When Hawaii Kai Costco ran out of frozen chicken thighs, I knew that the pandemic was getting serious. I heard about the rush to buy toilet paper and hand sanitizer, but nothing really hit me personally until I saw rows of empty freezers on a weekly Costco run. For the next couple of weeks, it was hard to find essential goods like flour, yeast, and rice. Toilet paper and Clorox wipes were flying off the shelves. Being out of school and stuck at home, I haven’t gone anywhere past maybe a five mile radius from my house, but that’s just enough to see how much things have changed.
Grocery stores started implementing all sorts of rules to promote social distancing. On a trip to buy Oreos from Longs, my sister and I saw for the first time tape markings on the floor for six feet distance between customers waiting in line at the cashier. Another trip to Costco had my mother and I waiting in line outside of the doors, like we were at an amusement park, for the people inside to finish shopping. A more recent trip had us waiting just to go into the freezer section for fruits! Cashiers now had plastic barriers between them and the customer and the receipt checkers at the exit had booths, plastic barriers, and gloves just to check your receipt. Senior time has become a trend among the grocery stores, allowing those 65 and older to have a special time for buying their groceries.
All other stores were extremely empty however. The new Lanikai Juice hadn’t had a single customer until my sister and I had walked in one day. Only one worker, who looked bored out of his wits, was working. Like all sit in restaurants and food courts, all tables and chairs were stacked in one corner. This unfortunately, seemed to give many other people the impression that the store was closed. Mc. Donald’s drive through has seemed pretty busy everyday, but other restaurants like Ramen Ya and Thai Bistro haven’t had many customers. Even Panda Express has just a few people taking out food, before the line would be out the door during rush hour. Many other local restaurants have felt the effects as well, being able to only offer takeout orders, prompting social media trends such as “eat local, buy local, support the economy.”
Many food retailers are struggling as well, just take a look at the recent ads that have been playing on T.V. Subway, Burger King, and Wendy’s have all started offering free food or 50% on all purchases. Non-contact delivery is being promoted by every company from Dominos to Home Depot. While low prices might attract more customers, there isn’t much more a restaurant can do without customers walking through their doors. Advertisements themselves have taken a more inspirational, reassuring approach\; encouraging everyone to stay strong and reassuring that we are not alone. Toilet paper companies have sent out advertisements reassuring people that they are working hard to meet demands. As you can tell, I watch a lot of T.V.
This virus has affected our lives so much. In just my neighborhood alone, everyone of us has had to adapt to new changes everyday. It is hard and frustrating, but I believe it shows just how resilient we are.