Told to stay home, forced to go out

"Stay home."

OK.  Got it.  Thanks for caring.  I'm in a high-risk group, and I'm home.

Watching press conferences, I hear lots of praise for CEOs of big box stores.  Apparently, they're doing an amazing job.

OK.  Got it.  But not seeing it.  What's happening in real life is this:

Stuck at home, you try to order necessary goods online.  You search for everyday products you need and soon discover they're not available for delivery, and many aren't even available to order ahead and pick up in the store.  That means you have to trek to the store to see if they have it on the shelf (don't bother; they probably don't).  And if one store doesn't have it, you have to go to another store, and another.

Photo credit: Daniel Case.

So much for staying at home.

You might think it makes sense to call stores first to see if they have what you need.  Sure.  In a normal world.  But nothing's normal anymore.  Should you be curious to give it a try, here's how that goes.

The phone rings for a long time.  When someone finally answers, you're put on terminal hold, and at some point, you may get disconnected.  When you finally reach someone to ask about the inventory of whatever you need, you'll be informed that they're out of stock, at which point the exchange goes something like this:

When do you expect your next delivery?

We get deliveries every other Tuesday.

Oh, OK. Around what time?

It varies.

So how will I know a good time to come into the store to purchase what I need?

You'll have to keep calling. But be aware that we sell out of certain products within 10 minutes of putting them on the shelf.

In other words, you have to mark your calendar for that special day, call the store repeatedly to find out if the truck has arrived, ask when they think they'll unload it and get the shelves stocked, then drive there along with a zillion other folks who will pounce on these goods like wild animals as a long crowded line grows to check out.

At that point, staying at home and social distancing are an epic fail.

Congratulations, Bernie!  We finally have those fabulous bread toilet paper lines that you so love!

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