The Tyranny of Need

I have been grocery shopping, again.  My first adventure was at Aldis, and it was packed with customers.  No social distancing was possible…although it was suggested throughout the store, including posted arrows, every few feet, to direct the patrons which way to go.  About half of the shoppers had on face masks, while the rest did not.  One gentleman, who was wearing a black face masks,  was raising his voice to a clear decibel level for the other, young man that was accompanying him, to facilitate his hearing the military style instructions that he was uttering…regarding what to purchase and how many to place in the cart.  Another, elderly, fellow was standing and looking bewildered as he studied the shelves.  He did not have a face mask.  A, wonderful, young woman who was an Aldi employee…helped the old gentleman.

The last two days have been devoted to shopping at Sams.  Both days have begun by standing in a long line and a Sams staffer telling you when you can enter the store.  The rule seems to be one at a time.  Again, about half of the patrons have on masks.  There is an impending meat shortage due to staff at meat processing plants contracting COVID-19…in large numbers.  President Trump has signed an executive order that all meat processing plants shall remain open.  But what about the, poor, employees who are sick and and in fear of their lives?  Processes have changed in our 2020 pandemic.  We pay our bill by check at Sams.  The attendant told me that there was no need to sign the check.  She attempted to scan my Sams Card…to no avail, and then reluctantly took a corner of it in her hand.  She was afraid…and I was fearful for her.  Sams is preparing for the impending meat shortage…and the draconian run on the valued commodity.  Several posted signs in the meat department instructed the shopper that they could purchase only one of each cut…  I have been buying food at Sams…for many years.  It is a bulk purchase store…yet the packaging is much larger than before.

So, the passionate discussion is great as to when and how to reopen our economy.  This is not a bad thing to talk about…people are out of work and without money and hungry and in danger of homelessness.  That is not lost on me…as I have experienced all of the above!  Today I was able to stock up on the, prescribed ‘one cut of meat’ rule at Sams, while during earlier times in my life I had neither the funds for the one cut of meat…or any meat…  Today…I shopped for something that we could live without…while many Americans would be ecstatic to, just, be able so shop for the essential staples to feed their children!  Sadly, we have become a country of he have’s and the haves and the have-nots.  There are millions of Americans…who fear for their lives…and who fear that they may starve to death…or be cast out of their dwellings.  Life must always be our primary goal…for our human journey.  But, the extreme stress and pain…and total desperation of those who do not have their next rent payment…and no milk for the baby…and no food…or as I experienced, on more than one occasion, Cremora to eat…or potatoes to to eat….or one sandwich per day as I was laboring to build a church…can not be discounted…

burger with sliced vegetables close up photography
Photo by Anna Tukhfatullina Food Photographer/Stylist on

When MJ and I got married on March 24, 1978…I weighed 169 pounds…and I am 6 feet and 3 1/2 inches…I was gaunt…  I understand…clearly…what it feels like to be a captive of the…tyranny of need…


3 thoughts on “The Tyranny of Need

  1. I’ve been lucky I suppose. My favorite grocery store, Walmart Neighborhood Store, has a counter outside. He keeps track of how many go in and out and where he would start forming a line is clearly marked 6′ apart.
    The Winn Dixie nearby has a sign out front that a mask is necessary to enter the store.

    Liked by 1 person

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