A mercifully brief shopping trip to the Willow Brook Shopping Centre in Sadly Broke this morning reminded me, not that I needed reminding, just how absurd it is for people to suggest we are under lockdown. Like you, I am allowed to shop only for essential items. I adhered to the rules in the sprawling behemoth that is Tesco Extra by purchasing a half-price copy of Barack Obama’s memoirs, saving me a staggering £17.50.
I am not, even at the best of times, a big fan of Tesco supermarkets but in the middle of a murderous pandemic, this was not a pleasant shopping experience. Like most supermarkets, in terms of customers, staff count them all in and they count them all out. What they don’t and can’t do is to tell customers to maintain social distancing and to tell some customers that if you do not ensure your mask covers your nose as well as your mouth, it does nothing to protect your fellow human beings, which is the whole point of masks. But my oh my, that social distancing, or lack of it.
This was, by some distance, the worst I have felt when shopping. Those doing their ‘big shop’ are almost entirely ‘seniors’ and it must be said, yet again, that for so many of them social distancing is an alien concept. Have people simply tired of the message, do they not understand it or not believe it or do they just not care? All of the above, probably. But Big Tesco is far from the only business that’s open as usual.
All the supermarkets, pet shops, pharmacists, food outlets (Domino, KFC, Greggs, Subway, Costa for takeaway plus added burger vans (just the three of them). Apart from a series of directional arrows, which are widely ignored, it’s all normal in the least normal times ever.
However, although I can buy all manner of junk food and tat, I can’t cross the road to the leisure centre and use their pool or their gym. It’s clearly far healthier to tuck into some high fat takeaway junk, but I can’t take exercise. Once I finished my shopping, I can’t play golf either, not even on my own, something that really benefits my physical and mental health. Worse still, children can’t do any outdoor sport but they can visit McDonalds. This is absolutely bonkers.
I repeat: we are not in lockdown. Far more people than during the last lockdown, including me, are back working in jobs in was previously deemed unsafe to do. The roads are very busy, the shopping centres are rammed (“It’s just like Christmas,” said a woman on the check out at the Range last week when I was buying an essential candle lighter). Of course it it. We’re all fed up to the back teeth of the coronavirus. Some shops are closed so we’re all going to the ones that remain open, in bigger numbers than usual.
Just wait until 2nd December when everything opens up. I’ll definitely be staying at home then.