Ten Things Then and Now

Back when the pandemic lockdowns started, I wrote a list of things I thought people, businesses and governments were not doing as well as they could. I never got around to writing a blog post about those things, mainly because I did not want to be complaining about minor things when people were dying. People are still dying, but so-called “respectable” news sources are writing about minor subjects, so…

For example, our local newspaper ran a story this weekend about a company that has analyzed alcohol sales during the past year and – are you ready for this newsflash – they are up almost 250%. Who would have guessed?

As the title suggests, I’m giving you my complaint from ten months ago and the current status, as far as I know. Feel free to correct me in the comments or add local variations in your area. I live in Connecticut, the land of the uptight.

Shortly after governments started over/under/appropriately (your choice) reacting to the virus, grocery stores in the area began offering “Senior Hours” so that us old folk could view the empty toilet paper shelves ahead of everyone else. Senior hours at one of the stores where I shop are 6:00 am – 7:30 am. At the other store, they are 7:00 am – 8:00 am. Alcohol sales begin, and the pharmacy opens at 9:00. This has not changed.

Back in January and February, I was busy upgrading two of my computers to Windows 10 from Windows 7 (which I dearly loved). When the lockdown began, I suggested in a tech forum that Microsoft should extend critical security support for Windows 7, especially since people were turning to online shopping – in many cases, people who were new to that realm. There are still over 100 million computers running Windows 7 – without support.

When we were much more concerned about catching the virus from surfaces, I was suggesting (OK, among my friends) that stores do something to move carts closer to sanitizing stations. All the grocery stores still require me to push the cart anywhere from 50 to 150 feet (15 to 46m) before being able to sanitize it. However, one store includes hand-sanitizer at that station and Target has carts and baskets inside the store that have been sanitized by an employee.

I was also an advocate of putting trash cans near the cart corrals so people who were wearing gloves could safely dispose of them. Of the four stores I shop at today, only one has a trashcan in the parking lot. All of them have gloves and masks on the ground. People are disgusting.

When restaurants were closed to indoor dining, the manager of my favorite restaurant was lobbying the state to allow alcohol delivery with food deliveries – Keep in mind that CT only allowed alcohol sales on Sunday and holidays in July 2015 – The state eventually allowed alcohol sales with takeout orders, but not delivery.

Although I spend much less money at Dunkin’ Donuts than I did when I was working, I had suggested (in feedback) that they add a tip feature to the app. The last time I used the app, that feature had not been added.

I have to admit, I do not do enough online shopping to speak with authority here. Back in March and April I saw (on social media) a lot of complaints from online shoppers who found items in their cart being out-of-stock by the time they checked out. I did not understand why stores could not hold your cart for 5-to-10 minutes like the places I shop (tool and hardware) do. I don’t hear these complaints much these days, but I don’t know why.

In April, I was among those supporting the call to fulfill the promise of letting everyone who wanted a corona virus test be able to get one. By the time we had a drive-in test center in our town, they closed it after three days due to low demand.

When I took over the shopping duty, I was grumbling to myself that stores needed to do a much better job of cleaning the self-checkout stations. I am happy to report that the stores I frequent that have self-checkout are cleaning them regularly and all four stores have added touchless credit card readers. Only one had those in April.

Since we were stuck at home with no baseball, basketball, or hockey to watch, I had hoped that TV Land would put M*A*S*H back on in the evenings. Last time I checked, “Two and a Half Men” was still on (I hate that show). It’s OK, I have Hulu.

However you shop, get food, approach testing and entertainment, I hope you continue to do it with your safety and the safety of others in mind. Linda G. Hill’s JusJoJan prompt is ‘specs’ – I got nothing, but I think that’s ok.


      • MASH plays on antenna tv, along with lots of other “oldies” my husband can’t seem to get enough of! Ugh! I prefer new shows, so I have to recorded them and watch on my own time. Our stores were really good in the beginning about sanitation of the carts, one store-Kroger-was doing it for you before you grabbed one. Now they’ve stopped. But the do have baby wipes to help you open the stupid produce bags since you aren’t supposed to lick your fingers any more! Lol!

