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Grocery Stores Must Help Seniors Shop, Here’s How

Update 3/17: Several stores have taken initiative in helping the elderly shop before stores open, and in some cases even pregnant women and those with special needs. You can always call in to see if your local supermarket is offering these services, but several stores have been spotted doing so, such as:
Northgate Market, Ralphs, Target, Vallarta Supermarket, Smart & Final, Superior Grocers, Dollar General, and Stop & Shop.

I don’t need to tell you how swamped grocery stores are in the midst of this national emergency. You’ve watched the news, you’ve seen the videos circulating online, and you’ve certainly gone out to see the madness for yourself.

Fear of the unknown had caused people’s survival instincts to kick in, and now there’s no toilet paper.

As everyone shops and prepares themselves for the worst, the elderly are most vulnerable in this time, and their usual shopping time has been invaded by hoards of shoppers wiping out store shelves.

Measures should be taken to ensure that those of advanced age have a shot at getting their grocery shopping done, as well.

Over the weekend, Northgate Market in La Habra took a shot at letting 65-year-olds and up go into the store first, giving them a 30-minute head start.

It was a noble effort, and a good starting point, but as someone who has worked in a grocery store with a heavy flow of elderly people, and frequently helped them with their shopping lists, I know that’s not enough.

At best, 30-minutes gives them a chance to walk to the household products aisle and grab a roll of toilet paper, and maybe scurry over to the meat department, but definitely not enough time to do any sort of decent shopping.

Monday, Northgate adjusted this effort, not only expanding it to a full hour before official opening, but also expanding past their La Habra location, and doing it at all 41 of its stores, which should be the standard for all stores in these trying times.

In Britain, “Iceland Supermarket” has given the elderly a full hour head start, citing that it gives them a more “comfortable shopping environment,” according to Today. So between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m., it’s prime time for those of advanced age.

At minimum, grocery stores should be letting in the elderly an hour early, if not two.

Also, stores are experiencing record sales, and even hiring like crazy at the moment. Use that abundance of hires, and have them go through the senior shoppers’ grocery list. There’s a good chance a clerk can run across the store and grab a gallon of milk a lot faster than a 70-year-old shopper with an arthritic knee.

By now you’ve probably seen the tweet by Rebecca Mehra, where she said:

“I went to the grocery store this afternoon. As I was walking in I heard a woman yell to me from her car. I walked over and found an elderly woman and her husband. She cracked her window open a bit more, and explained to me nearly in tears that they are afraid to go in the store. Afraid to get sick as they are in their 80’s and hear that the novel coronavirus is affecting older people disproportionately. And that they don’t have family around to help them out. Through the crack in the window she handed me a $100 bill and a grocery list, and asked if I would be willing to buy her groceries.

I bought the groceries and placed them in her trunk, and gave her back the change. She told me she had been sitting in the car for nearly 45 min before I had arrived, waiting to ask the right person for help.”

Yes, the story sounds a bit theatrical, and you never really know what’s true or not on Twitter, but whether you believe her or not, the viral tweet brought awareness to an issue that was not being talked about at the time, and that’s giving the elderly a fighting chance to get their groceries.

In Southern California, multiple grocery stores have adjusted their hours to give them more time to adapt to the influx of shoppers. Northgate is one of them, and even Ralphs shortened their hours, opening later and closing earlier in an attempt to give its employees more time to stock shelves, clean, and do their usual work before and after the madness.

If all these store hours can be adjusted, surely they can follow Northgate and Iceland’s lead, and also have a little bit of empathy for those who can’t wrestle away a case of water from you during the regular hours.

We now know that grocery stores will continue to be open in this quarantine period, and supply chains are reportedly in no danger, so hopefully the waves of shoppers will be a little less hectic, and everyone can get their food in less of a panic.

Either way, in a time where it feels like it’s every man for himself, maybe we should take a step back and think about those around us who might need some help.

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Health News Packaged Food

LA Mayor Says ‘There’s No Major Shortage Of Food’ As Major Markets Seek Workers

Photo Courtesy of Ralphs

As more and more folks are staying at home to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, restaurants and public businesses have been temporarily shutting down to help prevent the spread.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti made an announcement this morning to help calm the masses who are desperate to stock their households with supplies in the trying weeks to come.

“Supply chains are completely uninterrupted, and there’s no shortage of food,” Garcetti said as he stood in a Ralph’s Distribution Center in Paramount, CA. With him were executives from major grocery chains such as Food4Less, Ralph’s, Northgate, and Gelson’s.

Stores are short on popular items during this pandemic because of people purchasing more than they need, and as a result, employees are unable to restock from the suppliers in a timely manner. During the livestream the mayor encouraged consideration for others, especially the elderly, when out shopping for supplies.

Kendra Doyel, Vice president of merchandising for Ralph’s, stated that both Ralphs and Food4Less are actually hiring during these trying times to help keep the shelves stocked at a more manageable rate. Those who need to look for work in the Los Angeles area as more business close down because of the virus may consider employment at these major grocery chains during this time of concern over the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Grocery News

Kroger Supermarket Bans Plastic Bags Across U.S., Others Could Follow

Kroger shoppers will have to get used to bringing in their own reusable bags, as the supermarket chain announced it would eliminate single-use plastic bags by 2025.

That means all your local Cala Foods, City Markets, Copps, Dillons, FoodsCo, Fred Meyer Stores, Fry’s, King Soopers, Mariano’s Fresh Market, Metro Market, Pick ‘n Save, Quality Food Centers (a.k.a. QFC), Ralphs, Food 4 Less, and Smith’s Food and Drug will be affected by this change.

 

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Several states already have implemented such bans by law, as Californians and Floridians can attest to, but Kroger is the largest grocer to put a plastic bag ban on all its stores nationwide, regardless of state law.

Of course this ban, as most plastic bans, is in an effort to reduce waste, which makes organizations such as Green Peace happy.

 

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Don’t be surprised if other major grocery chains follow, as we saw a chain reaction of plastic bans, just earlier this year. When McDonald’s banned single-use plastic straws in the U.K., we saw companies like Starbucks. Even Disney implemented straw bans of their own.

While it might mean that we can no longer reuse their bags as our home trash bags, hopefully it’ll all be worth it if, like, the world doesn’t burn of our own doing.

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Hit-Or-Miss

That Clean Supermarket Feeling