Woolies elderly hour: 'Take a good hard look at ourselves'
The supermarket giant announced that the first hour of trading each day will be open only to the elderly and those with disabilities, but how did we get here?
Yesterday I managed to buy the last pack of pads at my local Woolworths. Today, I've almost gone through them all. Fortunately for me, I pass two Pricelines and a Chemist Warehouse on my way to work. I'm not worried about being able to buy more.
But what about the single mum who may have driven around trying to find a park for 45 minutes yesterday, with her two-year-old in the backseat?
And when she did find that car space, wrangling her (I imagine by now) irritated child into a trolley, only to find that the antiseptic wipes at the front door are now under lock and key at the counter, as they've been stolen too many times?
So she pushed on regardless, desperate for nappies, Panadol and the sanitary items she needs - but they're all gone.
And when I say gone, I mean the only thing left in the pasta aisle was a completely intact installation of gluten-free boxes. I guess people forget their trendy dietary requirements in the midst of panic buying... because there was plenty of kombucha too.
And in the midst of it all, a lone elderly man, leaning heavily on a cane, slowly walked out of the store with a completely empty reusable bag.
I turned to ask if he needed help, but he immediately shrank away from me, the fear in his eyes like something I've only ever seen on film. I mentally ran through how much toilet paper and Panadol I had in the house, wondering if I had something he may have needed... but as I looked at his terrified face, I realised the only help I could offer was to not add to the clear mental strain he was already under.
Today Woolworths announced that they would be dedicating the first hour of trade to the elderly and those with disabilities, so I hope that poor man is able to get what he needs soon.
Yes, it's a fantastic move from the supermarket giant, who has no doubt borne the brunt of completely unprecedented behaviour, and hopefully, despite the early hour, those in need are able to make it there.
But now I ask you, dear reader - how did we get here?
After the absolute outpouring of community love, support and charity we saw as our country burned, how are we now turning our backs on one another?
Are the same people who proudly proclaimed they'd donated to the RFS on Facebook, also stuffing their car boot with more vegetables than they can consume before they go rancid?
Are the people who volunteered to pack and send goods to those in need, also stashing enough toilet paper in their garage for a year?
We're all scared. And yes, fear makes us do crazy things. You saw someone grabbing three bags of pasta and thought "there's only two left, I better grab those before someone else does"... despite knowing you already have enough in the pantry at home. I'm guilty of thinking that way too.
But please, try to reason with your anxious self.
Spare a thought for those who struggle to make ends meet on a daily basis, even when there isn't a pandemic swirling around them.
For those who rely on welfare payments, eating the same white bread and Vegemite sandwiches every day because that's all they can afford.
For the single mum who hasn't been able to buy nappies for the past two weeks.
For those in the tourism and hospitality industries, whose job security is beyond shaky right now.
For the elderly man with no family support, who only has the capability to walk to his nearest supermarket.
For those with disabilities that prevent them from driving to two or three supermarkets in a day, to find the items they need most.
For the families who lost their homes, their pets... their everything, to fire.
Right now, there is enough for all of us. Please remember that the item that's a maybe for you, might be a must have for somebody else. We can't control the pandemic unfolding around us, but we can control our behaviour during it.
This originally appeared on Whimn and has been republished with permission.