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        • That’s a great point about the plastic bags. I always feel a little dumb trying to open the bag when I have to clean up on my walk with Maddie and the thing is sealed shut. I haven’t watched a new series for a long time. The reruns work for me, even on Hulu. Target is the only store that does a good job of cleaning the carts, but they all seem to take care of the counters. The card readers? Forget it. Some cover them with plastic film, but I don’t think they’ve replaced it since March. The keypad is clean, but you can’t touch it – I prefer the readers where I can tap my card.


  1. All interesting points. When this started, I did the senior hours but would find myself standing in line outside so I go early but not that early. I only shop at one local medium sized store for meat, coffee, and fresh produce and use the Walmart app for the regular stuff. I’ve never been a huge proponent of Walmart but can say with all confidence that their app and curbside pickup works and it works well. If I choose their store brand, I don’t have any issues, but I have encountered sold out on some brand items. Still, no complaints. Target does do the best job I’ve seen of cleaning carts and check out stations. There is only one store here where people still line up outside and stand in line for as long as it takes to get in, and that’s Trader Joe’s. I always marvel at the line stretched down the mall sidewalk as they all work their phones waiting to get inside. TV choices have been challenging. I’ve watched some series multiple times because there are some shows I just have no interest in like ‘Two and a half men’ or ‘Last man standing.’ Now, ‘Mash’ always brings a smile. We have a state liquor store fairly near us, and we never drive by without marveling at the very busy parking lot. I’m guessing AA will be doing land office business later this year. Maddie needs to keep her coats handy this week because it is cold up her in our part of the country. Stay well.

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    • I avoid the leading edge of senior hours, but I do shop early. I don’t often see many people at all in the stores, other than the people shopping for the delivery orders. The only place I try to hit senior hours is Costco, and I don’t try for the beginning, I give them about 20-25 minutes to clear out the crush. I don’t shop at WalMart, but I drive by one of their super stores on the way to one grocery store. The parking lot always seems packed to the gills. I have certain things that I get at each of two (sometimes three) groceries around here, and some things I get at Target. Most weeks, it’s a short trip to Target and Big-Y and a longer trip to our smaller, local grocery. I’m rarely in line behind more than one other shopper.

      All the stores seem to be paying more attention to cleanliness, but Target is doing the best job, by far. I prefer our local package store. The grocery stores have beer for less, but then I might miss seeing the wine he has on sale. I also like supporting the small business. CT alcohol prices are such that, it’s hard to save money, unless I drive to MA. It’s not worth it for an occasional 12-pack or bottle of wine.

      I’m walking Maddie much later these days. I’m not interested in walking in the teens. We worry about her feet.

      Stay warm – stay safe.

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  2. You broach valid points. But I am in a situation where I can have everything delivered. Grocery, pharmacy, fast food. But the world as we knew it has changed significantly and I don’t think it’s ever going to go back to the way it was. We have become super vigilant about germs, paranoid even. And I think that’s going to continue because this virus is going to be around for a very long time. We might all be vaccinated, eventually, but I don’t think this thing is gonna die off quickly. I hope we will remember the good we have learned and throw away the hate. Of course when does that ever happen?

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    • The one thing that always bothered me when I was working, was the self-declared important person who “had to get a few things done” even though they were obviously sick. So, make a show, infect the office and then go home. I hope those days are gone.

      I’ve been fortunate to settle into a pattern where I can buy the things we buy locally without facing large crowds. The stores are pretty clean, and the process is simple. And, after 10 months, I know where they keep the cat litter ;-)

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  3. My Walmart Neighborhood Market still has someone sanitizing each cart and using a counter to be certain of capacity in the store. Winn Dixie doesn’t do either one these days and the brand new Publix has a kid who picks up a bottle and spritzes in the air once in a while. So – I carry my own sanitizer and change clothes when I get home.
    Your pictures are great, Dan, but I miss the snow.

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    • I miss the snow, too, GP. It’s just not right going so long looking at a brown landscape. We have that kid’s cousin at one grocery store. He’s standing between two sets of doors, but he doesn’t do or say anything unless you ask. I’ve seen rude people just push their cart to him. I had him “clean” the cart once, but he left it wet and the stuff burns a little after a while, so I do it myself.

