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Friday, March 13, 2020


As America copes with Corvid-19, aka the Coronavirus, the expected hysteria is setting in ad supermarkets nationwide are witnessing hordes of skittish homo sapiens freaking out and acting like idiots. Here in Brooklyn's tony Park Slope, the populace is not exempt from hoarding and mannerless selfishness ahead of a crisis, and today's virus-spurred annoyance found the locals in fine form.

Since I barely got any sleep last night, I figured I would hit the Associated supermarket around the corner before my body inevitably shut down for rest. I needed exactly three items that I had forgotten during yesterday's run, due to being overwhelmed by the crowding at the two big local markets, items that I could not make the soup that will sustain me for the next few days without, so I got to the market a half-hour after they opened, figuring it was too early for insane, panicked crowds.


The place was possibly the most packed I have ever seen it over the 23 years that I have lived here, even during previous hysteria ahead of hurricanes and nor-easters, and the market just was not ready for today's onslaught. The Associated market opens at 8am, usually with two cashiers and one manager (plus a handful of stockers and the deli person), and today was no exception, so the tumult was initially met with two open registers, which was soon upped to three when one of the managers opened and manned another. 

The view from about midway on the checkout line: facing the front...
...and the rear.
The queue for the cashiers stretched from the registers all the way to the rear of the store, and the photos I took to illustrate this were from my vantage point a little above the halfway mark on the checkout line. There was no express line, so those of us with a handful of items were stuck behind nervous hoarding shoppers with ludicrously overflowing shopping carts. There were of course the inevitable meltdowns as nerves frayed and tempers flared, with the most memorable being from a woman who needed just a bottle of laundry bleach but who was daunted by the prospect of having to wait on an interminable line. Upon trying each of the three lines and seeing each was as long as the next, she let out a shrill shriek, exclaimed "YOU'VE GOTTA BE FUCKING KIDDING ME!!!" and angrily lobbed the jug of bleach at a bare shelf, narrowly missing the heads of the couple that were standing there.
For my part during all of this, I just remained calm, secure in the knowledge that it would soon be over and that I only lived just aroud the corner. That said, the usually five-minute trip around the corner for three items ended up expending thirty-four minutes. Believe me, if the items were not vital for the next few days or if they could have been had at one of the two nearby well-stocked 24/7 convenience stores, I would have immediately gone elsewhere.

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