After the first full week of quarantine, some observations.
- The public has gone completely crazy.
By last weekend people had purchased all available stocks of toilet paper, paper towels, kleenex, and ibuprofen. Store shelves were completely bare across the nation.There was no real shortage. Panic buying and speculation rules the day. Stores have mercifully instituted per-person maximum purchases to ensure availability for the unlucky or slow-to-act, so paper products are starting to trickle back onto the shelves.
Today the shortages are pasta, rice, french fries, and pepperoni. We couldn’t find any presliced pepperoni in Market Basket.
The veggie aisle continues to be well-stocked, except bananas. (but that’s not completely out of the ordinary.)
- Unemployment claims are rising precipitously. Experts are warning that we could reach 20% unemployment this year.
- Street traffic has ticked up a bit. Presumably people are starting to venture out, but not soon enough to save local small businesses.
- Restaurants are still closing, but takeout pizza joints are booming.
We decided to relax and order pizza from Tremezzo’s Pizza last night. Megh called in an order at 4:40 pm. It took nearly an hour for pickup.
- Starbucks, as one of the last remaining food service businesses open, is at least as busy as before. It’s limited to drive-thru and pre-order service (nobody allowed inside) and the line of cars just about reaches the main road.
- The kids actually wanted to go out for a drive.
Last night we went across the street with our pizza and salad for a very fun dinner with Debbie and Tom, followed by a round of cribbage.
When we got back home around 8 pm the kids asked us to go out for a drive.
They haven’t been in a car for over a week. They’ve been outside, but there’s nowhere to go so none of us have been further than the grocery store. Their friends can’t come out. It’s weird to go so long without going anywhere, I think it’s comforting to do something familiar like sit in the car.
We swung by McDonald’s for a treat and just… drove around, the four of us. We went out to North Reading, swung through Reading, and came home. It’s weird, but I have to admit that it was relaxing to drive.
Bonus: there were hardly any cars on the road.
Looking ahead, it seems that we might have to collectively hunker down for months, perhaps a year, perhaps more.