July 30, 2020
Introducing a new etiquette. The other day at the grocery store, I accidentally touched the cashier’s finger as she handed me a bag. I was mortified, and immediately blurted out an apology. It was the briefest of touches, and I was wearing gloves. The cashier wasn’t upset, but I wouldn’t have been much more embarrassed if I’d come running around a corner and body-slammed someone. Of course, accidents happen, and don’t worry, I’ve forgiven myself. But it got me thinking that it’s not just one another we need to avoid touching when we’re at the store, it’s objects. In a single twenty-minute incursion to the store, I saw a man on the phone, clearly trying to get instructions from home on which sort of bread to buy, which in and of itself, is sad, but fine. However, he was picking up loaves to read the names, and then putting them back on the shelf, which is not so fine. The other atrocity I witnessed involved a woman burrowing her way through a shelf of hand soap, why I do not know. They were all the same. All the same. And she didn’t even pick one up for purchase.
It seems clear that handling goods for purchase that you are not going to purchase is a gross breach of decency in the middle of a pandemic. So, please, take the first one you touch, and don’t put whatever contaminants you may be harboring on items that you do not plan to take with you.