The Warehouse – where everyone gets a virus

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24 March 2020

9.46AM

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

Number of covid19 cases in Aotearoa New Zealand: 102

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As of 11.59 on Thursday, most of New Zealand will go into “lock down”. People will be expected not to travel to work; not to socialise; and to stay home.

I will not be one of those people.

I work in a health-related industry and as such, have the questionable privilege of staying at work; helping those who rely on me; and not “hunkering down” with the majority of my fellow New Zealanders in the (relative) safety of their homes.

Which is ok. As I told one of my colleagues when our Prime Minister informed the country we were heading for DefCon 3, and later, DefCon4; “Now we really start to earn our pay...”

For most of Monday, we were busy contacting our clients; liaising with family members; and awaiting instructions. Much of what we accomplished we did using common sense; initiative; and a bit of slow, measured panic.

Our clients will be safe. They will be in lock-down. My colleagues and I have their backs.

As for our own vulnerability to this creeping, invisible, global horror… We don’t think about that. Best not to.

Until…

This morning, as I scrolled through my Twitter feed  for the latest info on covid-19, I came across something which not only shocked me deeply – but which left me exasperated and utterly disgusted. This;

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An unattributed statement to the NZX said;

“At this stage, it is more important than ever that we live up to our purpose of helping Kiwis live better every day by making sure that we show up for our communities in the way that they need.

In the past two weeks the group has seen unprecedented demand for essential items across all our brands. Goods sold included essential items to prepare themselves for the mandatory isolation period of at least four weeks.”

Pejman Okhovat, CEO  of The Warehouse said in a statement on 24 March;

“We’re encouraged by the Government’s continued efforts to protect the health and wellbeing of all New Zealanders. Today we wanted to let you know that The Warehouse stores and online site will remain open, with modifications, to ensure that you can continue to get the essentials and supplies you need. 

We have always been there for our customers and communities when needed, and our team is doing everything possible to make sure that continues. This includes continuing to provide essential products such as groceries, toiletries, winter essentials, blankets, clothing, stationery for home schooling and work from home needs. Our online stores will also continue operating to provide those at home and essential businesses with contactless delivery.

We are very proud of our team and the way they have cared for customers, themselves, and their families during this time. Our team members will continue to do everything possible to help keep The Warehouse stores safe for everyone. These modifications will include more frequent and thorough sanitisation of our stores, and strict personal hygiene guidelines being followed by all.”

He added,

“Our stores are open, with modifications

You will be able to get the essentials and supplies you need from your local The Warehouse store, whether you’re coming into the store or completing a Click & Collect order. We are practicing social distancing, and will be limiting the numbers of people in store.

[…]

We are looking after our team members

We are protecting our team members with increased health and safety requirements. Our commitment to ensuring nobody misses out goes beyond being adequately stocked for customers. We value our team members and we have introduced a new COVID-19 care package for our team members, including the ability to apply for additional paid discretionary leave.”

It was mostly rubbish. Very little of Mr Okhovat’s claims of “social distancing, limiting the numbers of people in store“, “strict personal hygiene guidelines“, “modifications“, etc, were true.

How do I know this?

Because I went and looked.

This morning (24 March), I visited “Red Sheds” at Upper Hutt, Lower Hutt, Petone, and Tory St. What I saw disturbed me profoundly and demonstrated the emptiness of the Chief Executive’s assurance.

In Upper Hutt…

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There was uncontrolled entry to the store;

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There were signs referring to two-metred tapes on the floor. But how well they stood out with all the other, similar-coloured signage, is questionable;

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The tapes on the floor, by themselves, meant nothing;

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Aside from which, customers in the narrow aisles – which are not two metres wide – meant theys were practically rubbing elbows when they passed each other;

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The Lower Hutt Warehouse. Again, uncontrolled entry. Can you spot the covid-19 sign?

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The covid-19 sign, to the right of the entryway;

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The much larger Bag Search sign, on the left;

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The self-checkouts were not two metres apart. Nor was there evidence of “frequent and thorough sanitisation” promised by the CEO. Customers were using the checkouts one after another;

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Meanwhile, another retailer in the Westgate Mall, was doing things much differently. Entry was controlled; staff were wearing masks; ‘social’ distancing requested;

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At the Petone Warehouse, entry was controlled;

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But those queuing in line were hardly two metres apart;

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Unfortunately, the staffer at the door (pictured above) was more concerned with me recording the event than the futility of  people queuing in line in close proximity to each other.

