How to Shop During COVID-19

By Sam Behar

During this bizarre time that we are experiencing now, even the most simple things like going to the grocery store is something that we have to do differently. As a Trader Joe’s employee, I thought I would share some things that should be kept in mind when grocery shopping. People might think that these tips and precautions that stores have are “too much” but they are there to keep the store employees and the rest of the community safe. 


  1. Grocery stores are staying open. There is no need to panic-buy 10 boxes of everything. YES, we can tell the difference between panic-buying and stocking up for two weeks.
  2. If you must come to the store more often than every two weeks or so, try to limit your outings. This isn’t like regular times where you can come in everyday to get your dinner. 
  3. If you live in a house full of family, friends, roommates, etc. please do not bring everyone. The store is not an outing, it is an essential business. It may seem fun or a thing to do because you are quarantined, but it can put the house and community at risk. Send lists with one or two people and take turns going.
  4. Do not touch anything you do not intend on buying, for obvious reasons.. Also, you should already be washing all your produce and other non-packaged items, but if you aren’t you should do that. Here is a link to an LA Times article about how to wash your food during this time. https://www.latimes.com/food/story/2020-03-16/how-to-wash-fresh-vegetables-fruits-during-coronavirus-crisis 
  5. Do not bring your grocery bags. This one is a tough one because you always get told to bring your reusable bags but please not right now. (haha) We provide you with bags just because we don’t know where your bags have been and if they have been in contact with someone who has been infected.
  6. A no-brainer, but just be nice. This time of uncertainty really brings out the worst in people so unfortunately the grocery store might be a little more hostile. People have said some weird and rude things to my coworkers and I recently and we understand that the stress of this situation is rough but we are here to help you. 
  7. Try to stand on the social distancing markers that stores have put out when waiting in line. Again, another precaution that must be taken now. Don’t forget to stay distant while shopping in the aisles too!
  8. Please do not give unsolicited advice to employees or other shoppers about how to stay safe. This also goes for sanitizing the card machine or complaining that you need to touch it… please don’t. 
  9. You must wear a face mask or covering! We do not allow anyone in the store without one as of Friday, April 10, 2020.
  10. If something is out of stock, we most likely do not have it in the back right now so please refrain from asking us to “check in the back.”
  11. Cash is dirty! It always has been but using your card or apple pay is so important right now because it is less contact for us.

It may seem like a lot to think about when going to the grocery store but something as small as staying six feet away from someone in line can save a life. If we just be cooperative and mindful we can flatten the curve so much faster! 


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