Security guards and supermarket employees are frontliners, too!
There is no doubt about that. They are frontliners along with doctors, nurses and policemen. And you know what? This also includes the bank staff, delivery people, farmers, market vendors, pharmacists, and the media. I might be missing some but I hope you see my point.
If not, I won’t force you but I can share what is on my mind.
On my first journal entry, “We were not prepared for this” published on 22nd of March 2020, I shared with you what I did and what I felt when Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte implemented a “community quarantine” throughout the metro. You can read that first if you are interested. But here’s the gist!
I mentioned there that my family and I went to the supermarket to buy rice and a few goods a few hours before the announcement. We also passed by the drugstore to purchase my abuelita and my ninong’s maintenance medication.
There are a huge number of people and cars outside. We were able to buy some items but didn’t really have the chance to properly shop due to lack of budget and of course, it was stressful to be there. But since we live near the wet market, buying meat and vegetables isn’t much of a problem, or so we thought.
As the days went by, more and more people are panicking and buying whatever they can. The Puregold near us is always running out of stock; not to mention, full of people. So we decided to cook what we have and only purchase if we need to.
It’s not a problem honestly but since people were panic-buying and still flock supermarkets, we’re having a difficult time buying the basics – bread, coffee, dried fish, eggs, and milk.
The Time Has Come
On the 14th day of lockdown, the need to properly shop for grocery items came. I mentioned in my previous post that both my nervous system and digestive system were upset. But I need to do this. So I reminded myself to calm down and list what I need so it will be easy as pie.
Also, I told myself, “What can go wrong? You do this all the time.”
Just to be sure, I planned my visit to the nearest supermarket SM Cherry. According to their socials, they open from 9 AM to 6 PM so I decided to be there at 8 AM.
Line Up, Line Up
When I arrived, the line was already long. Armed with a mask, Vick’s inhaler and a hand sanitiser, I lined up for 45 minutes. Good thing they are pretty strict with social distancing. So I was quite chill. Moreover, the supermarket opened right on schedule.
Before letting us in, the guards announced that senior citizens, PWD’s and pregnant women can go first. But since no one came forward the line started moving. At the entrance, my hands were sprayed with alcohol and then my temperature was checked. Once inside, I saw an area where a number of chairs were arranged properly. I wasn’t able to sit yet but I was standing near the actual supermarket entrance.
And this is where I saw a lot of things.
There were a few people managing the line and one lady guard (lady guard #1) guiding those who have entered the sitting area. While we were waiting, I’ve been seeing senior citizens showing their I.D so they may be allowed to enter right away.
The Young & The Old
I 100% understand that. Some seniors live by themselves or with their other half so they don’t have a choice but to go out. However, there are those who have people taking care of them like in my case.
My family and I move as a unit. But in a case like this, I would gladly be their Katniss Everdeen. Sure, there won’t be a senior discount and that is okay. Senior citizens and people with certain conditions face a higher risk. I honestly don’t want to risk that just to be the first in line or for the discount.
Sadly, there are people willing.
I saw several seniors with a companion going in which is fine. But then after a few minutes, their son or someone who isn’t that old yet comes up and tells the guards that their mother is inside, a senior. The lady guard (#2) would tell them that if they can line up, please do not let older people go out anymore.
I saw this scene a few more times which is really sad. The government allows us to go out when necessary but please do not complicate things. If you are strong, line up and don’t bring seniors along with you.
Follow the Line
But it didn’t stop there. Remember lady guard #1? Okay, she’s the only one manning the line at the sitting area. Apparently, the other guards were not able to come to work. Since they were all already stationed, she was left there.
First, let me explain the setup. There are two entrances at SM Cherry Supermarket and each has one line. Both lines will somewhat meet at the main entrance of SM Cherry. I say somewhat because each line has its own entrance to the sitting area.
Regarding the sitting area, it has more than 10 rows but the chairs are properly distanced. If there are enough carts at the supermarket, Row 1 gets to go in. Once they are in, each row will move forward.
Lady guard already explained this and it was becoming more obvious. I honestly didn’t see any problem because it was arranged well. Sadly, there are people who don’t really think well. Or, think they are better than anyone else.
Social Distance, Please!
The point of arranging the chairs that way is to practice social distancing. This means that one chair or small bench is allotted for one person ONLY! But when two rows left the sitting area and the other rows were asked to move forward, one person was left alone in her previous row.
How did that happen?
Seeing that, people at the back didn’t move and the guard, as well as one cleaning staff, rushed towards her. The lady was as confused as the rest of us because she was seated with the whole row before standing up and moving forward.
It took a few minutes before someone finally admitted that they sat together at the small bench because they were companions. There was already tension in the air. But the lady guard #1 handled it well and just reminded people that only one person per chair or small bench. It was obvious honestly.
But there were people blaming the guard. There was a woman telling the people near us that lady guard #1 is treating us like kindergarten. The people near her were agreeing.
When lady guard #1 was guiding us, the same woman told her that she’s the one who is making people confused. Again, the people near her agreed.
It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt. – Mark Twain
I was pissed and wanted to side with lady guard #1 but I was too paranoid to talk, move, or touch anything. Good thing, lady guard #1 is a brave woman. She knows she did nothing wrong and answered the woman calmly that it was the people before us who didn’t follow. Thus, almost messing the line.
I’m not really sure why they didn’t see what happened. I was there plus that woman and the “Yes” people were right behind me. Can you tell me why people love commotion?
But after 10 minutes or so I was finally seated on the first row!
Time to Shop!
When my turn came, I was already mentally prepared to touch the cart and look for the things I need. Having a list always makes things easier but not that day!
Not all the items we need are there. So it took a while for me to search for alternative items. While doing that, I couldn’t help but notice the people I pass by.
While some are there to actually buy what they need, I can also see people who looked like they were going on a picnic. I know this sounds bad but I do know everyone has the right to buy what they want and need.
But are you really stocking up? Is that why you are getting a lot? And why are there three family members shopping? Are you shopping for a big family and your neighbours? Or, is this a strategy to get more?
I hope I am just overthinking or couldn’t think straight because the supermarket crowd is getting in my nerves.
Anyway, I just want to remind everyone that everyone has the right to shop, too. As much as possible, do not stay too long. People in line have to wait for you. So get what you need and might need but stick to what you can only purchase.
The reason why we are running out of stocks is the fact that people shop too much. The items get purchased way faster than it is refilled.
Security guards and supermarket employees are frontliners, too! Take what you really need but make sure to leave some because not all has the money to purchase a lot in one supermarket visit. And if you don’t need to go out, then please stay at home.
Stay healthy and safe. Do not forget to pray for the world to heal quickly.
Lastly, always be kind.