Shopping During the Pandemic


Junior Stephanie Rodriguez shopping for some clothes to warm her up this fall and winter. She said, “I prefer in-store shopping because you get to try on multiple clothes sizes.“

Remember what life before COVID was like? Going out whenever and wherever you wanted? Being around people without masks? Movies? Restaurants? Shopping? We were free to basically touch everything, go to the store and not wear a face mask. 

Ever since the virus was declared as a pandemic, stores have made up safety protocols so employees and customers can be in a safe environment – wear a mask, social distance, and practice good hygiene once out -which keeps shoppers safe but has changed the experience. “The biggest change for me has been deciding to do more local shopping at smaller stores instead of at larger stores. For example, instead of going to Costco or Trader Joes, I will go to a local natural foods store. There are two reasons. I don’t want to wait in a line to get it to go shopping and less exposure to people (risk of COVID19) The smaller stores are visited by fewer people,” said English teacher Alex Lanctot. 

Another factor affecting shopping was the lack of products available. At the beginning of the pandemic useful resources – cleaning products, hand sanitizer, toilet paper -were usually sold out since people were really panicked. Hygiene essentials sold out even before the county declared lockdown. When there were hand sanitizers, Clorox, water, and toilet paper we were limited 1 per person. When the stay-at-home order was lifted, the stock wasn’t much better. “The stores don’t have as much stock as they used to and don’t get certain stuff they used to have,” said English Teacher and Yearbook/Newspaper adviser Mick Battaglini. 

Even during the pandemic, many people felt shopping in-store was more convenient than shopping online. A frequent shopper, Berenice Garcia, prefers in-store shopping. “I prefer in-store shopping than online shopping because it’s not a big of a hassle picking the right clothing size,” she said. “I prefer in-store shopping because you get to try on multiple clothes sizes,“ said Stephanie Rodriguez. She often shopped at Rue 21 and although the fitting rooms were closed, she could at least see how big and the material of the clothes were.  

While people might be able to do without a trip to the mall, they couldn’t avoid going grocery shopping. Salmai Cabrera and Maria Perez often shopped at Food 4 Less. Shopping for groceries is also more convenient in-store rather than online or Instacart. “I only grocery shop and if I shop through Instacart I don’t know if my shopper knows how to pick ripe avocados. When I go shopping I know how to pick my food,” said Cabrera. Battaglini agrees and he dislikes Instacart for another reason. “I used instacart once and it was a bad experience, it was a hassle and our shopper was new,” said Battaglini. “I didn’t like using Instacart because some stuff were missing, they didn’t replace the supplies with the ones I had requested,” said Stephanie Rodriguez. 

Many felt the safest way to shop during lockdown was online was probably, although it has its pros and cons. Ordering online can be expensive by paying for shipping or getting stuff for a higher price than it normally would be at stores. Also, due to the pandemic, it takes more time for items to be shipped since there is a high volume of orders. Another disadvantage is that the product may get lost, stolen, missing items, wrong size, or even wrong items. Also, you most likely are going to have to pay to return it. 

Some advantages of shopping online is that it is not as time-consuming as in-store shopping. There are also a variety of products and sizes and exclusive deals than in-store. Diego Alfaro prefers online shopping rather than in-store; “I prefer online shopping at Michael’s more because it’s easier to obtain certain items like markers or a certain paint palette online rather than having to go look for it at the store,” he says. It is easier to order online and stay home rather than being in a crowded store.“ Amazon has quick and free shipping and keeps you from going out to the stores and there is more stuff available,” said Battaglini.

Shopping isn’t going to stop, but our ways of shopping have changed. Want all of this to go away? Then we all need to wear a mask and social distance.