COVID grocery/shopping procedures

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Augustus
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COVID grocery/shopping procedures

Post by Augustus »

How are you guys approaching groceries/shopping right now? I love fresh produce like asparagus, squash, and radishes, but they seem like major vectors right now, since they're wet, soft, and everyone touches them. I'm wondering if I need to only buy packaged fresh or frozen produce/veggies until the infections die down, and wipe the packaging down with bleach and quarantine it for 30 minutes.

I was planning to use costco delivery, but that seems to be completely overwhelmed at this point, so I'll need to go in to replenish every week or two, unless I want to live on frozen and canned vegetables and bulk buy, but that doesn't sound very appetizing.

Thoughts?

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Bankai
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Re: COVID grocery/shopping procedures

Post by Bankai »

In the UK home deliveries are overwhelmed. We just had one on Tuesday and half of our order was missing. Also, they introduced limits of between 2-4 of each product per purchase. This makes home delivery a poor option. On the other hand, it's only touched presumably by two people - picker/packer and driver. So in theory safer than taking anything from the actual store.

We currently have around 3 months' worth of food at hand. The plan is still to get what we can via delivery and supplement with an occasional trip to the grocery store as to not eat into the stash. We went to the local Aldi today and it was a bit surreal - the first time I've seen empty shelves since the late '80s in communist Poland. No pasta, toilet paper, soap, hand gel, toothpaste (!), shower gel, and a limit of 4 max of each item.

slowtraveler
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Re: COVID grocery/shopping procedures

Post by slowtraveler »

I get there when they open so I woke up around 6 today to make it at 7. Don full gear there- workshop goggles, gloves, and a 3 layer mask.

Buy foods to cook or wash with soap then salt water rinse then fresh water rinse. Buy staples like bread, rice, potatoes, tortillas, and beets. Then some avocados, cheese, peppers. Frozen vegetables for stir fries, soups, or smoothies. I see people doing runs on staples like bread. Some staples are out.

George the original one
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Re: COVID grocery/shopping procedures

Post by George the original one »

Since we had a close encounter in the store with a sick person yesterday morning, we're quarantining now for two weeks, living off the supply "hoard", just in case we caught something.

When we venture back, we'll be wearing gloves at a minimum. Clothes go into the washer, too.

jacob
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Re: COVID grocery/shopping procedures

Post by jacob »

No fresh produce in this house beyond what will be growing in the garden a couple of months from now. Only packaged fresh when/if we go. Perfectly fine living on frozen, canned, and bulk pasta/beans/rice/lentils if it means reducing exposure. I'm just too lazy to deal with decontamination. Laziness drives my cooking more than anything else. Fortunately, we have over the years figured out how to make lazy taste good. What we've done is to substitute frozen vegetables for what is fresh produce in e.g. spaghetti sauce or chilies.

I imagine that many people (the US spends or spent 50%+ of its food money on restaurants!) are getting a crash course in cooking these days. Many don't know. This is also why stocks that specialize in preprocessed foods are doing well now.

What remains undecided for me is whether to run the reserves all the way down before going shopping a couple of months from now or whether it's better to keep inventory closer to fully stocked. It seems that countries so far have had no problem keeping supplies in the supermarkets except during the demand spike panic during "big announcements". Of course this could change but if so, the world has vastly bigger problems (an actual food crisis). I think the opposite will happen ... as people regain their senses and all those who shop day-to-day (<- very many people) keeping almost nothing at hand accumulate sufficient inventory, supply will meet demand.

Overall, I consider the risk of cumulative virus exposure from continual shopping higher than a total food system breakdown.

The initial plan was to eventually go to Walmart at 2am or some other ungodly time. However, WMT already adapted and closed stores overnight so the employees have time to restock, so now with so many people also staying at home, I'm not sure what "odd hours" constitute anymore.

George the original one
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Re: COVID grocery/shopping procedures

Post by George the original one »

Safeway produce guy says the store goods are ordered 5 weeks in advance.

Orowheat bread truck guy said his warehouse is empty because they've been meeting the increased demand and he doesn't know when new shipments are coming in.

Basically, I think USA store supplies will be back to normal in 2-3 weeks, possibly oversupplied, unless something intervenes.

