covid19 concerns

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COVID-19 Health & Safety in Health Food Stores

Published April 6, 2020 by Maryanne

Health Food -- My coconut wrap, arugula, avo, tomato, coconut cheeseCoconut wrap with avocado. tomato, and arugula 

Yesterday I had a horrible experience in a health food store. The owner sent me an email apologizing, so I won’t “name and shame” but I think it’s important to share my experience in case others have something similar happen to them. And I made a promise to myself to never support them again after what went down.

First, this is MY POLICY…

Beginning today, I am no longer supporting mom and pop “health” food stores who do not respect the boundaries of COVID19. This includes: 1. Cashiers/managers and other workers NOT social distancing. 2. Stores that do not sanitize their carriages; 3. Store that have a “policy” for CUSTOMERS to wear those vinyl/latex gloves because they are unsanitary when used incorrectly; 4. Stores that do not clean their parking lots that are filled with said gloves discarded on the ground.

Now, my bad experience…

There’s a health food store I’ve favored for over a decade. They had everything. Great produce, mineral make-up, toiletries, and perfume that doesn’t test on animals (I’ve used cruelty free products since 1996), and even a great selection of incense.

Two weeks ago, I noticed they had vinyl gloves for customers to wear to shop. These types of gloves never sat well with me. In fact, I think they are disgusting. Nevertheless, I put a pair on and within seconds I was pulling them off because I could feel my sensitive skin reacting to them. I tossed them in the garbage. I shopped, then afterwards I went to my car and noticed these gloves were discarded all over the lot. The store didn’t take care to clean up and put them in the garbage. I found this to be vile and was proud of myself for not participating in the glove thing.

Yesterday I went back to the store and now it was mandatory that customers had to wear gloves. I told a cashier that I couldn’t wear them because last week they made my hands red.

Well, she took it upon herself to come out from behind her cash register and scold me — two feet away from me! Not at all social distancing. Now I was freaking out because I knew this person was a smoker and not in the best of health. Even though I’m very healthy, I didn’t want her to pass it to me, if she had it, then I might pass it to someone else who isn’t very healthy! So not cool.

At this point, I’d also like to say, that this store does not sanitize their carriages. This is something that never bothered me before. I am not a germ phobic, but now with COVID19, I can’t…

Anyway, I told her I was going to contact the owner of the store because she was harassing me. She went nuts and told the manager of the make-up department that I was going to tell on her. What a big baby! The make-up manager wasn’t much better in insisting that I wear the gloves. It made no difference to her when I said I was a professional writer/author and I couldn’t afford to have my hands get red, itchy, or whatever else would happen because two weeks ago I had a bad reaction to the vinyl gloves. Did she give a shit? No. Instead the two women continued to behave like scary, uptight school marms as they went on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on about “store policy.”

I was like, “forget it,” and left. Without groceries.

Then I called one of their other stores to speak to the owner. He wasn’t there but another manager told me I could go back into the store wearing WINTER GLOVES.

REALLY?! WINTER GLOVES?! That is even more unsanitary! I practically laughed in her face.

I left feeling defeated. It was a 25-minute drive and now I had no groceries for the week. When I got home, I researched and found this wonderful article from Men’s Health: You Shouldn’t Be Wearing Gloves To Go Grocery Shopping

I smiled to myself and posted this on Facebook. A nurse friend said the article is correct. Being right was cool, but it didn’t take away from the drama of being yelled at by two misinformed puppets who seemed to take a sadist delight in ganging up on a friendly, happy, petite, attractive woman. It was an extreme level of catty I haven’t experienced in a long time; from two mean women who were stuck in a go-nowhere job. Perhaps they were pissed that they had to work during the COVID19 pandemic. But that is not my problem. They should take it up with their boss.

The incident took it’s toll on me and I had a headache since last night. This is when I realized, you can’t call a place a health food store when it’s stressing you out, because STRESS IS NOT HEALTHY!

Later that day, my husband took me to Whole Foods. Over the years I had my issues with that store too, but to my surprise, the way they were handing things was impressive. They had customers lined up outside, letting people in as others left. Everyone was politely standing six feet apart. The wait wasn’t bad at all, especially since it was a gorgeous spring day.

Inside some were disobeying the six feet rule, but my immune system is pretty stellar so I wasn’t worried. Especially their mouths were covered with masks and they weren’t scolding me, so no accidental spit was coming out of their mouths like how some people get when they yell.

When I paid, and I am not an Amazon Prime member so I don’t get a discount, my total was 20 percent less than what I usually pay at that mom and pop store. They also carry some brands I like that the other store doesn’t.

So until this pandemic ends and I can go food shopping every day like I used to and support other mom and pop health food stores, I think I’ll be just fine going to Whole Foods as a one-stop shopping place.

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing. She is also available for book signings and motivational speaking engagements. She is the author of the following books :

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, visit: https://www.amazon.com/Be-Extra-Ordinary-Ways-Become/dp/1733546227

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

“The Gypsy Smiled” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Gypsy-Smiled-Maryanne-Christiano-Mistretta-ebook/dp/B074VC7MT9