How to navigate the store during the COVID-19 pandemic (Satire)

Your guide to staying healthy and social distancing while navigating the store.


Campbell Goter

A picture in a store parking lot.

*Most elements of this article are satirical, but the main message is not: stay safe, be vigilant, and use caution when leaving your home. 

Amidst the chaos surrounding the pandemic, COVID-19, stores have run dry, and people’s houses and cabinets have never been more filled. You’ve probably seen people like this, or maybe you’ve seen the oppositepeople with one thing in their cart.

Either way, you’re probably wondering how to deal with each of these various kinds of people.

Here’s the survival guide to going to the grocery store during the spread of COVID-19:

First up, we have Karens. When you’re at the store, avoid them as much as possible. Karens stock up on various things they don’t need, such as three packages of toilet paper with twenty-four rolls inside for a family of three. If you identify a Karen, typically seen with a blonde or brunette bob and Walmart sunglasses, immediately move to another aisle. Karens will not move out of your way; in fact, they will move directly in front of you and accuse you of being in their way. However, if you and Karen are in the toilet paper section and there’s a package left, snatch it as quickly unless you want it to be added to her supply.

On the other end of the spectrum are the loners. Opposites of Karens in every way, the loner will most likely apologize to you if you grab the last item before they do. The loner comes to the store, completely alone, only to grab one or two items. Hastily, they go through the aisles, grabbing precisely what they need before checking out and leaving. If you run into a loner, maintain the social distancing guidelines as best you can, and please stay out of their way so they can get home and let others shop peacefully.

Up next are the families. While families are not as harsh or unforgiving as the Karens, you would do well to avoid them as well. Most often, the family arrives at the store very rarely, maybe only once every week or two. Primarily for the safety of the families, exceed the social distancing guidelines as much as possible. The anatomy of the family consists of the parents, who go to the store for essentials and maybe a tub of ice cream. Next, you have the teen(s) who only want a bag of chips and some Twizzlers. And finally, there are the kids, randomly collecting whatever engages their attention long enough to ask the parents if they can have it. With the vast amount of people in the family, this increases the risk of spreading the virus. Please avoid contact with anyone and everyone, especially those in a family.

Following families as the leading groups to avoid, is the senior. Most often, the senior goes exclusively to the store during “senior hour,” which limits the age group of people allowed into the store to 65+ years old. However, if you see a senior out in public when it is not “senior hour,” please avoid them at all costs. Seniors have the highest fatality rate for the coronavirus and should be left alone at all times. If they live in your home or are a neighbor, encourage them to stay home for their safety, and offer to go to the store for them. And remember, getting out to the store might be a treat for themthe only time they get to leave the house, so give them the space and opportunity to do that.

And last but definitely not least, the essential workers. Perhaps the bravest and most remarkable group during this time. Essential workers are employees of stores, restaurants, public services, doctors/nurses, and many more. Now more than ever, be kind to any and every worker you come across while preserving a respectful distance. Ask them how they’re doing, remind them to stay healthy, and leave them with a wave or a “thank you” to make their day. It may seem as though the essential worker is just doing their job as usual, but keep in mind that they risk their health and safety every day just to provide you with the service and essentials you need to survive this trying time. They are the soldiers during this time that fight to keep life as normal as possible.

This time is stressful and overwhelming, but it doesn’t always have to be.

And, just as a reminder, if you somehow don’t already know:

1) Stay home unless absolutely necessary.
2) Don’t give in to that voice inside your head that tells you to stock up a bunch of random items you will never use.
3) Share toilet paper if you have enough (or even buy a pack for someone you know who doesn’t have enough).
4) That craving you have for McDonald’s fries can wait (if it can’t, buy a potato and experiment with your own recipe). Spend time with your family, and remember to keep in touch with friends.

And remember Mavs, stay healthy and stay inside.