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  4. I am reading this as I prepare to head out to Costco for senior hour which starts at 9:00 am. We live a 20 minute drive from all our grocery stores, so the early senior hours would mean an even earlier departure. We are also a border town and the border state does not have a mask mandate. Pretty unbelievable in these times.

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    • Costco is the only place where I try to hit the senior hours, but I shoot for the middle of the range 9:20 – 9:30 lets me avoid the crush and usually lets me avoid the super long checkout lines. Everywhere else, I just aim to be early in the morning. We’re about 10 miles from MA, but CT and MA are full-on mask required states, so that hasn’t been much of an issue.

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  5. All of our grocery stores have had from Day 1, an attendant, who sprays every cart down before they give it to you. And they have more attendants scurrying outside to bring in the used carts too, so you aren’t tempted to take one of those. In the malls the shops are opening up before the usual 10am for seniors only. Now, about the liquor stop (ABC here) there is a LONG LINE, to get in, every time I pass it……..At Christmas we went to another state to buy liquor, so we could just walk in and get it. No matter when you are at the grocery or shopping online, all bathroom and cleaning supplies are hard to come by or back ordered!

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    • Getting a clean cart inside the store is the best option. That’s only available at Target around here. When we were super worried about contact transmission, I carried my own wipes. Alcohol was classified as “essential” here, so the only supply problems were due to mfg and distribution. That all settled down by mid-summer. I shop at a small local store, and it’s usually me and the owner yacking for a bit. Maybe one other customer. The senior hours have been a mixed bag. I learned not to go at the early end of them. I have found times at all the stores around us when the crowds are very small. Cleaning supplies still tend to get wiped out, but paper goods have been stable for a long time.


  6. As has already been said, all valid points Dan. Our Walmart has a Counter who toes the line on capacity and there are two employees who spray and wipe down carts as they come back in. The cashiers have been very diligent about sanitizing their stations, and I’m very glad to see that. However the Ladies Room leaves much to be desired! Go figure.

    I’ve never seen anyone cleaning carts in ShopRite. I’m never without WetOnes Wipes. You wouldn’t believe how many times some idiot put SR’s sanitizing wipes OUTSIDE so they could freeze solid! 😡 But they do provide a huge trash bin in each cart station in the parking lot.

    Sorry Sammy, the camera doesn’t add that many inches!! No way! 🤗

    Hope you all stay safe and warm.

    Think positive. Test negative.

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    • Thanks Ginger. The glare might be hiding the fact that Sammy is Samantha. I’ve learned not to comment about their size. It may be early, but she might be with squirrel. Otherwise, well, she’s not going to starve.

      The cashiers at all the stores do seem diligent about cleaning their stations. No one ever seems to clean the card readers, so I like the ‘Tap’ option. The attendants in the self-check areas are regularly cleaning those terminals and surfaces.

      The Men’s room at Target has always been clean (I try to wait until I get home). Home Depot added a bracket at the bottom of the Men’s room door so you can open it with your foot. They have air-dryers, so no paper towels. It’s a nice option, unless someone opens the door while your foot is tangled in the bracket. I’ve only used it twice, and that happened once. I’m not sure there’s anyway to recover from falling in a public restroom ;-)

      Stay safe (and try to stay warm).


  7. It really isn’t fair, you have beautiful ‘I’m ready for my close Mr. DeMille’ squirrels and I have the red rodent from Hell. As for reruns, you can’t beat MASH. Even after all these years, it stands up.

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  8. He-Man does the Senior Hour Costco run for us, and I do the weekly grocery store run. I would love to see the stores continue to sanitize the carts, and baskets after shoppers use them forever! I swear that’s where I manage to pick up most of the colds and viruses I’ve had came from.
    14 degrees was cold! I’d wait until it warmed up too. The view from Maddies eye-level is cool. I like the park view from her perspective a lot. Stay warm!

