Ghost Town

I am just back from a trip to my nearest large town, Dereham. This market town is the fifth largest in Norfolk, with a poulation of around 14,000. I was heading for the big Tesco Supermarket on the outskirts, to get a weekly shop. With most other town shops closed, the place felt deserted. School closures meant that the late afternoon school run traffic was nonexistent, and with the exception of the few town centre shops selling food, every other shop was closed up, and in some cases, shuttered.

Compared to a normal Monday afternoon, it felt like driving around in a ghost town.

Once at the supermarket, new restrictions are in place. A large section of the car park is closed off by barriers, enforcing a strict one-way queueing system to get into the shop. One customer only at a time, one trolley, and one total transaction. Inside, it feels strange. Not only were there few customers, perhaps a quarter of what I would usually see at this time, but the aisles were closed off at each end, enforcing another one-way system for shoppers.

Most things were available, with the exception of dried pasta. (I buy fresh anyway, and they had that) There was only one type of eggs available, an expensive blue-shell variety. Medicines like Paracetamol and Antihistamine were not in stock, but there was plenty of bread, meat, vegetables, and fresh fruit. There were also toilet rolls, and paper kitchen towels, as well as anti-bacterial sprays, and most cleaning products.

Sadly, I sensed an element of profiteering in the prices. Whether the supermarkets are having to pay more to secure the goods, or they are trying to make up for the lack of sales now panic buying has slowed, I don’t know. But there were almost no ‘special offers’, and a four pack of toilet rolls, costing £2 only two weeks ago was now £3. That’s a huge percentage increase, in a product people are still trying to buy. Fortunately, I didn’t need any, and they were restricted to one pack per customer.

On the way home, during what passes for the ‘rush hour’ around here, there was less traffic than early on a Sunday morning.

Perhaps people are finally ‘getting it’? I hope so.

50 thoughts on “Ghost Town

  1. It’s very quiet here too. Mostly of my ventures out are to go running. I used to see loads of other park users but now I hardly see anyone. I have to run through town to get to the park and it’s virtually silent.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I do hope they are getting it. Our store shelves are still out of toilet paper most days. People in line just forget to do the 6’ distancing. I must say I like no crowds, but it feels strange.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. One lady remarked to me that ‘every day felt a bit like Christmas Day, but without the presents or turkey’. I could see what she meant by that, except she was forgetting about all the people dying.
      Takce care, Jennie.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello Pete! Sorry, for the later revisit. As i read, you are a tpb, too? Lol But i think you bought it for a regular usage, not on base of any conspiracy theory i have not found, yet. 🙂 Hope you are save, and do not wondering about, here in the town with only 2700 citizens its also like in ghost city. Best wishes, Michael

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I know what you mean, Pete. For instance, we live in a cul de sac. Sunday everyone in our little circle of 6 houses had a street party–except for us. They started out all setting in front of their own driveways drinking beer–my neighbors across the street were doing tai chi exercises in the front yard–who does that?–and the kids were playing in their own yards. Then gradually, the kids moved together and started playing in the street, and then more people came out of their houses and one neighbor picks up her lawn chair and moves down to the driveway where another neighbor was and then their was music and everybody started partying. My husband I were jealous, we wanted to join them, but we didn’t. We couldn’t! There’s a pandemic going on! Sheesh!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi, Pete! It is pretty much the same situation here in CA.  Last night I heard Tony Fauci say that wearing face masks would contribute to lessening the possibility of spreading the virus.  Today I had to go out for weekly groceries, and at least a third of the people I saw were wearing masks.  I trust that’s a good thing.  Blessing you and your loved ones, Pete — and every individual on the planet!   “A well-ordered life is like climbing a tower; the view halfway up is better thanthe view from the base, and it steadily becomes finer as the horizon expands.” – William Lyon Phelps

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Basic masks will only protect you until your breath gets them wet. No more than 5 minutes, if you are walking around. Better than nothing, but only just.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