At Tory Street, in downtown Wellington, Warehouse staffers were controlling entry but the queuing customers were yet again in close proximity to one another;

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And inside, at all checkouts, there was no evidence of queuing customers standing two metres apart;

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Whatever “assurances” Warehouse executives were issuing to the public were in stark contrast to the reality. Safety precautions were non-existent or inconsistent. The layout of the stores have not been modified. Aisles were still narrow, forcing customers to close proximity to each other.

Their was no evidence of any form of sanitisation taken place.

In effect, for The Warehouse it was business-as-usual.

It is concerning the The Warehouse believes itself to be an “essential service”. It is not. It’s grocery line is a side-line to its product lines and would  run out of stock faster than supermarkets. Aside from which, its food line is limited to little more than what a superette might provide.

It is clear that the company is “trying it on”. At a time when a disaster is threatening the entire country, a bunch of executives thought it would be a clever idea to capitalise on and exploit people’s fears.  As First Retail Group managing director Chris Wilkinson put it;

“If The Warehouse is [able to] open then, by rights, Briscoes almost certainly should be open, and if Briscoes is open, where does that place the likes of Mitre 10 Mega and Bunnings who are also very strong [sellers] of resilience products. This creates an unfair playing field for other businesses who are all trying to do the right thing”

Damn right it does. Imagine if all other stores closed, with only  The Warehouse remaining open? That would not just constitute market dominance, but a near 100% monopoly.

Briscoe’s managing director Rod Duke probably summed it up best;

“We were not given any indication by anyone that if we chose to sell hand sanitizer and toilet paper we’d be allowed to open… and at the end of the day I think I’m a bit more interested in the safety and wellbeing of my staff rather than a few sales of toilet rolls.”

Not only would that create a monopoly position, but the nationwide lock-down would end up leaking like a sieve.

You have to wonder if New Zealanders are so barking shopping-mad that they would endanger themselves and others to pursue their recreational retail activties?

It is beyond belief that so many people thought this could possibly be a good idea. Having supermarkets open is enough of a risk without adding another retail chain to the mix.

In fact, why have a lock down at all?

Why should my clients have to lock down?

Why should I care about my job to help others, facing a virus that – because of my own diabetes and age group – puts me in the vulnerable group?

All so a bunch of self-entitled company executives can make a lucrative profit and a bunch of shopping-nuts can pretend the current pandemic doesn’t exist?!

As for the notion that The Warehouse will be providing winter goods to families in need – oh please spare me the hypocrisy. They are not providing something for nothing. They are selling goods.

The number of times families in need are used as an excuse by unscrupulous business interests has become a sick cliche.

Unsurprisingly, The Warehouse’s shares rose 42% at one stage today. How cynical can a corporate entity be, to be trading on a disaster to maximise their value?

If New Zealanders want to thumb their noses at the worst pandemic since the 1918 influenza, so be it.

They can climb over the corpses of their countrymen and women to stand in line to go shopping. Hopefully all those people who thought this was a good idea will be the first to go. (Gives whole new meaning to the old phrase, “Shop till you drop!”)

In the meantime, I will carry on with my duties. I have little choice in the matter. In the following four weeks, my movements will be restricted to working with my clients and the risk of doing their supermarket purchases for them. I have to go out and hope no one coughs or sneezes at me. Or I forget not to touch my face, just once. Or I miss a spot when washing my hands.

It’s the same with my colleagues, and others in the health sector, police, etc.

If the Warehouse went ahead with its lunatic idea, my job would be that much harder. The risk that the disease spreads further, engulfing me and other healthcare workers would escalate. In fact, it would be inevitable.

Did I mention that because my partner works elsewhere, and we live apart, I won’t be seeing her for four weeks? But as long as The Warehouse can make a ‘killing’ with its profits… Well, that’s disaster capitalism working as it should, I guess.

I wonder if The Warehouse Group senior executives will be self-isolating whilst their staff are at risk of infection. “Take one for the Team”, eh?

Good on ya, Warehouse.  You just managed to make Simon Bridges look good.

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24 March 2020

2:41PM

Number of covid19 cases in Aotearoa New Zealand: 155

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Postscript1:

This afternoon (24 March), I put the following questions to the media team at The Warehouse;

I understand that The Warehouse intends to keep its outlets open for the duration of the Level 4 lock down, as you consider yourselves an “essential service”?