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  9. Hi Dan, these are All valid points and ones that have challenged us as well. I have expressed how things work down here in Panama. I have few complaints about the MINSA mandates, even the lockdowns over three holiday weekends. There were still increased numbers after those holidays which proves to me that the most common infection situations are family and friend gatherings without use of safety measures.In this town there are obviously fewer people but there still is a line most days outside one or both major grocery stores. They only allow so many people inside. I have not waited longer than 20 minutes and all will allow in the elderly or infirm to the head of the line. There are marks on the floors, chairs are taped up that put people too close and restaurants have complied without distancing for seating. You can visibly see them disinfecting tables and chairs between customers. Every restaurant has a special trash bin for masks and a few even offer small paper sacks to put your mask in while eating. Every business has a mounted digital temp checker and touchless hand sanitizer dispenser or an actual person spraying hands. There is also an alcohol soaked mat you have to step in and another to wipe your feet before you go inside. No one does not wear a mask. NO ONE. Even workers on the road or people walking. There is a problem with discarded roadside trash which is annoying but hubs says he wants to go pick it up and I saw a man out there doing just that when I hiked the other day.
    I feel your pain with rerun choices. Thankfully we both love Friends and binged that, discovering episodes we never had seen before. With Roku I can get some favorites. Oh! Most stores don’t provide sacks here so you bring your own. I could easily be identified as the lady with the Rouse’s and Trader Joe’s bags. Lol. The major stores sell bags for about $2.50 that you can re use and they are quite large. Last Man Standing. Last time I really admired Tim was Home Improvement.
    As for delivery, we were so pleased back home with Walmart curbside pickup, I hoped it would remain so I never had to go inside one again! And we always tipped those hard working employees who delivered. God love em for doing what they have to to make a living at the wages Wally World pays.😔
    Okay, gotta go make breakfast and feed some birdies.They actually gather in the trees by the porch if I don’t put something out. Hmmmm…..

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    • I know what it’s like having the critters waiting for you. Chop chop, Cheryl, you have mouths to feed.

      The only place that has checked our temp and sprayed our hands is the eye doctor. Appointment only, even to pick up glasses, and everyone was treated equally. No mask, no entry. Temp, spray, sit. There’s only one store around here, a small hardware store, where they don’t require (even though it’s the state law) masks and most customers don’t wear one. I avoid the store. I like the owner and the crew, but it’s small and the aisles are narrow. Not worth the risk.

      Most other places around here seem to be doing a good job, and most customers are cooperating. The idiots who toss their used masks on the ground are the same ones who have been tossing tissues and coffee cups forever. You just can’t fix some kinds of stupid.

      I hope your week is starting well. Stay safe.


  10. I can understand the rising alcohol purchase rate during a pandemic. I haven’t had much of it myself (I was never one to drink a lot at home), but I imagine need to drown their sorrows somehow. I just hope it doesn’t create an increase in alcoholism.

    Natasha and I have been mostly shopping online and doing curbside pickup whenever possible. Both can be tricky because of either not having something in stock, getting three separate deliveries when you order four items, or waiting forever for the Fed-Ex guy to show up with something that is being shipped from across the country. Curbside grocery shopping has become an issue with the mega store that we used to go to. Neither of us will step foot inside because of how huge the place is and the number of people that run around in there at any given time (even 7 am is busy). We switched to curbside, but then we had to have a $50 minimum and they tacked on a $5.00 service charge. Recently, we found out that they also are raising prices on some of the objects, like TP, when doing curbside. A ripoff, don’t you think? So, we are sticking with the local Free Market that has no minimum total, doesn’t add a service fee, and calls to let us know if they are out of something. It’s awesome except you pay more for a majority of groceries because they are a local small business. So, I try to buy when something is on special.

    Anyhow, enough of my business, Dan. I hope you have an awesome Monday and give your furry kids a pet from me.

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    • The small market where I do most of our shopping is a little more expensive, but fewer people shopping in the early morning when I tend to go. They don’t have a good selection of some things, so I hit one of two larger stores. I’ve learned what the best times are at those places, and I will skip them if there’s too big a crowd. I actually switched to a back-up bar on Saturday due to a big crowd. I’m looking forward to when they reopen the patio, as most people prefer that and I have the inside bar to myself ;-)

      Despite the way it sounds here on Saturdays, I don’t drink much at home. That could get to be a bad habit very fast.

      Take care, Mary. We’re waiting today before Maddie and I walk. It’s up to 25 degrees, from in the teens, but I’d prefer a little more warmth.

