I ventured into a local Jewel-Osco (supermarket) today. I had also stopped at Target beforehand. The Target was handling social distancing quite well. There was a “sanitized cart” corral at the front door with a young man wearing a mask wiping down carts as they came in to make available for customers. Arrows and other reminders dotted the floor everywhere you looked. All employees were wearing masks. The checkouts were mostly being handled by the self-serve lanes, where markings on the floor showed customers where to wait and when to proceed. An attendant sanitized each register after a customer was done with their purchase. People were friendly. The staff was helpful.

Back to the Jewel-Osco. Things weren’t quite as organized. About a third of the customers were wearing masks. About half the workers were wearing masks, not including the folks behind the deli. Signs on the floor reminded customers of social distancing using carts as a measurement and relegating aisles to one way traffic. About half the customers were minding the direction of travel. The busiest part of the store was the alcohol section. One entrance/exit was blocked off. Again, more signs on the floor of how to maintain your distance. Plastic overlays on the card transaction machines at the self-serve registers; Jewel-Osco still wants you to decide whether to donate to their latest charitable cause or not which defeats contactless payment with Apple Pay or Google Pay. Does anyone still use Samsung Pay?

This was my first time venturing into the general public in these circumstances and I must say I don’t have a lot of faith that we’ll be approaching anything akin to “normal” even by Labor Day. I know beaches are opening in Florida and there are protestors wanting to apparently lick each other in public. For the most part the length of the effects of this pandemic will be determined by the lowest common denominators of the country. Rushing through social distancing practices will just make the social distancing practices last longer.

Maybe this is what the masses want. I don’t have an answer and I don’t know what passes as societal thinking these days. Things have been going crazy for pretty much the entire 21st century.

You’d like nearly 20 years in I wouldn’t be surprised by any of this.