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TheWanderingScholar
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Re: COVID grocery/shopping procedures

Post by TheWanderingScholar »

jacob wrote:
Wed Mar 18, 2020 4:01 pm

The initial plan was to eventually go to Walmart at 2am or some other ungodly time. However, WMT already adapted and closed stores overnight so the employees have time to restock, so now with so many people also staying at home, I'm not sure what "odd hours" constitute anymore.
For me, I went to our Walmart around 20:00/8:00 PM and it was pretty empty then so I would advise a time around, judging from my experience

Fish
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Re: COVID grocery/shopping procedures

Post by Fish »

We started isolation by eating down our stockpile which was a mistake in retrospect. We were at a crossroads after running out of fresh vegetables around day 10. I wanted to continue eating the stockpile while DW wanted to replenish. She won that argument, which turned out to be the right decision. But that was also around the time the late crowd started reacting to the news so shortages forced some substitutions.

We are now having groceries delivered to continually top off the stockpile in case there are future supply disruptions. We’ve tried several providers, Instacart and Shipt are both decent though there is a learning curve and stock is not accurate (lots of items are unavailable or substituted at this time). Deliveries are quarantined and clorox wipes are used on all packages entering the house. I do not like accepting material from the post-virus outside world, but if not food it would have been mail.

ETA: Groceries cost about 20% more than normal factoring in additional markup (online > in-store price) and tips. Non-members and small orders also pay a delivery charge. Worth it to reduce C-19 exposure and take ourselves out of circulation. But we would probably take our chances at the supermarket if we had a median income.

Augustus
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Re: COVID grocery/shopping procedures

Post by Augustus »

jacob wrote:
Wed Mar 18, 2020 4:01 pm
What remains undecided for me is whether to run the reserves all the way down before going shopping a couple of months from now or whether it's better to keep inventory closer to fully stocked.
Fish wrote:
Wed Mar 18, 2020 4:26 pm
We started isolation by eating down our stockpile which was a mistake in retrospect. We were at a crossroads after running out of fresh vegetables around day 10. I wanted to continue eating the stockpile while DW wanted to replenish. She won that argument, which turned out to be the right decision. But that was also around the time the late crowd started reacting to the news so shortages forced some substitutions.
This is my dilemma as well. I figure that there is a lower chance of contracting COVID-19 right now, better to top off until April/May when community spread and case doubling rate means 20-30%+ of the population is infected. Right now it's probably under 10%. I've got a month or more of supplies right now, but I'd like to avoid going out very much from April to say...July/August.

Sounds like I'll be switching to canned/frozen veggies then. I do have to say, pasta + frozen broccoli + cheese is delicious.

jacob
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Re: COVID grocery/shopping procedures

Post by jacob »

@Augustus - On the flip side ... what's worse? 1-10% infected with many still behaving like idiots or 20-40% infected having learned their lessons with actual functional procedures in place. I'm thinking the latter.

Another concern is that given how the supply/demand equilibrium hasn't been established yet, it would be a dbag move to walk off with our usual 32 cans of diced tomatoes and 30 pounds of beans if that clears out the remainder of the store's supply.

Augustus
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Re: COVID grocery/shopping procedures

Post by Augustus »

jacob wrote:
Wed Mar 18, 2020 5:15 pm
You have more faith in humanity than me, my reasoning was 1-10% with many still behaving like idiots vs 30%+ with many still behaving like idiots.

7Wannabe5
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Re: COVID grocery/shopping procedures

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

We’re stocked but topping off with some shipments. It’s pretty easy to get risk of exposure down to equivalent of maybe driving after 1.5 drinks if you only have to interact with stuff other people touched rather than other people. My figuring is something like 1/10 FedEx guy has Covid/1/100transferred to BF or gloves on way to isolation porch to sit for several days, 1/10 any remnants remain after he scrubs up, etc.

OTOH, in person encounters are going to be more like 1/10 infected x possibly 1/4 transmission = 1/40. IOW, even if I am quite a bit off here, delivery must be approximately 100 times safer than shopping, and likely within the range of everyday, “acceptable “ risk.

CS
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Re: COVID grocery/shopping procedures

Post by CS »

Another one for delivery. I'm not going into a store. No way.

There is a local grocery store that will pick and deliver. Amazon sells a surprising amount of things by the case. Got a box of 72 bags of the noodles I can eat (not many I can) for $103. That is ~100 meals (the noodle part). Cases of canned vegetables, etc. Lentils. :D Supply is a little low right now but that should even out I'd think.

