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    The Unlocked Diaries

    As a counterpoint to the Lockdown one, perhaps I (and others of course) can share how it's going on the outside, keyworking, public facing world. Don't mean it to be self-indulgent, but hopefully my observations and insights might be of interest. Admittedly I see the worst of the general public, I'm sure there are many people (like the good OTF'ers) obeying the orders, staying home and social distancing on their neighbourhood exercise, but I don't see them, so maybe I'm overstating how badly it's going.

    Why the Lockdown isn't working:

    Workers
    It's not just me (food retail), the NHS and the emergency services who are out at work. Waiting for the bus this morning, the road was probably 80% of normal, with the usual cars and vans with high-viz clad occupants. Factories, warehouses, transport... basically any business that hasn't been told to shut down hasn't, and because the lockdown was phrased as "don't go to work unless it's essential for you to be there (i.e. you can't work from home), an awful lot of people who can't drive a forklift or operate an injection moulding machine at home, are still working and their workplace is open.
    The phrasing should of course have been "unless your job is essential [to the fight against the virus/maintenance of civil life]", and it should have been followed with an announcement of the closure of all non-essential businesses. It's what Italy eventually did, but why not be ahead of their playbook, which is not playing out at all well for them.
    A hint (OK, a dollop) of inverted snobbery from me here, but a lot of the media coverage has the tone of "we're all working from home and in isolation now...", with attendant memes and lulz on social media. And then they're incredulous that all these people are piling on to the tube every morning. It's because they get paid less than you and so can't afford to live where you do, and they still have to work because they can't afford not to.
    We're moving from Saturday to Sunday timetables here next week, which will make it more awkward to get to work on time, but won't actually solve the problem of having to go to work at the open, non-essential workplaces.

    It's not being taken seriously
    At the shop we've taken steps to enforce social distancing (security, limited admittance, barriers, tramlines, one way system, announcements, signage), all of which are making shopping less of a pleasure, but I'd still estimate half of the shoppers have come because it's something they're allowed to do, not something that they absolutely have to do. They're still trying to turn up en famille (and getting turned away, 1 shopper per household only unless it's one parent with children). They're also shopping at multiple places, I'm hearing "we'll get that at Xxxxxx", and there are groups turning up who don't obviously live together, getting crates of beer to go and enjoy the sunshine somewhere.
    Eventually it will start to get through that by being in the shop, you are potentially risking lives. It should be an ESSENTIAL shopping trip, where you or someone you know has run out of food. Not a top-up shop, not to buy one or two ingredients or a special treat. Just go without for another day or two, you've got enough food in, remember when you kept coming in and stripping the shelves?

    Elsewhere, in the town centre, it's much quieter than normal and there's some social distancing with those who are out, but there are still people with no obvious reason to be there, and the usual gatherings outside the 24 hour international shops.

    The above all relates to:

    Lack of enforcement
    I've not even seen a police presence on my travels and have only heard one anecdotal report of a checkpoint. If virtually no one is being challenged, then they will carry on as they are. Increased enforcement will only deter the casual transgressor, rather than the determined repeat offender, but something is better than virtually nothing. There is now a letter for me and colleagues to carry, but it's not even on letterheaded paper, so doesn't lead me to expect much of an interrogation. Perhaps the new law will ramp it up a bit, and the upcoming cold weather will put off the daytrippers, but like the obstacles at the shop, there needs to be something which annoys people to the extent that they think twice before making a non-essential journey.
    Have the police take their names, whatever their reason to be out, a lot of people a) won't like it for various reasons and b) will think that the police have the means may to look them up next time they get stopped (which they won't, but they don't know that). Failing that, army on the streets, SIM card tracking, whatever it takes to make them STAY AT HOME.

    What is working
    Social distancing on the bus. We've got it, mainly because given a choice people always choose a seat as far away from anyone else as possible, and now they're half empty it's easier.

    As the above suggests, it's a worrying and stressful existence, especially with virtually no testing going on. And, although I'm not privy to much in the way of confidential information, the impression I get from the preparations that are being made higher up suggest they know it is about to get extremely bad, very soon. Maybe that will shake people up. In recent days I've moved from not knowing anyone who had actually got the virus, to a husband of a distant, barely known colleague, to someone I know's brother, then a friend's uncle.. all in ICU, on life support. They were probably piling into the shops stocking up on bog roll a couple of weeks ago. Or saying it was all a load of rubbish, only the flu...