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      • I fear that the first time I go out for a beer with my neighbor, I’ll be needing a ride home or a nap when I get there. :-p

        Ohmigosh, Dan, 25 degrees and not willing to walk? You need to buck up a little. I hope to walk later this morning, when the temps will be in the upper teens with a slight wind chill in the single digits. That’s the best we’ve been able to do since the sun came out last week other than when it snowed Saturday night. We’re in the deep freeze of January again. :-)

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  11. I’ve yet to experience a touchless credit card reader. Hadn’t thought of that until now. This last almost year has been one for the ages, I’ll say that. Also, don’t like Two and a Half Man. Glad you have Hulu.

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  12. Dan the photos here are a lot better than a stupid TV show. :) The geese just reminded me of how they would cover the grounds of the George Washington Masonic National Memorial. It was interesting to watch them when traffic made the shuttle bus stop beside it. (No, that is not enough to make me miss my previous town! LOL)
    Have a marvelous Monday. Hugs on the wing!

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      • I know they to to the “bosque” or areas near the river near Albuquerque, but I haven’t seen any down here in the southern part of the state. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any — since I don’t get out to see a lot. There are a lot of grackles, thrushes, mourning doves, and a ton of pigeons. Maybe the geese don’t like the pigeons. I never knew how nasty pigeons were… weed pooping, oily… but they still can be funny and cute. :)

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  13. I don’t get out much, mostly because there’s nowhere to go that interests me in this small town I live in. Therefore, I’m not sure about what has changed since last February. Nevertheless, I have one complaint that has not been dealt with in all this time and probably never will be.

    One of your complaints was about the sanitation of surfaces. Doesn’t anyone remember that germs in small doses will strengthen the body’s immune system? Sure, social distancing is a good thing for a virus that is deadly but we’re being told to way-over do it. How can we strengthen our immune system if everything is so sanitized?

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    • My wife will love reading your complaint, Glynis. She makes the same argument. She’s worried that, by the time people are let back out, they aren’t going to have much of an immune system. We do what is required (masks, distancing) but we don’t overdo it with the sanitizers We wash our hands, but we do go out and we don’t worry too much about the things we touch. I don’t wear a mask when walking our dog, but I see people who do. I figure we are outside and way more than six feet apart. I don’t mind the shopping carts being sanitized, especially given that before last March, I’m not sure when the last time was that they had even been washed. I was more concerned when the CDC thought there was a significant threat from the virus lingering on surfaces. They backed away from that, so I don’t worry about surfaces of packaging.

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  14. The consistency of the inconsistency continues to amaze me. The college my granddaughter attends required a test to come back to school this fall. Tests were done at the college. When she tried to get a test for the required Thanksgiving break so she would not bring the virus home all the local testing sites were booked. No openings in the schedule. So we should fight the spread of the virus coming to school. Going back home not so much. I have heard several stories about the speed of testing. Where results will be available in 2 days. And turning into 5 days. Which gets extremely inconvenient when trying not too infect a high risk person like a cancer patient. Of course that goes with the darn virus too. The complete or near lack of symptoms. People who never display a fever and might only experience extreme lethargy, or a 4 day migraine, or the loss of sense of taste or smell. And those doctors whose reaction is ‘you did not have a fever it cannot be covid.’
    The latest is switching vaccinating front line medical workers to the elderly. Medical workers having to schedule their vaccinations and not being able to find an opening. The governor orders the switch in priorities and the hospitals tell tell the un-vaccinated employees tough luck. So yes we are fighting the virus… sometimes. When we are not tripping over our own shoe laces.

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    • It’s hard to argue with the point you raise, John. There are so many things that don’t make sense. Plus, the places that require a negative test within the previous 72 hours are really fooling themselves. 72 hours is a long time, plenty of time to get infected. I know people who could not get a test when they had symptoms. I know people who had tests come back negative but who miraculously have antibodies. I could understand things being helter skelter back in March and April. It’s harder to excuse things 10 months later. I can’t imagine a scenario where healthcare workers wouldn’t be a top priority.