  6. It must be that we are out in the country, our biggest nearest town is about 9.000 people, but we never experienced any panic buying and other than the dishing out of gloves and sanitiser as you enter the shop, and the spacing lines near the till, everything seems to be fairly normal. Masks are appearing on faces, but still not that common, and it is a lot quieter on the roads.
    The Polish government just passed a law against companies profiteering from the situation, although I think its going to be tricky to enforce, although the only things that have gone up in price, that Gosia has noticed, is the industrial alcohol she uses in perfumes, Aloe vera and pump dispensers 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I went grocery shopping today for the first time in over a week, around 8 am. There was still a fair number of people in the store, the only difference was a 6 foot marker for waiting in line. I wore a face mask (made it myself!) for the first time. Got everything I wanted, except for — guess what? Yep! No toilet paper or bleach. I hadn’t bought any for a couple of weeks so tried a store nearer by and found the 2 coveted items. I guess the hoarders won this time!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope you know that any non-rebreathing face mask without a respirator attachment is only good for 3-5 minutes, or once your breath makes it wet. Better than nothing, but not for long.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I understand your medical background so I’m sure you know whereof you speak. But here in the U.S. there are calls for making homemade face masks, and patterns abound. It seems that some amount of protection would be better than none? I just got over a cold, and thought it made sense for my first trip to the grocery store, where I kept it on for the 20 or so minutes there. Some folks also report it keeps your from touching your face? Can’t hurt right?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. It is certainly better than nothing, that’s for sure. As long as you keep that safe distance, and don’t rely on it as complete protection. I know you are intelligent, but just want to make sure people know the risks. As long ago as 1979, I was told that a regular surgical face mask is mainly to protect the patient from bacteria in the mouth, not the wearer from the patient.
          And the virus can enter through the nose, which should be covered, and also through the eyes, which have mucus lubricating the eyeball that can host the virus. That’s why ‘serious’ medics wear face shields or goggles too.
          Best wishes, Pete.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Thanks for your thorough answer. There’s been much discussion on this topic everywhere of late. – to wear or not to wear? I read that in China the general population wears masks, while here in the U.S. you are advised to wear them if you are ill, to protect others. But I see more and more folks are wearing them – maybe at the least it scares people away from you!! It’s frightening that so many people in the medical community are getting sick and dying of the virus, and that there is a shortage of face masks. I am practicing all the safe distancing rules however and whenever I can. And maybe wearing glasses helps me some with eye protection, though they do steam up when I wear the mask!!

            Liked by 1 person

  8. It’s the same here, Pete. My town is even smaller (4,000 pop) but we have two supermarkets and three butchers plus a greengrocer so we can get pretty much everything we need. On Saturday the queues outside the butchers were long as only one customer is allowed in at a time. My husband came back from Tesco moaning about the ‘bouncers’ on the door standing less than two metres apart and customers had to walk between them to enter the shop so definitely not sticking to social distancing procedures. I’m sure it was been pointed out to them before long.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I haven’t been inside a supermarket since March 20th. After waiting in a long line, there was a mad rush to get into the store. The supermarket was like a can of sardines, with the shoppers being the sardines. I stood for an hour waiting for my turn to pay at the cash register while the virus floated about… So much for social distancing!

    Saturday, I ordered food online from the supermarket, and am scheduled to pick up my order curbside this afternoon. They have the right to provide substitute products, so my fingers are crossed they don’t.

    Traffic has been reduced in Las Vegas, but there are still a good many drivers out there. Many people are flocking to the desert to enjoy the outdoors. I plead guilty.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. It’s a shame you can’t come to London. It’s quieter than a normal Sunday in Norwich. I haven’t seen a bus with more than one passenger for ages.

    I went out this morning for a half hour walk, and must have passed 20 or so people.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I think people probably are ‘getting it’, for a variety of reasons. From my experience of 2 supermarkets in my own area, it’s all been quite relaxed, despite the physical distancing recommended by tape on the floor, and it was quite difficult sometimes to avoid coming closer than 2m to another shopper, but I made a point of going early [before 9 a.m.] while it was still relatively quiet. I hope things are starting to settle down a bit, anyway, and people will only buy what they need immediately. Cheers, Jon.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Pete, as you know, we are locked down for all of April, and I only go out once a week to shop for groceries. There is a supermarket a few miles away that has a system of 25 shoppers in the store at a time…you wait outside in a well-spaced line until its your turn to go in. They ad most everything, and prices were the same, with lots of their normal specials. This “new normal” is surreal, but if it helps “flatten the curve” then I’m all for it. Stay safe and watch good movies!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am quite happy with this new order, John. Very pleased with less pollution, few crowds, and more peace and quiet. But I feel for those shop and retail staff who may no longer have a job when all this is over. They may be getting 80% of their wages paid, but many are struggling already on the full 100% they got before.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

  13. Some positives in all this doom and gloom. Roads are clear, less pollution, the supermarket experience is calmer as shoppers are drip fed into the store, people are saying hello more when out and about are just a few. Everyday feels like a Sunday, nice and peaceful. Ian

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks, Ian. In Beetley, most days feel like a Sunday. But this is like a ‘super-quiet’ Sunday. With the exception of the price-hikes, I could happly live like this.
      Take care my friend.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

All comments welcome

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.