Please advise how you intend to address the following;

1. Social distancing in the aisles of Warehouse outlets, most of which are far less than 2 metres width?

2. Social distancing in queues outside main doors, where people tend to clump together?

3. Keeping products clean after customers have picked up and touched them? The covid19 virus is estimated to live for 2 to 3 days on varying surfaces. How will this be addressed?

4. Will The Warehouse sell only essential goods (grocery items) or will customers be able to shop for any products they wish?

At the time of publication, I have received no response.

Postscript2:

The government has rejected The Warehouse’s plans.

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References

Beehive: New Zealand moves to COVID-19 Alert Level 3, then Level 4 in 48 hours

NZ Herald: Covid-19 coronavirus – The Warehouse says it will remain open during lockdown

The Warehouse: An update from us on COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

NZ Herald: Covid-19 coronavirus – Warehouse claims inaccurate, MBIE says

RNZ: Coronavirus lockdown – Is the Warehouse an essential service?

RNZ: Four cases of community transmission of Covid-19 in NZ

NewstalkZB: Coronavirus lockdown – Warehouse, liquor stores to close

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This blogpost will be re-published in five days on “Frankly Speaking“. Reader’s comments may be left here (The Daily Blog) or there (Frankly Speaking).

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= fs =

36 COMMENTS

  1. During the black death:

    “On hearing ill rumour that Londoners may soon be urged into their lodgings by Her Majesty’s men, I looked upon the street to see a gaggle of striplings making fair merry, and no doubt spreading the plague well about. Not a care had these rogues for the health of their elders!”

    — Samuel Pepys, c.1665

  2. “Lol” (as they say)
    Warehouse Tory Street wasn’t much different yesterday @ Frank. Nor was a number of other outlets I just simply thought………nah fuck it! after 90 minutes or so, this is becoming a waste of petrol and effort and there are better things to spend time on.

    None of the staff had any sort of realistic protection although they were making feeble efforts to limit the number of people on the floor at any one time.
    Most people were in there to pick up NEEDless stuff and things – well even if they initially intended going in there to collect the last of the toilet rolls.
    Outside, clusters of people hugging and kissing and saying their goodbyes for a few weeks and planning their purchases from the nearby Noel Leeming.

    Being one of those supposed ‘essential workers’ (albeit now on a voluntary basis – delivering food and medicals to the old crocks), I was after a bit of ethyl alcohol and aloe vera gel – the former I was assured was in stock by visiting the website. Not a fucking chance.
    So much for sufusticated ticknolgee eh? (actually I could probably help them with their website, though I haven’t the slightest inclination to make an offer – fuck ’em)
    And I’d passed New World Chaffers where people had been lining up around the block since 7am, then past Liquor King where the Police were just arriving – presumably to do some checks – there was a line outside there too.
    Then back home ….. next to a few student flats owned by a notorious Wellington landlord where only a couple of days ago the weekend pre-loading before lining up at a few Courtenay Place bars went on as per usual. (Suspicions are he’ll be seeking a mortgage holiday whilst his tenants are expected to continue to pay rent – i.e. with the money left over after the purchase of the weekly quota of the 3 ‘P’s: P Piss and Pot, Actually probably the 4 P’s : P Piss Pot and Prozac.

    Pardon my fatalistic outlook, but I reckon this pandemic might just give people the necessary jolt required in a week or two. The only problem is that there’ll be a lot of innocent casualties (as is always the case) as a cost of doing bizzniss.

    I’m interested to know what is going to become of all those hoarded toilet rolls and household cleansers.

    • Interesting observations, Tim.

      My job means I get out into the community and see a lot of what’s happening on the streets, suburbs, as well as inner city retail areas.

      And what I’m seeing is not reassuring.

      A few days ago, a rep from the hospitality industry was arguing on RNZ for night clubs/bars to remain open. She said the establishments could manage social distancing.

      What absolute self-serving tripe. Anyone who’s seen Courtney Place in the early hours knows that intoxicated people have as much respect for social distancing and other hygiene precautions as I have knowledge of the Mongolian language. The number of people from businesses (including Universities NZ) who want special “dispensation” beggers comprehension.

      These people will, literally, be the death of (some of) us.

