This morning I woke up and all I could think about was my recent visit to the supermarket.
During my visit, you couldn’t find an egg or a loaf of bread. The shelves were so barren you’d be hard-pressed to find a bread crumb or a speck of lint on them.
I was disappointed, but not shocked.
That is until I approached an employee at the supermarket, and we got into a conversation:
Me: “Hi, I’m just wondering, what time do you get deliveries?
I’d love to come around that time and get some groceries.”
Employee: “We get deliveries at 10 pm daily.”
Me: “Brilliant, I’ll come back then.”
Employee: “Sir, we normally open 24 hrs a day, but we close at 10 pm when the deliveries arrive.
We open at 5 am and get greeted by 3,000 people who clean out the shelves.”
I tried to hide my reaction and no doubt failed. I’ve never been great at that. Why would today be any different?
I thanked the person for informing me, wished them well and walked away.
I was beginning to process this. I was beyond disappointment at this stage. I’ll come back to what I felt later.
I made a point on this trip only to buy what I need for the next few days. Maybe I’m dumb and I’ll suffer later.
But I see things differently in 2020.
Every action I take is a vote for the person I want to be.
Every action I take is also a vote for the kind of society I want to live in.
If we all just took what we needed; everyone would have enough.
However, I no longer judge or blame people. During my life, I’ve learned that it’s institutions, structures, and ideologies that govern our behaviour.
We suffer from a zero-sum game scarcity mentality that capitalism has instilled into us.
We’re like a rag soaked in kerosene. The fear that the Corona Virus / Covid19 has unleashed is the match. It is burning through supplies in supermarkets.
When I woke up this morning, I recounted this anecdote to my friend Christian, and it hit me. I realised the feeling I’ve been grappling with, watching people buy up everything in sight at supermarkets without a second thought about the vulnerable in society.
It was rage. I felt rage. A numbing rage.
In spite of the rage, I will continue to vote for the person I want to be.
I will continue to vote for the society I want to live in.
It will begin with my own actions at the supermarket in the midst of the current chaos.