Welcome to the “New Normal”!!
Yesterday was a very interesting day, to say the least! It included participation in a protest; then the most idiotic shopping trip I’ve experienced to date under this so-called “new normal”. Allow me to expand…
My best half and myself happened to learn at the last minute of an anti-lockdown protest at the Legislature in Edmonton for April 29, so we decided to attend. It was a long drive, and we were somewhat late, but a large group of people had turned out for it; and as we drove around trying to find parking, many drivers honked their horns in support. One fellow on the sidewalk was dressed up in shiny silver pants, and had tinfoil wrapped around his helmet, waving a sign protesting 5G. After parking, we were about to walk up the hill, when all of a sudden, the entire group of protesters began pouring down the hill. We waited for them, and asked, “Why are you coming back down?” And they replied, “The police allowed us a certain amount of time to protest, and then threatened to start issuing tickets.”
Being our first protest, we didn’t really know what to do, so we hung around until some who knew what they were about came and talked with us. They had also planned a convoy of sign-holding, horn-honking vehicles, and we decided to join them. Many of these vehicles were done all out, while some simply had writing on the windows.
Some of the signs read: “The true north strong and FREE (crossed out) Quarantined!”; “ALL Jobs are Essential!”; “Sunshine and UV heat kills the virus, Staying in does NOT!”; “Children deserve Education”; “End the Lockdown”; “We have Familys (sic) to Feed”; “Wuhan Institute of Virology, 30 miles from the fish market, This ain’t no bat soup!”; “COVID is a COVERUP!”; “Freedom is Essential”; and our favourite, “thus saith the Lord, LET MY PEOPLE GO! Exodus 9:1”.
It was very interesting driving around the Legislature grounds honking and holding our signs, unimpressed police everywhere, and people lined up all along the streets, even watching from their balconies. It seemed to me that most of them were supportive of what was going on, though it was plain that not all agreed. People walking had signs, as well, and the one I liked best was, “I just want to HUG my grandkids!”, held by an elderly lady. Believe it or not, the entire convoy had a fire engine leading it, honking too!
We were following the car with the “LET MY PEOPLE GO!” sign, and pretty soon we discovered there were no more vehicles from the protest behind us, and this car seemed to be heading out of the city! So we circled back around, only to find that the entire thing had just disappeared! But along the way, construction workers would show support for our message “ALL jobs are essential!”, hooting or waving, and some even called out, “Thank you!!” One gave it a thumbs up and hollered, “How the (blinkety-blank) ELSE are we gonna survive!??”, as we waited for the light to change.
We continued to hold our sign out the window all the way through the city on the way home, for good measure, making fun that people were lined up outside stores in “proper anti-social” style, waiting to get in. We needed a few items, so we stopped at the Dollar store. And if I don’t find myself in just such a line!! I almost left, but the items I needed had been put off for so long already because of the current stupidity, that I decided to wait. Once at the checkout, they asked if I wanted a bag, and because we’ve been told we can’t bring our own reusable bags anymore, I said, “Are you GIVING me a bag because we’re not allowed to bring our own? I don’t want to pay for one.” She told me, “You can bring your own, but YOU have to pack it!” WHAAT??!? That sure makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it? They can touch the items I touched to pack them in their bag, but they can’t put them in my bag. 🤔 “But it’s out in the truck, and then I’d have to wait like a cow in that line again! No thanks, I’ll just buy a bag, and be done with it!” Then she had the nerve to ask me to return the basket to the door, but my hands were full because it didn’t all fit in ONE bag, so I replied, “My hands are full, sorry!” And walked out the door.
Maybe it won’t be like that at Superstore…
At least the doorway attackers weren’t there this time. You know, the ones who dive at you with what they call “hand sanitizer”. I got the three items I needed there without any hassle, and went up to the checkouts. This is where I encountered The Problem.
The “cattle chute” was still there along the entry point; fine. The “traffic control” man was there letting the “dumb cows” know when the next cashier was open; fine. As stupid as that is, it’s not the end of the world. But the lineup didn’t end at the end of the cattle chute. It kept going, all along the whole length of the aisle next to it, then all the way around past the meat department, then continued all the way back to the lobster tank at the very back of the store, where it made a hairpin turn on itself to continue for half the length of the milk coolers!! And every one in line had a heaping cartload of stuff! This did NOT please me very well, as you can imagine! For three, yes, only 3 measly items, I was pondering at least an hour waiting in line!
Someone commented, “It looks like everyone decided to check out at the same time.” Yeeeesss… Or perhaps it’s MORE because they have only ONE line of ONE-person-at-a-time service! Funny how quickly some folks just accept the current oppression!
“Would you move further away!” suddenly snapped a masked woman nearby. I jumped and exclaimed, “Oh! Sorry!” and moved away even further. But it seemed that wasn’t even far enough because presently she turned her cart further away from me with a glare of her fearful eyes.
So I sighed and set myself to wait (yes, I was exclaiming about how stupid it was most of the time), and pretty soon a pleasant older man got in line behind me, with the question, “Is THIS the end of the line?” “Unfortunately, yes,” I said. He was laughing and shaking his head, so I knew he was a sensible one. He said, “Then I guess I’ll just start eating,” and he opened something and began to munch.
Soon he asked me why I didn’t go through the self-checkout, and I told him I don’t use those, to which he said that this situation would drive HIM to use it! Then he suggested I go to Customer Service to pay, which I didn’t think they would allow, but on his insistence, and his promise to let me back in line in front of him if they refused, I decided to try it.
So I traipsed, from the “back forty” of the store, all the long way to the front, where I squeezed through the lineup for the self-checkouts, which was long enough, noticing as I went that there were only two, yes, 2(!) cashiers out of 12 in the main section, and three out of about 5 in the “express” section who were open(!!), past the barrier dividing the Customer Service counter from the main store, and up to the counter. Rather flustered by this time, I asked, “Can I pay for these items here? The lineup goes all the way back past the fish department!” To my intense gratefulness, they let me pay there, and as soon as I could manage it, I departed from Superstore with nary a backward glance, and a huge sigh of relief!
In answer to a comment I made to one of the managers I know there, she said with her own sigh of frustration, “Welcome to the new normal!”