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  15. Food shopping is the only shopping I like (I love cooking/baking; my husband loves eating) so we go to the stores once a month for the BIG shop, and then weekly for any BOGO specials at Publix, or a farmers market run for produce. Florida is so dumb. People started complaining that tourists were getting the COVID vaccine, bumping locals who were desperately trying to score an appointment. Governor said, “Well, FL is a transient state, so it’s OK.” Last week that changed and you now have to prove residency in the state–no more tourists hopping the state line to get a shot. The City Council is petitioning to allow liquor sales earlier on Sunday. Go straight from wine at Mass to wine for brunch, I guess…… Waiting from 14 degrees to 25…..can you tell a difference?! Oh, Sammy–you are so cute even with the extra ounces.

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    • I have a friend who was telling me about someone here in CT who was flying to FL to get a shot. The risk involved in the flight alone would scare me away from doing that. “Inoculation Tourism” I’m surprised Disney isn’t running a special – Get a family pass and a jab for each adult. When I Was still working, I’d be getting ready for our Annual Meeting. Every year, it was in either Ft Lauderdale or Ft Myers starting with a party on Super Bowl Sunday. I don’t miss it, but not because of the virus ;-)

      Big difference between 14 and 25, especially my hands – gloves are a must below 25.

      Sammy might be Samantha, so I’ve been told not to comment on her size. Lest the one who feeds me gets upset.

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      • The entire vaccination thing is a mess. Governor said the heck with CDC guidelines–we’re lowering the age to 65. But the online hospital and Publix registrations fill up in about 2 minutes! Yeah, flying now? I have no interest. Good thing my retirement plans did not involve a whole lotta plane travel. Thankfully, I am a roadtrip kinda gal. Haha–Ok, Samantha. Poor girl…no more comments. But there is more of her to love. 😂

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  16. Great list, Dan. There’s one I would add to your list: “If you are sick, stay home.” I’ve concluded that some sick people want others to be sick as well. These same people don’t like wearing a mask. 😕

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    • That’s a great addition, Gwen. That was my biggest pet peeve when I was working. People would come in because “oh, I have to get some things done” and they would spread the flu through the office. Thanks for adding that.

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  17. Great suggestions, Dan. We are lucky here. The stores do a terrific job of keeping things clean. Of course, this is second-hand information since I have been banned from shopping pre-covid. I love the comment of Sammy. Some of his friends must have mentioned something. The photos were great. (as usual) Have a good one.

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  18. I also hated that show, could probably recite MASH by heart, still good relevant messages there. I was having a good morning till I read the hate in my state for Liz Cheney who is getting threats now. I love CT the uptight, hilarious! Keeping Windows 7 was my sisters’ love, now it’s a pita with no help.

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  19. In our lockdown, we had almost 7 weeks of only being able to send one household member to a supermarket and limited options for getting out of the house. We were fortunate to be able to work from home at the time but there were a lot of people loosing jobs as retail stores closed (many for good).

    Alcohol consumption has gone up here too and went up fast during lockdown. Legislation says supermarkets can’t sell anything over 12% proof, except in one county, in West Auckland. They sell liquor, wine and beer in one shop “inconveniently” separate from groceries as a deterrent to commodity buying – trying to drive down consumption there.

    We had the alcoholics breaking neighbourhood restrictions to travel an hour there just to get their hard liquor.

    Prior to lockdown we would have government health adverts/advisories on TV (very few) focused on anti smoking, drink driving, binge drinking and the odd one on mental heath. As the weeks progressed we had a notable uptick in mental health, domestic violence and women’s refuge messages. My guess in response to people being couped up and incidents occurring.

    Many a meme circulated about getting to know your household members, rediscovering your spouse and kids. Our neighbour (amicably) no longer lives with his family and I think it was a litmus test for many relationships.

    A lot of people are taking stock of their commute, work situation, relationships and hobbies.

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  20. Are you still working from home, Nick? Our daughter has been working from her home since March. I retired in November 2019, but the company I worked for has been fully remote since March. People are allowed to go into the office, but not many, and not without filling out a form.

    Our grocery stores can only sell beer. Wine and liquor are only available at “Package Stores” which range from small stores to very large supermarket style locations.

    We also had to limit our shopping to one family member, but that restriction has been reduced somewhat.

    The article I mentioned at the beginning was the first definitive statement I’ve seen about increased alcohol consumption, but I can’t say it came as a surprise.

