Am I watching an evolution or devolution?

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I’m not going out much these days. Certainly, the pandemic is the primary thing that’s keeping me tethered to the home front; however, I’m a homebody anyway. The one time I do go out is on Fridays to Walmart to purchase groceries. That trip is presenting an interesting experience. Each week since March 20, I’ve seen changes to my weekly visit to Wally World.

March 20 was the end of the first week that things got serious. It was during this week that we saw a run on every store, from large box operations to pharmacies and small dollar-store types, for toilet tissue and paper towels. It would be nice if the demand for precious metals was to skyrocket in such a way. When I went to Walmart on March 20, the place was packed. There were just as many or more stockers replenishing inventory as customers. The shelves were bare of bread, paper products and a few other staples. I made comments to a few of the stockers, jokingly asking them if they had been able to keep up. All said they were trying. The value of these folks wasn’t loss on me.

I live equidistant from three Walmart stores.  Since living where we are, I have generally never gone to the same one each week. This variance depends of whether I have other errands to run, taking me closer to one rather than the other, or I might just feel like experiencing a variety in location. I certainly can’t experience a variety in what’s being sold, since they all have the same thing to offer. On March 27, I went to the same location as the week before. The inventory of merchandise, dry goods and food stuffs was more in supply than the week before, including toilet paper and paper towels. The brand of paper products I normally purchase weren’t on the shelves, off brand had to do. These wouldn’t allow me to do the wet-paper-towel test seen on TV. I really can’t think of any reason I need to balance a cup of coffee on a sheet of paper towels held between my hands. Oh, I should mention the employees were as friendly and helpful as usual, despite the pandemic.

I just got back from the same Walmart today, April 3, that I’ve gone to the two weeks before. I left home early this morning, hoping to beat any crowds that might show up later in the day. I drove up to what I would consider the main entrance, got out of the car and proceeded towards the door. Low and behold, the door was closed. Walmart was herding all customers into one entrance. The store had formed a cattle chute, of sorts, out of grocery carts, allowing customers to orderly enter the store through one line. They had also marked, with tape, places on the floor for customers to stand, several feet apart. That social distancing is being practiced all over the place. It doesn’t work though. I had a good conversation with the fellow six feet behind me. Someone told me that Walmart wasn’t allowing groups of people to enter, single individuals and couples only.

Out of all I experienced at Walmart today, of one thing I’m certain: Their associates need a big raise. I can honestly say they’re coping well in providing good customer service, whether things are evolving or devolving.

I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.

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