    #2
    Excellent idea, sir

    From my experience, things are being taken considerably more serious here in NYC (at least in our neighbourhood).

    Comment


      #3
      Round my way - only my wife goes to the store and we are going about twice a week. Once to Trader Joes, once to the more general supermarket. Before it would be a lot more often and with the kids.

      All the liquor stores and breweries are doing curb-side pick up. Suburban America means drive through pharmacies, so outside of those trips no one is going anywhere. As a runner, the roads are way more empty and the asshole drivers (who honk at you running toward traffic on a road with a parking lane on which you are running) are fewer. The running population has jumped remarkably. I miss the track for specific runs, but saw how many kids were there because all organized sport is out and completely get the closure (though I should be allowed to run - obviously). I do mean to make it to one park with an awful hill for some hill sprints.

      It sounds like some stores are taking it more seriously - lines at TJs are because they limit capacity in store and have the spacing outside. But they are a good-to-their-staff store, so it isn't surprising.

      The guy at my local liquor store is donating 10% of profits and doing a round-up-change fundraiser for a bunch of the restaurants and businesses that are getting crushed by this. There is certainly a community spirit to keep the town going.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by jwdd27 View Post
        As a counterpoint to the Lockdown one, perhaps I (and others of course) can share how it's going on the outside, keyworking, public facing world. Don't mean it to be self-indulgent, but hopefully my observations and insights might be of interest. Admittedly I see the worst of the general public, I'm sure there are many people (like the good OTF'ers) obeying the orders, staying home and social distancing on their neighbourhood exercise, but I don't see them, so maybe I'm overstating how badly it's going.

        Why the Lockdown isn't working:

        Workers
        It's not just me (food retail), the NHS and the emergency services who are out at work. Waiting for the bus this morning, the road was probably 80% of normal, with the usual cars and vans with high-viz clad occupants. Factories, warehouses, transport... basically any business that hasn't been told to shut down hasn't, and because the lockdown was phrased as "don't go to work unless it's essential for you to be there (i.e. you can't work from home), an awful lot of people who can't drive a forklift or operate an injection moulding machine at home, are still working and their workplace is open.
        The phrasing should of course have been "unless your job is essential [to the fight against the virus/maintenance of civil life]", and it should have been followed with an announcement of the closure of all non-essential businesses. It's what Italy eventually did, but why not be ahead of their playbook, which is not playing out at all well for them.
        A hint (OK, a dollop) of inverted snobbery from me here, but a lot of the media coverage has the tone of "we're all working from home and in isolation now...", with attendant memes and lulz on social media. And then they're incredulous that all these people are piling on to the tube every morning. It's because they get paid less than you and so can't afford to live where you do, and they still have to work because they can't afford not to.
        We're moving from Saturday to Sunday timetables here next week, which will make it more awkward to get to work on time, but won't actually solve the problem of having to go to work at the open, non-essential workplaces.

        It's not being taken seriously
        At the shop we've taken steps to enforce social distancing (security, limited admittance, barriers, tramlines, one way system, announcements, signage), all of which are making shopping less of a pleasure, but I'd still estimate half of the shoppers have come because it's something they're allowed to do, not something that they absolutely have to do. They're still trying to turn up en famille (and getting turned away, 1 shopper per household only unless it's one parent with children). They're also shopping at multiple places, I'm hearing "we'll get that at Xxxxxx", and there are groups turning up who don't obviously live together, getting crates of beer to go and enjoy the sunshine somewhere.
        Eventually it will start to get through that by being in the shop, you are potentially risking lives. It should be an ESSENTIAL shopping trip, where you or someone you know has run out of food. Not a top-up shop, not to buy one or two ingredients or a special treat. Just go without for another day or two, you've got enough food in, remember when you kept coming in and stripping the shelves?

        Elsewhere, in the town centre, it's much quieter than normal and there's some social distancing with those who are out, but there are still people with no obvious reason to be there, and the usual gatherings outside the 24 hour international shops.