    Take care.


    • With work we switched from Wednesday remote (prior to lockdown) to Wednesday in the office. There are no restrictions within the country right now, so we could go every day to work if we’d like. I prefer to ditch the commute and finish when my sons come home from school. An upside to the pandemic for us.

      However, up until Sunday we have gone several months with no cases outside of managed quarantine. We have strict border controls and those who are let in, are kept in a hotel room for 14 days, with no contact.
      Sunday we had a community case of the UK strain outside of quarantine, that tested positive having potentially caught it from a nearby room.

      We are waiting to see if there is a second case, which will change things. It’s outside our region though.

      We are as we say here, staying positive and testing negative.

      Wishing you and yours the same.

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  21. It has been some year for sure!! I still can’t believe the difference between here in Los Angeles and other locations. Just today it was announced that we could finally re-open outdoor dining by the end of the week. The numbers have been so high for so long. We have had the ability of free testing for most of last year. Reservations required, but we do have large drive thru facilities, like Dodger Stadium. That seems to be one of the processes here that has worked well. With our trips last fall to Seattle, we were able to get tested once we got back without much trouble. We did get our first vaccine last week at the Dodger Stadium facility. They just opened the vaccines up for 65 and older the prior week. Slick process for a drive thru….. Prior to this last surge we had here, we were doing the senior hour at Costco….8-9AM….worked well. But for now, pick up or delivery and fortunately alcohol can be delivered….driver just needs to verify age.

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  22. Those are some significant differences, Kirt. I’m glad you were able to get the vaccine. We’re not open for 65 and over yet, 75 and over is OK. Somehow, it wouldn’t seem like California if you couldn’t have alcohol delivered ;-)


  23. That shot of Smoky/Smokey made me laugh. He looks so on guard. For some month the grocery stores here all had someone sanitizing the carts. Now Walmart, Trader Joe’s and Costoc still do and two of the three grocery stores I use have sanitized carts set aside. The third has sanitizer spray bottles and paper towels available. No matter which store I go to, I use hand sanitizer when I get back in the van. Better to be safe.

    We stopped having cable when we moved. We have Netflix and CBS All Access. We’ve watched our way through a lot of “The Great British Baking Show”, reruns of “NCIS”, “Blacklist”, some of our DVD’s, and watch some sports at my parents’ or if it’s on CBS.

    Alcohol? We haven’t drunk more than usual…which sounds as if we’ve been indulging like mad for years, but not so. :-) As for senior hours, I’ve used the ones at Costco, but down here, there are so many seniors that it might be less crowded to go after. :-)


    Liked by 1 person

  24. You hit a home run on this one, Dan. Who knows when a 70-year-old who is a teacher might be eligible for the vaccine? What stores can do and what people can do is really simple and common sense. But you already said that, and you said it well. Love the photo gallery.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. All interesting points. Funny what one can notice when paying attention.
    Alas my region IS different, so many of these issues were and are different here. I’ve not seen the gloves on anyone or on the ground in months and months. Honestly, it seems most Hoosiers are vested in cleanliness and caution, so that’s nice. A few weeks ago we traveled to Cincinnati and stopped along the way, couldn’t say where, and when we entered the gas station, we were the only masked people and we were gawked at. It was odd.
    Online shopping, or app shopping for groceries is TERRIBLE here. I have not had a successful one since before the pandemic and gave up trying to in August.
    I have consumed LESS alcohol by far since the pandemic began. My Dreamsicle consumption, however… :P
    And we have been spendy. Way spendier than ever The Mister would have approved of prior to the plague. Maybe because he doesn’t have commute & meal expenses.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Being the only masked people had to be weird. We have one store around here where people don’t usually wear masks. I try to avoid I. I think I have consumed less alcohol because I don’t drink much at home, and I’m out less.


  26. This was an interesting read for me, Dan. At the beginning of lockdown, we had some, but not all, of these same issues. IN South Africa, we have had sanitising stations for shopping carts for a number of years now and they are all right next to the carts with a dustbin for the discarded wipes and any other sanitizing products. We have also had tap facilities for credit cards for a while now, long before March 2020. SA isn’t as far behind the rest of the world as I thought.

    Liked by 1 person

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