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Think back to the before times and what it felt like to realize there was only a teaspoon of milk left in the carton. Or you forgot to pick up your prescription. Or you ran out of coffee.
More often than not, rushing to the store took time you didn’t really have to spare. Waiting in line was the height of tedium. As you grabbed items from the shelf and tossed them into the cart and marched to a cashier, your mind was racing with the rest of your to-do list, and your free hand was texting “Sorry, I’m running late.”
It will not be controversial to suggest that errands have never been the height of fun (unless maybe the errand was walking your dog to the pet store, because he is and has always been a very good boy). But we have entered a new era.
OUR EDITORIAL: Looking at truths, exploded
People generally fit into two broad archetypes when it comes to pandemic shopping. With apologies to Sesame Street, let’s call them Bert and Ernie. To a Bert, errands are full of terror. To an Ernie, errands are full of delight. Neither are bored. Let us demonstrate with a few examples.
Getting ready to leave the house
Bert: Wipes phone with Lysol, stares at maps app. “This route has a few twists and turns but, yes, I think it will keep me as far away from other people as possible.” Wipes phone again.
Ernie: Stares at the closet for quite some time. “I’m going out into the world today. People will see me. My outfit needs to slay. My mask needs to match.”
On the way to the store
Bert: Listens to podcast about rising case counts. Checks pocket for hand sanitizer. Scowls at passers-by anywhere near a distance of two metres. Checks pocket again.
Ernie: Takes the scenic route. Smiles at strangers. Invents reasons to extend errand runtime. “Another trip to the liquor store wouldn’t hurt.”
Bert: Mission is a go. Notices and appreciates floor arrows. Beelines to pre-selected products. Touches no unnecessary surface. Admires own efficiency.
Ernie: Considers wandering through the entire shop, aisle by aisle, Ikea-style. Takes several minutes to ponder chip flavours. “I deserve this chocolate bar. Heck! I deserve two!”
Bert: Smiles politely. Averts gaze. Keeps an eye on line spacing.
Ernie: Makes small talk through Plexiglas. Discusses the weather. Experiences pang of emotion upon realizing how nice it is to discuss the weather.
Bert: Washes hands vigorously. Sips in a deep, maskless breath for the first time in half an hour. “Good thing I won’t have to do that again until next week.”
Ernie: Feels renewed. “When can I get back outside?”