By Sophia Yakumithis
When I’m living at home, I have a very specific routine which looks something like waking up around 6 a.m., getting into my car, backing out of the driveway and somehow ending up at Starbucks. My therapist calls it OCD with an addiction, but I call it not wanting to see another day without an iced Americano.
Naturally, when the coronavirus pandemic led to my governor issuing a “stay-at-home order,” my first concern was for the substance abuse I am nurturing oh-so-tenderly.
There’s an autoimmune disease in my bag of tricks and an intense hatred for being cooped up inside, but those were the least of my concerns, the pinnacle being my access to store-bought caffeine.
The language of the order, however, categorizes businesses that offer take-out or drive-thru as “essential businesses,” which can choose to remain open. That includes select Starbucks locations, and the closest one to my house is inside a supermarket without a seating area. Because my Americano access remains intact, that portion of the document is the only thing preventing me from driving to my governor’s house with a battery ram to have a word with him.
My daily coffee runs, which require so much hand washing that my fingers have Howard Hughes-style cuts all over them, have brought to light something really disturbing, though: the amount of human beings who are still stockpiling like the rapture is going to happen has not changed since the pandemic started scaring the plebeians a few weeks ago.
Here’s a rundown.
The stay-at-home order was published, giving people a two day’s notice so they could get enough stock for the week. Supermarket hours were also restricted to accommodate the elderly, and the one near my house chose to allot 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. for this time. With both of these regulations in mind, people are supposed to remain at home for two weeks and ONLY leave their homes for DIRE CIRCUMSTANCES.
I considered giving up coffee on this count, but decided not to for a few sound reasons. First, I legitimately run in and out when I get my coffee. I don’t even put money in the barista’s hand, and they are required to wear gloves anyways. Second, I don’t go anywhere else. That is the ONLY place I go to leave my house. And if I choose to see a friend, that means I have to sacrifice going to the store in the morning.
That said, my naive ass thought the order would lead people to go out maybe once or twice during the week to get essentials they don’t have access to. And from what I’ve seen at my now 8 a.m. coffee runs, the people of Ohio “need” 84 bags of Doritos and 17 cans of tuna, daily.
I wanted to find out if this swarm of people was exclusive to the early morning, so I got in the car a few times and drove past just to humor myself. And it’s not. It’s an all day event. Why do these people keep shopping? Please explain this one to me.
It’s almost like if you appear to impose a restriction on capital, good consumers will do what they do best: spend even more.
The order is not a restriction on consumption, it begs that people avoid worsening a problem that’s killing thousands of people and spiking a curve that needs to flatten. Soon. Before more people die.
So my daily Americano gallavants are currently at a standstill due to other people’s idiocracy, but I feel that I am doing a selfless favor for my fellow men. And going pretty stir crazy.