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To be shocked at how dystopian going shopping feels now?

(298 Posts)
GratefulLove Tue 11-Aug-20 00:22:39

Today I went shopping in my town centre for the first time since early March. I just could not process how different it all is now. Last time I was in town I remember picking up a box of paracetamol and some hand sanitiser in Boots "just in case" but aside from that it all felt normal albeit a little like the calm before the storm.

Today though. Hand sanitiser everywhere, one-way systems, floor markings. Obviously I knew all this existed from social media and the news but seeing my town, my familiar town so completely different has floored me in a way I didn't expect. Shops selling hand sanitiser and masks - I expected this in Boots and other pharmacies but I didn't expect Primark to have rows and rows of hand sanitiser by the tills. I didn't expect shopping to feel so clinical, it felt like a hospital visit.

I was in one shop and there were a group of young children playing and joking around with each other. They did not have masks on and seeing them playing around just looked so normal and then I looked around and saw all the adults with masks just looking expressionless and almost soulless. It just looked so frightening.

We are months into this pandemic and I still can't believe this is all real. It still feels like a film. I don't know, with the daily conferences now a thing of the past and headlines now involving more topics than just the coronavirus it kind of felt like things were slowly getting back to normal but this really cemented that they are nowhere near normal.

Also I just want to say how much I appreciate all retail workers.

OP’s posts: |
Komacho Tue 11-Aug-20 00:50:08

Shops selling hand sanitizer is dystopian?

Maybe calm down a bit.

FullofSurprises Tue 11-Aug-20 01:04:44

I'm sure the shops were worse about 2 months or so ago, it was really bad then. The queues to get anything were absolutely massive and everything was gone on the shelves.

I actually feel like it's gone back to some normality now.

Lancrelady80 Tue 11-Aug-20 01:05:04

Well, yes. Dystopian is perhaps a bit strong but I see completely where op is coming from. Practically every single shop you enter selling hand sanitizer and masks is a massive change from pre-Covid. And it's very unsettling. That was perhaps a more appropriate word. We walk into our tiny village shop and right in front of us is a huge display of gloves, masks, aprons and row upon row of sanitizer. Then staff in visors, behind perspex. And customers most wearing masks so almost faceless and expressionless. It's not good.

We have family visiting the area and thought we'd go out for a meal and catch up. Couldn't do it as nowhere was willing to seat us together (5 adults plus 4 children)and we would have had to be at separate, socially distanced tables and not allowed to mix between the two at all. Ended up with chips in our back garden - nice but not the same.

But Covid has done much, much worse than make shopping uncomfortable and disrupt family meals out. So we just have to go along with it until it's safer to relax restrictions- and roll on that day, as Covid has royally buggered up 2020 in many ways for many people and continues to do so.

BigChocFrenzy Tue 11-Aug-20 01:08:47

It's different to before, but temporary

BoxhillBertha Tue 11-Aug-20 01:13:19

It doesn't bother me at all, in fact I prefer shopping like this.

NervousInYorkshire Tue 11-Aug-20 01:13:55

I was shielding until recently.
I had to go collect something yesterday (couldn't get it delivered, needed it today) from a shopping centre, and realised I haven't even been in town since March.
It was weird as heck.

I got really flustered and anxious in the shop, and later realised I was going the wrong way round a pedestrian roundabout in my panic to get out again blush

Did not like.

roxfox Tue 11-Aug-20 01:14:30

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BananaPop2020 Tue 11-Aug-20 01:16:36

All the pleasure has gone from shopping right now. I have pretty much stopped going apart from essentials. The rules are so arbitrary and do little to encourage spending.

BoxhillBertha Tue 11-Aug-20 01:16:57

Not at all. It's calm, less rushed, less busy and I'm not at all bothered by masks.

Flaxmeadow Tue 11-Aug-20 01:21:29

Have you heard any disembodied PA announcements yet?
"Here at £€#$ we want you to shop safely"
"Please keep your distance"
"Please follow the in store guidance"
"Respect other customers"

And so on

Mind you, beats the early days when they also announced strict rationing rules on certain "items" and listed them loudly over the speakers

BananaPop2020 Tue 11-Aug-20 01:22:55

Or even worse, the “feeding the nation” message designed to invoke feelings that it just never did!

