Silent shopping

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Silent shopping

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This morning I shopped at the Perrysburg, OH Costco. While there were quite obvious indications that the store and shoppers were doing things differently in relation to COVID-19, to me the most interesting was the sound: despite a considerable number of people there, the store was nearly silent.

Employees and the store have taken all sorts of steps in reaction to the outbreak. Employees were spraying down various surfaces regularly, including at the gas station. There were signs to encourage social distancing, and Costco had installed plexiglass sheets at the cash registers, between the checkers and the customer lane. Customers were spacing themselves in the aisles--no one leaning over someone else to grab this or that, no one rummaging through the clothes.

Most amazingly, to me, though, was how quiet it was. Most customers had come solo, rather than in family groups. No employees were hawking free samples. The only customers I heard talk, my whole time there (way too long!), were in the dairy area, where a shopper explained that, with a family of seven, seven crates of eggs was her usually purchase, not hoarding. Most people were using paper lists, and I didn't notice a single phone ring or phone conversation. I could hear the refrigeration units humming, the carts on the polished concrete, the soft crash of groceries being dropped in carts.

A huge store, with a decent number of people, nearly silent.

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