        The above all relates to:

        Lack of enforcement
        I've not even seen a police presence on my travels and have only heard one anecdotal report of a checkpoint. If virtually no one is being challenged, then they will carry on as they are. Increased enforcement will only deter the casual transgressor, rather than the determined repeat offender, but something is better than virtually nothing. There is now a letter for me and colleagues to carry, but it's not even on letterheaded paper, so doesn't lead me to expect much of an interrogation. Perhaps the new law will ramp it up a bit, and the upcoming cold weather will put off the daytrippers, but like the obstacles at the shop, there needs to be something which annoys people to the extent that they think twice before making a non-essential journey.
        Have the police take their names, whatever their reason to be out, a lot of people a) won't like it for various reasons and b) will think that the police have the means may to look them up next time they get stopped (which they won't, but they don't know that). Failing that, army on the streets, SIM card tracking, whatever it takes to make them STAY AT HOME.

        What is working
        Social distancing on the bus. We've got it, mainly because given a choice people always choose a seat as far away from anyone else as possible, and now they're half empty it's easier.

        As the above suggests, it's a worrying and stressful existence, especially with virtually no testing going on. And, although I'm not privy to much in the way of confidential information, the impression I get from the preparations that are being made higher up suggest they know it is about to get extremely bad, very soon. Maybe that will shake people up. In recent days I've moved from not knowing anyone who had actually got the virus, to a husband of a distant, barely known colleague, to someone I know's brother, then a friend's uncle.. all in ICU, on life support. They were probably piling into the shops stocking up on bog roll a couple of weeks ago. Or saying it was all a load of rubbish, only the flu...
        Fantastic - thanks again. Went to the local shops today (first time out in three days). every shop had measures in place, Only two in he off licence. Only one at a time in the fishmonger and the butcher. Serious queueing outside at the Tesco metro . \

        Your points about "working from home" are excellent. and thanks for everything you and your colleagues do

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by jwdd27 View Post
          , although I'm not privy to much in the way of confidential information, the impression I get from the preparations that are being made higher up suggest they know it is about to get extremely bad, very soon.
          Your impressions are correct.

          Thanks for the post and the insights jwdd27 Your supply chain commentary helped me feel a lot less anxious when every news report was full of bare supermarket aisles. I've really appreciated it.

          Comment


            #6
            As everyone else says: thank you for the perspective from the real world. I've been in one donut shop and two drive-thrus in the last week, I think. I've seen a handful of shops from the outside that seemed to be behaving very sensibly, but it's hard to know from the outside what's going on inside.

            Originally posted by jwdd27 View Post
            A hint (OK, a dollop) of inverted snobbery from me here, but a lot of the media coverage has the tone of "we're all working from home and in isolation now...", with attendant memes and lulz on social media. And then they're incredulous that all these people are piling on to the tube every morning. It's because they get paid less than you and so can't afford to live where you do, and they still have to work because they can't afford not to.
            This is very true. As has been observed elsewhere, there's a huge class/wealth disparity in the kinds of people who can do their jobs at home, and those who can't. People whose jobs are sitting in front of computers can do them anywhere, and that's generally the university educated middle classes. People who do jobs that have to be on-site are generally (although not exclusively) in a different income bracket - everything from street cleaners to bartenders to shelf-stackers, it's the working classes who can't stay home. And it's not us keyboard jockeys who have either lost their jobs or who are interacting with the public every day and therefore putting ourselves at risk of catching the virus.

            And, of course, the media are all keyboard jockeys whose friends are almost all keyboard jockeys, so they imagine that everyone can do what they're doing. Self-isolate while still working.

            Comment


              #7
              I don’t know if anyone actually assumes that everyone can work from home. But what is accomplished by just fretting about it and being ground down by survivor guilt?

              A lot of people on the tube, etc, can’t work remotely, but I suspect a lot could if their employer tried harder.


              Around here, most people seem to have got the message. I see people going for walks where one person is on the sidewalk and the other is in the street.

              I saw five students playing beer bong on their front lawn. They weren’t quite six feet apart. Maybe they all live in that house. I
              haven’t seen anything that looks like an actual party.
              Last edited by Hot Pepsi; 27-03-2020, 00:17.

