Beholden to Those Who Feed Us

They are out of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, my shopper messages me from the Instacart App. Do you have a replacement in mind?

I hurry to answer. Anything is fine.

The exchange continues with more alternative suggestions and apologies. As we message each other, I safely sit on my oversized chair with a warm, pink quilt covering my legs. I sip my first morning coffee while Golden Girls plays in the background.

A week before, I sat on my sunny back porch with my steaming green tea and opened my Instacart app on my phone. I always go to bread and milk first, then choose my date for delivery. I ask the kids what we’re out of and it always consists of fun stuff like Coco Puffs and peanut butter cup ice cream.

I wonder about my shopper and if she is afraid. Does she have worries? Does she have a family, too? I also wonder if she is happy about the new income her family is earning, and what will happen when people start shopping on their own again.

Do we really need things like ranch dressing, sugar, and Friendly’s Strawberry Cake Krunch Ice Cream Bars? Maybe we should be eating whatever we can, not whatever we want. Is her life and health worth risking for our late-night snacking?

If you don’t like what I choose, my shopper messages me, please tell me.

I tell her not to upset herself, the entire time wondering about my morals. I figure if I get something we won’t use, I can give it away, and that each extra second she spends in the store is dangerous.

Why is she buying my groceries? They’re making money now when they normally may not, I get that, but what is the price of health?

Does the extra tip cover the risk? If my shopper gets sick, is it worth the Lucky Charms, whole-milk ricotta, or tater tots?

We close the curtains and remain quiet while she places our bags so neatly on the front porch. We try to keep the dogs hushed so they don’t scare her. When she leaves, we peak out the window and it’s like Santa just left.

“You got Smartfood!”

We wait an hour or two until the germs blow away or settle, then we dive in with our assembly line and a bucket of hot, soapy water. I scrub the items while my face begins to itch, and the boys dry and put them away.

“Don’t touch your face,” we each say several times to each other.

I miss shopping. Baylee would come with me most times, and he would bounce back and forth in the aisles and give me those puppy eyes when he wanted Sweet and Sour Skittles or the fancy water bottle. It was kind of our thing. He said “hi” to everyone and always thanked the helpers. One day soon, we will go again.

Until then, we are truly grateful for our shoppers. I hope you are, too.

1 thought on “Beholden to Those Who Feed Us”

  1. Dear Teri,
    We too, sometimes “utilize” Walmart grocery shoppers, so I can pick our grocery order up in the parking lot; but most times I visit The Big Y, and do our shopping myself…
    I always make sure to “thank” the person who brings out our grocery’s, and I find out their names, so we can give them a “great review” on our “interaction” in the parking lot…
    When shopping myself, I try my best to “follow” the COVID-19 “guidelines”, and wear my camo bandanna on my face, as face masks are now required in most places…
    I also try to “follow” those taped arrows in the grocery aisles, to the best of my ability…
    The other day there was a younger woman with her carriage in front of me, standing there, talking on her cell phone, blocking the aisle, without a care in the world…
    I debated with myself, “do I just go around her”??? But, if I did, I would “break” the social distance rule; so I just politely said, “excuse me”, so she would either move on, or move further apart from me…
    She just gave me “the look”, as if it was I who was doing something wrong… She sort of “huffed” at me, and continued forward down the aisle…
    I guess that it was my fault that I “infringed” on her right to have a cell phone conversation in the middle of the grocery aisle, and that I should have just stayed there patiently until her conversation was finished?!?
    I did not dare to go back up the aisle, because the arrows told me to do otherwise, and I might piss-off someone else coming my way!!!
    This whole Corona-virus “thing” can be confusing to this old guy!!! “Stay safe & healthy”!!!

    Uncle Lee


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