Lots of decontamination by getting rid of boxes right away, and either setting the contents aside on the porch (for now) or wiping down/spraying or washing with soap. Might have to modify procedures as the porch turns into more living space as the weather warms up.

Just got a recall notice on my car that the airbag is one of those exploding shrapnel bomb ones. Great. Not too interested in bringing it in right now (they don't have the part yet anyhow, wut??). The car is 21 YEARS OLD. Wasn't this an issue like five years ago? So not much interested in driving now too because hospital is going to be full of sick people if I get shrapneled, so yeah, no.

But I digress.

Delivery.

Augustus
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Re: COVID grocery/shopping procedures

Post by Augustus »

CS wrote:
Wed Mar 18, 2020 6:35 pm
Delivery.
Delivery was my plan, but there are no available deliveries where I live anymore, all the times are booked and have been for days. Instacart, pavilions, costco, walmart, you name it, all booked.

Fish
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Re: COVID grocery/shopping procedures

Post by Fish »

@Augustus - Delivery schedules have been volatile but I suggest getting in line with one or more providers. Even after an order is placed, nothing is firmly scheduled. On the backend, gig economy workers choose orders in realtime based on delivery location and expected commission (+bonus if the promised date and time approaches and no one has picked it up).

Costco rescheduled our delivery from Tues to Fri, then back to Tues with little notice. Doesn’t matter if you’re always at home which is true if isolating. And these platforms allow you to modify your orders until the shopper gets to the store. Just get in line with a minimum order and then take your time shopping.

ETA: If quarantining deliveries, how long is adequate? This suggests an upper bound of 3-4 days for plastic packaging:
https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101 ... l.pdf+html

slsdly
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Re: COVID grocery/shopping procedures

Post by slsdly »

If you search on Google for a supermarket (I use name street city), it will show you how busy it is currently (the most useful piece), and how busy it was in the past weeks, at what hours. Google knows everything (I imagine it is all of the Android phones with location history turned on). I'm using that as a guide for when to go. It is fairly intuitive though -- opening time generally remains the best time of day to go. Just look for "Plan your visit" on the right hand side below the contact info, Q&A and reviews.

EdithKeeler
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Re: COVID grocery/shopping procedures

Post by EdithKeeler »

I got a delivery from Imperfect Foods today, and have a Whole Foods delivery scheduled for tomorrow. I had a little trouble finding what I needed at Whole Foods—I wanted some extra pasta sauce and a few other things.

My house is ridiculously stocked at the moment. Tons of frozen chicken, lots of pasta, canned salmon and tuna, rice and sausage for a future jambalaya, lots of oatmeal, dozen veg, frozen fruit, beans and lentils out the wazoo... I even have a big thing of toilet paper.

The one thing I didn’t have, though, is onions!! Pretty much every recipe I make starts with an onion or two. But I have some coming tomorrow.

My biggest problem right now is boredom. I’m working at home, but I hate it. I live alone. My brother was over tonight, but he may have some possible cases at his workplace (some people called in with fevers...) but we only have 4 confirmed cases in Memphis.

Gilberto de Piento
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Re: COVID grocery/shopping procedures

Post by Gilberto de Piento »

I haven't tried them yet but I bought some frozen onions. They are presliced.

Peanut
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Re: COVID grocery/shopping procedures

Post by Peanut »

@EK: Mirepoix comes in a frozen bag and is pre-chopped onion, celery, carrot. Expensive per ounce but so easy.

What are you all doing for stuff that comes in as far as decontaminating? I was never one for rinsing strawberries with bleach but...

Alphaville
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Re: COVID grocery/shopping procedures

Post by Alphaville »

FYI dried onion flakes are great for wet dishes especially the Costco ones if you can get them shipped. Last a long time, would recommend. But have used the Walmart brand too.

In lean times save fresh onions for raw applications where folk medicine considers them antiviral & good for the respiratory tract.

Onion syrup: take a slice of onion, cover with sugar, put on a saucer, tilt the saucer, wait: eat the syrup that drips down, clear your lungs of phlegm (oh yeah gives you nice breath too). Try that for your next bronchitis.

I like my raw onions sliced thin, marinated in lime juice and salt, with a bit of hot pepper, tossed with a little oil, great on fried things or mixed with boring vegetables like lettuce.

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