              Comment


                #8
                It's been depressing at our local shops although Mrs. S went for a prescription and some soy milk earlier today and said it seemed to have thinned out a bit, and people may actually be trying to distance.

                On dog walks, again people seem to be getting the message gradually.

                But it all feels too slow in Australia.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Pretty grim today, I just felt defeated.

                  Customers still not getting it, seem surprised and annoyed that there is a queue to get in, and then exceptionally annoyed at the arrows on the floor indicating a one way flow.
                  And argumentative and aggressive when made to stand the government mandated 2m away.
                  Just trying to save your and my life, pal, nothing personal.
                  Yes, it is meant to be inconvenient. Shopping is no longer a fun leisure activity, it is a potentially life threatening ordeal which should only be done when absolutely necessary.

                  Probably because I felt shit mentally I started to feel bad physically, but I'm 90% convinced it was my long-standing sinus problem that was the cause rather than Covid. But if that 90% drops any lower I'll be straight off to isolation, not worth it.

                  The journey home cheered me slightly, Huddersfield is impressively locked down at 10pm on a Friday night. I saw one pizza delivery man, and I was the only person on the bus between Huddersfield and Halifax, it's usually a packed party bus on a Friday.

                  Bus drivers seem to drive faster with fewer passengers.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Really sorry to hear that you are still being subjected to that, jwdd.

                    I don't know if helps to hear that shoppers in NYC are very different in their behaviour, but at least it demonstrates that the species is capable of something better.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I had to sort out a prescription today. CVS was basically a wall of semi-transparent tarp over the pharmacy. Meantime there were several isles of older people doing their whatever-you-shop-for-in-CVS shop. It was bizarre - it is probably *the* riskiest place to be in this. Fortunately the drive-thru option (with a ~45 minute wait) meant inside was kind of quiet for RX.

                      I only went in after two days of trying to sort this all out with my doctor and the pharmacy and had to sort it out today. Med withdrawal isn't fun.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        I've always known that I live in a bubble of sorts, but never realised that it was one in which essential services function and people help their neighbours.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Still frustrating at work, although gradually people are getting used to the 2 metre thing, although they still seem to think that if they mumble in a heavy asian accent while wearing a face mask they'll be heard and understood.

                          We had been turning away family groups, but now the word from on high is that we shouldn't do that. Apparently they (the corporate management) are "encouraging" people not to shop as a family. Not sure how they're doing that, mass telepathy perhaps. It's caused a bit if trouble, the main way social distancing falls down is chaotic and/or ignorant families with children running around. And as I pointed out, it makes it seem the management don't care about infecting staff.

                          There's some relaxation of restrictions - now no limit on the amount of fresh food, which is sensible as it can't really be stockpiled, we've got tons of it.
                          Opening extended until 10pm from Saturday
                          Some fresh counters partially re-opening, where they can make stuff for the customer to pick up - i.e. the store made pizzas and hot food cabinet. Still no direct serve over though.

                          These measures seem to be a reaction to how little money we are now making - our customer capacity is now set to 250 (not that rigorously enforced, it's a security guard with an app on his phone, and when he goes on break, he takes his phone with him innit), so takings are way down.
                          Having the kiddiewinks come in is probably half an eye on the warehouses and warehouses of Easter Eggs and chocolate we need to sell before April 11, the smaller eggs are already getting discounted which I've never known.

                          The staff are dropping like the proverbial flies (although no confirmed cases), but are still being recruited, especially in home shopping, where we're now going to pick from 2am until 8am.

                          Away from the shop, the town is actually fairly impressively locked down and empty, and last night's bus (emergency key worker timetable - a weekday/Sunday mashup) contained me and one other, a Northern Rail train driver.

                          Day off today, to the allotment, where a slightly over zealous sign tells us we should not be staying too long, and should not socialise with other plot holders. They don't really know me, do they?

                          Comment


                            #14
                            jwdd27 hope you keep well. Sounds like a nightmare.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I have found the shopping experience at my local Tesco pretty good. No arguments, people queue, distancing inside shop. Only obvious non-compliant group I have seen was 3 teens in a wood and they kept their distances.

                              Comment


                                #16
                                Same experience here in my local Mercadona.

