You’re going the wrong way…”

There will come a time when I don’t document every trip to Sobeys for groceries like it’s a polar expedition. We’re not there yet.

Yesterday, 14 days since my last visit, I made my way up Prince Street midday; I could have taken my bicycle, but I’m not quite ready for that yet, so I took the car.

On arrival I found a line of about six people waiting to get in the store; the line moved quickly: it wasn’t more than 5 minutes until I was inside.

Perhaps because it was the first day of “Phase 1” of the province’s Everything Will Be Okay, Eventually, Really plan, there was a disquieting devil-may-care attitude in the air, with some of the social distancing rigour I’d seen in previous weeks now missing. I was very disciplined, waiting my turn and not passing anyone in the aisles; more than once I heard people piling up behind me whispering “I think he’s waiting for the person in front of him.”

That said, I witnessed many more people wearing masks—about 15% of shoppers, I’d guess—than my previous visit.

Witnessing several incidents of clear distancing protocol breaches, against type I finally broke down and told the oblivious person coming the wrong way down the pizza & juice aisle “you’re going the wrong way.” They’d had no idea, and quickly wheeled themselves around with an apology.

The home-baking trend is obviously still on, as the store was empty of all but Speerville whole wheat flour; everything else was in stock, though.

The rest of the shop was uneventful. I should have taken a list, as the background panic vibe, combined with a feeling that doubling back was ill-advised, caused me to forget a few things. We’ll do without.


Susan White's picture
Susan White on May 3, 2020 - 11:17 Permalink

"Background panic vibe" is a perfect description. I used to love shopping for groceries; now I dread my twice monthly trip.

Kathryn's picture
Kathryn on May 3, 2020 - 17:57 Permalink

So far, I have not any lines to wait in, other than a very short one on Easter weekend Saturday at 8:15 at Shoppers (when grocery stores had Long Long lines). I usually shop (as in the past) in the mornings, and I have moved a little earlier, to the 9 to 10 am time frame and have had no lines. Since Easter (and the early stay-home period) I have not seen much difference in the number of shoppers in the 4 stores I go to (all with self-check) than I saw before (as in, not what I would call busy.) About the floor arrows - I think some are genuine not noticed and I have thought perhaps an eye level arrow might be helpful as well. And I have decided I must change my usual stay-to-the-side of the aisle with my cart to a go-down-the middle. The aisles in most stores are quite narrow anyway (a few are nice and wide, but still one-way, so that would not apply) so that might deter the ones who turn into the wrong way (and I do, also, from habits formed from prior visits) and also those who just do not care or think about it. Sometimes finding an aisle going in the right direction that will take you to the other end, where you actually want to go, can be a challenge, with the number of carts already in that aisle (chips, anyone?) or with staff filling shelves. But we manage. . . .

Donna Glass's picture
Donna Glass on May 8, 2020 - 10:13 Permalink

I've caught myself accidentally going down the wrong aisle. And then I start going backwards with my beeper on