      • Well @Frank – like you, I’m a bit of an observer. Fortunate to have a panoramic view of Wellington central from an eastern perspecive, with a couple of mates who have a perspective from the west – from the north to the south as far as Newtown.
        It’s also interesting to see where the midnight oil is being burnt – in places like Molesworth’s Police National HQ and Min of Health, to various other government departments along the mile or two heading southward.
        Hopefully we’ll see more of your contributions again here on TDB and that life for you is improving.
        I remember you from the days of letters to the Editor to the Dom and Evening Post (in the days when they actually had a reading room equipped with human beings – some of who went on to be doyens of the world’s media celebs, others just tired old hacks, and still others who try to make a difference).
        Funny ole whurl eh? Kia Kaha as I know you will

      • The Warehouse FB page is full of unhappy customers worried that they can not purchase their ‘essentials’ from The Warehouse. They seem to forget that the essential that we DO NOT want to purchase is A COFFIN which could very easily reach the top of the list of our essentials if we all don’t act responsibly. THIS IS WAKE UP TIME – the time for common sense.

  3. ” You have to wonder if New Zealanders are so barking shopping-mad that they would endanger themselves and others to pursue their recreational retail activities ”

    The simple answer is yes they would Frank.

  4. We are sheep. If one shopper goes in, then it must be alright, Jack. Brain switched off, we are the sleepy hobbits remember. Social Distancing has gotta be for someone else? Not concentrating, just scared. Not thinking of safety, just look for the specials. That’s important, must make the money last! FFS. Where are our leaders? Why is there F.A leadership? Where are these useless leaders? Does Jacinda Ardern have to do everything?Yep, because our brains are not working. Take care Frank.

    • The younger generations have been dumbed down to sheep mentality, spend, spend spend, followed by high interest debt. If the irresponsible behaviour continues ‘natural selection’ will ensue, unfortunately they will take a lot of good people with them who don’t deserve to go.

  5. Workers should get full health insurance from the company for life. Be able to decline to work without penalty.
    Be paid double time and triple time for hours of exposure which should be limited. Face to face versus no contact.

    • Actually I think companies should be liable for the full cost of health care with no taxpayer help at all if an employee catches the Wuhan virus during lvl4 lockdown.

      • As long as publicly funded healthcare is not diminished in any way.
        Private Health investors are ruthless in using any excuse to replace public healthcare which is the essential thread of a sane caring society.

        But yes penalise those profit seekers who put workers or others at risk.

  6. Mike “the moron” Hosking in his minute of mindless mental mutilations blamed the Warehouse fiasco firmly at on the govt. In the morons pea brain he was trying to spin the line that fair enough for business to try it on but the govt should have decreed days ago what an essential service was. The govt has failed, not the Warehouse etc. Likewise “idiots” (morons words to the PM yesterday) flouting isolation rules will also be all the govts fault for not bringing in a “military solution”.

    Yes, morons should be in enforced isolation.

    • Jacinda could personally drag Mike’s children from a burning building and give them CPR for smoke inhalation and he’d likely complain about her being too slow. Or getting soot on their clothes. The man’s a first-class arsehole best ignored. Seriously, if the ground opened up and swallowed Mike Hosking, the country would be the better for it.

    • Let’s be clear, the blame lies with both the warehouse and the government.
      The Warehouse for being so utterly profit driven and the government for even entertaining the idea.

      • Tell us exactly where the govt “entertained the idea”. The PM clearly said yesterday don’t expect your local Warehouse to be open The govt is managing the impact of a seriously fast unfolding situation of immense magnitude, moving goalposts, call it what you like. The blame for ramping up idiotic moronic neoliberal spin does not lie with govt. The blame lies squarely with the Warehouse and Mike “the moron” Hosking.

    • You watch when the worst is over.
      Hosking will be the first to start whingeing that the government is too slow in reducing the alert level and will talk about the usual right-wing comfort subjects: siege mentality, red tape and the government leaving businesses to collapse, etc.
      Serial misanthropes like Hosking deserve a free weekend on Manus Island. I would gladly contribute to a fund to send him there.

  7. Dumbarse move from the warehouse and I will shocked the government even entertained the idea.
    I don’t particularly support the lock down as I am concerned the pact it will have on the poor to access food and medicine.
    However if we are going to do this, we should do it right.

  8. From what I’m hearing, I am predicting there will be some unscrupulous non essential businesses flaunting the present health rules, by staying open, quite prepared to risk the health of NZers. I hope I’m wrong.They will be tracked down. I hope like hell they are severely punished for their disgraceful, selfish disobedience during a state declared national emergency!

    Many thanks Frank for keeping us informed. Stay safe and take good care.

      • Mike the hot line is so utterly under resourced that you will give up waiting.
        Two days ago I tried to report a couple of tourists in a campervan who had not isolated for 14 days after arriving from France and got nowhere.