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  Had a good experience buying more dog food today. The place has a system where you just email your order and then they call you and you can pick it up from in front of their store. They just put your order on a table with your name on it. Somebody is there to monitor from a distance. I made a point to also buy some expensive treats just to help them out.

                                  Went to the regular grocery today. No toilet paper but otherwise well organized and stocked.

                                  Comment


                                    #18
                                    Still working in the office here, but at skeleton level. Wife is working from home, as are my three three offsiders. With schools finally winding down to pupil free days stress levels among members have dropped. Newly announced intrastate travel restrictions will cause some issues though as people who'd normally return to Perth will be stuck wherever they work. Freeway noticably less busy this morning. I'm extremely conscious of my level of privilege: secure job that won't vanish, considerate employers and thus far remaining healthy. Thoughts with all on here who are not so fortunate. Via a Facebook group saw a guy in extreme distress. Very proud the eldest and his colleagues talked the guy down and put him in immediate touch with help which seems to have calmed the situation. If you are in trouble please, please, share with someone you trust or professionals.

                                    Comment


                                      #19
                                      Well said Uncle.

                                      Comment


                                        #20
                                        I was sorry to hear jw's experience. My two trips to the supermarket in the last fortnight were totally the opposite, with the overwhelming majority being courteous and smiley as we all did a little dance with our trolleys to stay 2m apart.

                                        I have witnessed some selfish behaviour during this crisis but happily I've seen far more incidents of folk being thoughtful and kind. Cooking, shopping and looking out for neighbours and vulnerable family members.

                                        Comment


                                          #21
                                          Recent shopping trends in Spain; sales up for:

                                          Beer 78%
                                          Wine 63%
                                          Olives 98%
                                          Crisps 87%
                                          Chocolate 79%
                                          Ice cream 76%
                                          Anchovies 60%
                                          Flour 196%


                                          https://elpais.com/espana/madrid/202...as-fritas.html

                                          Comment


                                            #22
                                            I'm really getting sick of telling my colleagues at work and people in the places I deliver to please keep their distance. I think half the time they just forget, but there's a huge proportion who just shrug or even think I'm being funny.

                                            The 1.5m rule here is totally inadequate as people think a metre is OK. I honestly think I must come within a metre of people at least 50 times a day.

                                            Luckily, I cycle to work. If I had to use public transport, I don't think I'd bother going. I'm 56, have high blood pressure and am on meds for it. It's almost inevitable that I'm going to catch this, and all because take away hamburgers are necessary, apparently.

                                            And yes, it is very much a social class thing. I can't really voluntarily stop, and if I don't work ill lose at least 40% of my wages as they are earnt through overtime, shift allowance and weekend work.

                                            I've often said that the major class difference is whether you have to destroy your social/ family life or your health in order to earn the money you need to survive.

                                            In the McDonald's themselves it's honestly impossible for people to constantly keep 1.5m apart.

                                            In the supermarket I shop at I'm terrified for the cashiers. They have perspex screens but people bag up their shopping less than a metre away from them. The other day, the person before me did a huge shop and took ages packing it away. My stuff was right next to his and someone else was packing up close by on the other side. I stood away and waited before I started on my own. But then people just kept coming through and I just stood there. Nobody seemed to understand why. Yes, terrified for those cashiers, and all people like yourself, jwdd.

                                            Comment


                                              #23
                                              I believe that some of this is down to routine and subconscious behaviours.

                                              I've noticed that some people are more likely to maintain a reasonable distance if one is wearing a mask and gloves, and am considering donning same for just that reason. It is as if the attire "reminds" them that we are not in normal times.

                                              Comment


                                                #24
                                                There might be something in that. The security guards out the front here look almost paramilitary with their all black clothing, scarves and masks, and I think it instils a bit of necessary fear in to the shopping trip. Plus the barked orders: "queue here! Stop there! Follow the arrows!"
                                                The one way system is starting to work as customers are starting to police each other on it, which has led to a few entertaining shouted slanging matches.

                                                All quantity restrictions have been lifted except for bog roll and baby milk, somewhat prematurely and we're not shouting about it as we're not quite ready for the local shopkeepers to resume their bulk buying.

                                                Comment


                                                  #25
                                                  No barked orders here; in fact all very civil and self-policed to a large extent.

                                                  Comment

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