For the past week I’ve been self-isolating whilst Covid-19 precautions are ramping up in the UK. I have asthma but it’s so mild that I’m probably not what the government would classify as vulnerable. Unfortunately this puts me between a rock and a hard place for supplies; shops have no slots for delivery or pick-up, and I don’t want to deprive someone genuinely vulnerable of that service. So in a week when I need food I may be facing a zombie hoard in Sainsbury’s, coughing might-be-Covid on the onions and lingering around the Easter eggs.
I’ll be wearing a mask and gloves to reduce risk (especially as I may be an inadvertent zombie myself), and to make my run as quick as possible I’ve come up with a shopping list strategy, putting items from my online basket into a spreadsheet with these columns:
Item; Approx price; Quantity; Zone; Type
The fourth column ‘Zone’ is roughly where it is in the shop. Rather than organise by aisle number, I’m trying to zone-ify coarsely. Let’s say there’s a moaning zombie infestation in the dairy zone, then I can escape to the cereal zone! My first thoughts for zones are: veg, dairy, meat, snacks, bathing, cleaning, cooking, electronic, cereal and drinks. ‘Veg’ includes fruit. ‘Meat’ includes fish. ‘Cooking’ also includes bread items for now.
The order of zones may seem a bit mad but they are set as if I was walking through the store. So in my local store the veg is at the entrance and the drinks are at the end. If I need to add something later I can re-sort by zone.
The ‘Type’ column is a flag of how much I need something. I’ve currently categorised as: essential, treat, luxury and occasional. These are how much I expect to need things for a two-week period, e.g.:
Now if supplies are running low in stores I can sort by type and dash around the store for essentials:
And if times get really dark over the next few months, I can longingly look at my luxury items, dreaming of the good times when I will finally see them!
Think how amazing jelly popping chocolate will taste when I’ve been imagining it for two months solid.
Anyway, that’s the plan. It will probably need tweaking over the next few months, or maybe it’s just daft and I’ll drop it. Either way, it’s been a useful way to audit shopping, and I’m ready to race around that store.
(Note this was also a chance to learn how to use a spreadsheet on Linux. I’m using LibreOffice Calc, which felt very intuitive, familiar and I was thankful of no fancy ‘UX’ noise.)