Flaxmeadow Tue 11-Aug-20 01:34:39

Also I just want to say how much I appreciate all retail workers.

I worked in retail up to the lockdown, but those who had to carry on, I honestly don't know how they did it. Bravo to them yes

Purpleartichoke Tue 11-Aug-20 01:47:20

I have come home saying the same thing. I half expect to see armed guards and women in red cloaks. It all feels surreal. Walking through a store, avoiding getting too close, passing lots of empty shelves, being happy there is something similar to the item I needed even if it isn’t quite the right thing. Not to mention some shops have signs up asking you not to touch anything you aren’t buying. I picked up an item that wasn’t quite right, but was the best they had, then found what I was looking for a couple aisles over. I almost bought both just because I felt bad about setting one down.

Inkpaperstars Tue 11-Aug-20 01:53:37

I don't actually find people look faceless and expressionless in masks. You can still see their eyes. I'm learning to smile hello with my eyebrows now.

It is bizarre to look back on what we used to take for granted, I suppose.

Whatelsecouldibecalled Tue 11-Aug-20 01:53:51

I can understand what you mean @GratefulLove I’ve used the word dystopian too to describe it. I’m not keen at all but reckon it’s here to stay for a long time yet

Durgasarrow Tue 11-Aug-20 02:08:12

I can only imagine how the sturdy Brits who weathered the Blitz would feel reading this whinging. Summon your Dunkirk spirit, people!

Lancrelady80 Tue 11-Aug-20 02:11:50

Oh God, not the Blitz comparisons again! Of course they don't match up, noone is saying for one second they do. But do you really think those who went through the Blitz went on their daily lives merrily singing tra-la-la with never a moan?! We are allowed to feel and say that it's all a bit crap right now.

stopgap Tue 11-Aug-20 02:21:56

It is upsetting, I agree. My children have grown so accustomed to wearing masks that they forgot to take them off when we are back in the car, which is encouraging under the circumstances, but so surreal.

I echo the sentiment that the world feels Gilead-like right now.

soasd Tue 11-Aug-20 02:23:11

Of course they don't match up, noone is saying for one second they do

Well OP is saying hand sanitiser, masks, one-way systems and floor markings are dystopian. Arguably that's worse than the blitz. At least on a par.

Greek2me Tue 11-Aug-20 02:24:36

Yes it feels more real and horrible when im out many people have expressionless glazed over eyes they might as well be robots.

Shesapunkpunk Tue 11-Aug-20 02:27:14

I think that the fact that most people have taken to this so well demonstrates how resilient humans actually are. It is not forever, and it really is not a big deal in the grand scheme.

SatanicDesk Tue 11-Aug-20 02:32:43

YANBU op!! I said exactly the same thing earlier - I was talking to a couple of staff in different supermarkets who I’d speak to pre-covid and they also all thought it was dystopian and difficult to communicate. It’s absolutely very, very weird.

I thankfully hadn’t needed to wear a mask at all prior to today (hadn’t needed to since it became mandatory), and it was unexpectedly horrible- hot, claustrophobic, thought I was going to pass out or have a panic attack in the queue - which I wasn’t anticipating.

Usually I enjoy shopping and I didn’t think I’d find a mask “distressing” (for want of a better word) shopping is for now merely perfunctory. I couldn’t get out quickly enough.

soasd Tue 11-Aug-20 02:37:07

I guess people are being very liberal with their use of the word dystopian.

Canuckduck Tue 11-Aug-20 02:43:31

Shopping is no longer enjoyable. This coupled with the fact that there is nowhere to go means I’ve dramatically cut down on my clothing purchases. We’ve eaten out a few times but it also wasn’t overly enjoyable so sticking to take away and home cooking. Sometimes it seems ok but the thought of this being in place at Christmas makes me feel so sad.

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