BOISE — The hours and days since President Donald Trump declared a national emergency in response to the spread of the coronavirus have been surreal.
Anyone who missed the announcement in this age of instantaneous news alerts could be forgiven for not realizing that if they hadn’t already bought toilet paper, they were too late.
Driving around Boise at times has felt a bit like a scene from “The Twilight Zone.” Where are the people? Some residents are scared, some are angry and some are both. Bewilderment reigns.
But I found solace in the unlikeliest place — Costco.
I live in south Boise and drive past Costco almost daily. It’s close enough that I can drive there for a single item or I can tell from a glance at the parking lot that it’s not worth my time. It’s where I get my prescriptions filled.
On Sunday, there were a few staples I needed that I typically get there, and my wife and I decided to brave the crowds. Thankfully, there really weren’t any.
There were people; there always are when it’s open, but not swarms.
Approaching the store I wondered if it was open as the large, glass-windowed garage doors were closed. Closer to the entrance we encountered Costco employees with signs directing customers to an alternate entrance to the west of the regular one. They were smiling and jovial — a welcome sight.
As I headed that entrance, you could see a gloved crew of employees cleaning the carts with disinfectant. There were signs reminding people to practice social distancing. As customers got closer to the store’s interior, another gloved employee would ask if they needed a cart, and if they did, would select one and steer it toward them, reminding them that the cart had just been disinfected.
It was at that point that we saw a sign with big letters listing sold-out items. Toilet paper, of course, but also dried dog food, which was on my list. Drats!
Customers inside the store were actively courteous in observing personal space.
I made it through the store in short order, got almost all my items and made the short drive home.
I had to go back again Tuesday for a prescription and again checked for dog food — still out.
But this time I made a point to tell a half dozen employees how much I appreciated how they were handling the issue. I don’t always do that, but I felt compelled.
In a stressful time their planning, organization and smiles are helping allay people’s fears.
Kudos, Costco, for setting such a fine example.
Now, about that dog food.
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