Shopping for a large family during a pandemic is no easy task

Having a larger than average family can come with it’s own set of complications on the best of days. Having a larger than average family during a pandemic… well, that’s when things can get really interesting really quickly.

As the days and weeks continue to go on and the safer at home or quarantine mandates continue to be enforced, I’ve noticed that there have been some changes that I have had to make that I honestly wasn’t prepared for. The biggest of which has been how I do my grocery shopping.

I have no problem with staying home and I agree that we should be limiting our exposure time to people outside of our immediate family to reduce our risk of catching Covid-19 (Coronavirus) as much as possible or spreading it to others. This is a scary time and no one wants to take unnecessary risks, especially when your kids are involved. BUt the way shops are doing things now, it can be pretty difficult not to expose yourself at some point.

With having 5 hungry kids, 2 adults, and a dog the size of another full grown man in the house, you can imagine the amount of food we go through in a week. We are used to stocking up for about two to three weeks at a time, so not going to the store often is not that big of a deal for me.

Large family pandemic life

My problem lies with the limits being implemented in store we frequently shop at.

I’ve found that more and more stores are implementing limitations on the amount of necessary items you can purchase at a time. Signs reading “1 of these items only” or “limit 2 per purchase” line grocery store shelves as you walk the aisles. Milk, eggs, bread, cheese, yogurts, water, diapers, wipes, soaps… all of these items (and more) are being limited to very small quantities per shopping experience.

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With a family of 2-4, being able to buy only 1 loaf of bread or 1 gallon of milk, might not seem like a big deal, but for a family of 7 or more… this can be very hard. My family of 7 can easily go through an entire loaf of bread in a single meal, just making sandwiches. A gallon of milk… I’m lucky if it lasts a full day. A dozen eggs? At 2 eggs per person for a family of 7… well you do the math. The numbers just don’t add up.

I’m lucky that I happen to live close to several warehouse stores where I’m able to buy a box of 30 eggs at a time, but even that doesn’t last long in our house. And not every family is that lucky. I have friends, who’s family’s live out in areas where these warehouse store aren’t at and so they are having to rely on the local grocery store to be able to get the amount of food their families need. These limitations are making it hard to do that, though.

This means that many families are now having to risk multiple exposures. They are either having to go to multiple stores at a time to get enough food for their families to last a couple of days or they are having to go to the store almost daily to feed everyone. All because stores are limiting the amount of food being able to be bought at a time to prevent hoarding and not taking into account number of people in a household.

If the whole point of quarantine and safer at home initiatives is to lower the risk of exposure, then isn’t this defeating the purpose when store refuse to take into account family size when it comes to quantities?

There are options to help reduce your need to physically go into a store. Things like curbside pickup, food delivery programs like Shipt and Instacart, and amazon pantry are all great alternatives but unfortunately not everyone has access to these. Many curbside pickup slots are booked for the next two to three weeks and not everyone has delivery services available in their area. If you are able to use either of these, they are great alternative options to having to go out and expose yourself multiple times, but even still, the same limits on products still exist. So you may find yourself having to do a combination of multiple curbside pickups or multiple deliveries.

In the end, this whole situation is horrible for everyone. It’s scary and we really don’t know how much longer it is going to last. No one wants to risk exposing themselves and others to this virus but we need to find a better way of handling certain situations to help reduce risk of even further exposure. Either by having stores take into account family size instead of a blanket quantity limitation or offering more services like more curbside pickup time slots and extended delivery options and  possibly cutting delivery costs to help those people with no other options but to go to the store more frequently.

I’d be interested to hear your ideas and if you think there is a better way to handle these kinds of situations. Let me know in the comment section below.

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