Coffee heat rising

Panic à Costco?

Went over to the Costco on the I-17 this morning to stock up on some products the store here in the po’ folks’ part of town doesn’t carry. Amazingly, for example, you can’t buy a chunk of blue cheese here in the low-rent district. But the store up north has a very nice Bel Gioso blue that’s wonderful. They also have a propane dispenser, the only Costco in town that does.

It’s always wise to plan one’s trips to that place propitiously. So a bit before noon on Friday morning I figured the store wouldn’t be too crowded. Hit the Albertson’s first, then hit the freeway, where a couple of those lighted message signs informed us that a construction worker had been killed. So got off the freeway to avoid a traffic jam and got to the store the back way.

Not too crowded? Hah! The Coronavirus Panic run on grocery and hardware stores has begun.

The place was jammed.

But it was weird. Normally Costco customers are exuberantly oblivious of their fellow grocery-cart pushers. And a lot of noise goes on and people are happily rolling toward whatever doodad they think they can’t live without. Not so today. Not that people weren’t talking and kids weren’t carrying on…it was that they were strangely quiet. And bizarrely polite — people would motion you ahead instead of cutting you off to get there first.

I got one of the last packages of toilet paper. People were buying a lot more TP than paper towels, but the paper towels were also going fast. And I nabbed the second-to-last package of boned chicken thighs. Drumsticks were gone. One of the butchers told us they were out of chicken and wouldn’t get more in until the first of the week.

It really was just…kind of a weird experience

Anyway, if you haven’t already done so, now may be the time to make a provisions run. If Costco is any measure, it looked like paper goods (especially TP!) and easily cooked or grilled meats were going fast. In these parts you can’t buy hand wipes, but countertop wipes by Lysol will work as well or (probably) better.

Don’t forget to keep the gas tank topped up, too.

6 thoughts on “Panic à Costco?”

  1. Maybe I’m just too distracted by personal problems, but I don’t understand the Covid-19 panic. I don’t think it will spread that far or kill that many Americans, but maybe I have too much trust in the authorities to deal with this outbreak? From what I’ve read, the common flu is more likely to kill you.
    Then again, I don’t have a medical background, so may be really ignorant about the potential for the virus. It just seems to me that we dealt with SARS and MERS, we’ll deal with this one, too.

    • We seem to flying in the same flight path. Yes, I can see that it COULD spread as massively as the flu or the common cold does. It appears to be transmitted about the same way, except that the bug remains on a surface one helluva lot longer than a cold or flu bug does.

      But…as you point out, the mortality rate appears to be significantly lower than the flu, unless you’re over about 60. And no, as an over-60, I surely do NOT want to get this thing. Still, even as a member of the most vulnerable population, I think the flap over the plague is way, way, WAY overdone.

      I had an uncle who died in the 1918 flu epidemic. But conditions were far different then. In the first place, guys in the military were packed together in barracks. The general public was far less sophisticated about how respiratory diseases spread and how to protect oneself to a degree. Medicine, barely out of the Middle Ages, was ill-equipped to handle a highly contagious novel infectious agent. But times have changed…so much so, I’d put money on it that we’re not about to see another 1918 epidemic.

      Wash your hands often and well. Carry a container of hand wipes or Lysol counter wipes around in your car, and wipe your hands every time you get in. When you go in a grocery store, carry one of the wipes with you and use it to wipe the grocery cart’s handle. As soon as you get back to the car and unload the groceries, wipe the doorknobs and car control levers and your hands, and then when you get home wash your produce (including melons) well in soapy water before eating. None of these things are hard to do or hard to understand, but together they’ll much reduce your chances of infection.

  2. I stopped in at the grocery store today and found a lot of empty shelves. Mostly paper products and canned goods. I’ve never seen the store so stocked with bottle water. They had gallon bottles all over and people were buying it like crazy. I wasn’t expecting that.

    • I’d ‘druther boil tap water than drink bottled water. Who knows who has handled the bottles or the equipment involved in bottling and transporting the water?

      Let’s not panic, friends. I’m finding some extremely interesting information, which I will write up as soon as I can get a grip on how accurate (and sane) it is. Some of it’s good, some of it’s bullshit.

      It’s looking like there’s no reason to freak out, especially if you’re under about 60.

  3. I’m inclined to freak out, not about the virus, but about people freaking out. People do weird things when they’re panicked.
    And darn it, we’re getting low on toilet paper and I’ve been thinking we need to pick some up. Hope there’s some left to pick up. We could also stand a resupply on certain staple groceries like rice, beans, oatmeal. Luckily, thanks to hurricane season, we tend to keep some non-perishables on hand.
    But…WHAT are people panicking about? Yes, it’s easily transmissible, and transmissible before symptoms show. But it’s also not very deadly. Take the same precautions you’d take against flu or any other bug and be prepared to ride it out. Washing hands thoroughly and often and staying home if you might be sick are best practice, anyway. But from what I understand the media are howling about how terrible and scary Corona virus is out of one side of their mouths while assuring us there’s no reason to panic, absolutely none, everything will be fine out of the other. I don’t know if they want to create panic, or just profit.
    Maybe I’m missing something, but I just can’t get too het up about it.

  4. Far as I can tell, the panic is being fomented by the constant drumbeat of hysterical news stories, fraught with language like (eeeek!) PANDEMIC and (gasp!) DEADLY and…on and on. Sells newspapers…or attracts clicks.

    Yes, in terms of the overall population, it’s not especially deadly. In terms of those over about 60, the picture shifts. If you’re a child, you may not experience any symptoms at all. If you’re a young adult, you may enjoy cold or flu-like symptoms. If you’re middle-aged, things start to get a little more alarming: bronchitis, ARDS. If you’re older: not good at-tall.

    Well…I’ll get off my duff and write today’s blog post (it being only 7:07 p.m.). The factoids as we know them are pretty interesting. Hold the phone…

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