        Today a young man who was showing symptoms of covid19 desperately rang two doctors, the after hours emergency in Wellington and the Covid19 hot line, and could not get access to being tested because he had not come from overseas or knew if he had been in contact with someone from overseas or someone who had been tested positive for the virus.

        The lock down was supposed to be partly because of community contagion which this young bloke may have been the victim of. He appears now to be a strong candidate for spreading the virus at large.
        This is a senseless situation with resources being entirely inadequate.

  9. My Warehouse said:
    Quote
    Following government’s announcement on COVID-19 this store will close at 7pm, 25 March until further notice.
    Unquote
    More grief for families.

  10. What you say was similar to my experience at the Warehouse Palmerston North.
    I took one look at the chaos and scarpered for safer spaces.
    The Warehouse management thought that because they sell a big of budget bread and budget milk along with their usual rubbish from Asian sweat shops this means they should be classed as “special services”.
    The government told them to get real.
    They will likely take a big hit in the PR stakes for this and as usual it will be the ground floor staff that will cop the flak and lose their jobs, when it was lack of leadership by the management that was at fault.

  11. Great news on shutting down the Wharehouse . Good decision Govt.Sound thinking.

    My next major concern is for front line supermarket workers who see potentially around a 100 people each day with no protection at all , who could easily contract the virus and if asymptomatic could be infecting the public at point of sale .

    I was at a countdown in CHCH yesterday and not one checkout operator or shelf stocking staff had been given a mask.Jesus .

    Several scientific web sites claim the virus came remain active in the air for some 3 hrs.72 hrs on plastic , 24 hrs on cardboard.

    Given the number of shoppers crammed into a relatively confined air space with limited circulation surely Food Management and the Ministry of Health must collaborate to provide some real protection to this vital workforce now .

    They get paid shit wages and now they can die on the job ? Lets act now and give them a fair go .

    I am informed that normal hardware style masks are ineffective and an effective virus stopper must be a N 95 grade or higher .These should be sourced and supplied by management immediately.

    Given that super markets will become the most dangerous places to visit in the next 4 weeks it is totally irresponsible for Food Suppliers not to protect both their staff and the wider public .

    Common sense and isolation will break the chain .

    Look at Italy / Spain / UK/US —–Sleepy hobbits will be dead hobbits .

    Medical grade masks for all front line supermarket staff now.

    As Bill Gates once said ” Only the paranoid survive “.

  12. The warehouse executives weren’t worried about team members and customers worried about there pockets money talks business as usual

  13. The warehouse executives weren’t worried about team members and customers worried about there pockets money talks business as usual

  14. I’m gonna push back here. Firstly the chance of one of us dying from the Covid-19 virus right here right now are miniscule (two in a million). Further, the chance of someone actually having Covid-19 after testing positive for it is less than 10%, and this is generous. Assuming probability of a global citizen having Covid = 1%, and probability of correct covid diagnoses if you have it (true positive) or don’t have it (true negative) = 90% for each (which is a high accuracy for a test), then

    Probability (person with positive test actually having covid) =
    (0.9*0.01)/[(0.9*0.01)+(0.10*0.99)]
    = 8%

    Not only is the virus continually mutating over time making identification suspect, the disease manifests in everyone differently. This means making any causal link between having the virus and dying from it directly (let alone even being properly diagnosed) is tenuous. This discrepancy is seen in the Italian case. The deaths from Covid reported in this country have been estimated to be 99 times more than they should be. That is, the people who died did have the Covid virus but they also had up to three or more other serious conditions which meant they were at high mortality risk anyway. Researchers have reported then that perhaps only 1% of Italian deaths can be directly caused by Covid (even if we accept the death rates being reported, the thousands dead which haven’t been seen in other countries, the total death rate in Italy to date by including Covid has increased from 10.7 to 10.8 deaths per 1000). Whatever has happened to our Italian cousins, one with the world’s oldest demographics, is a tragedy.

    I went to Countdown today and waited a half hour in a line for a security guard to tell me I could gain access to an empty supermarket (50 shoppers allowed in at a time into a large warehouse, which must have been equivalent to at least a 10 metre social distancing factor, ridiculous). That is, I was forced to wait in close proximity to others during a health crisis, and left the shop empty handed, thus defeating the purpose of both accessing food as a human right and doing so safely. It reminded me of this ridiculous punitive atmosphere at WINZ. And like WINZ, Countdown are helping to create this police state. Instead of hiring security, they should be taking on more shelf stackers. And if the problem with empty shelves is poor planning, then they need to put people in charge who have the foresight, skills and drive to understand retail logistics. If there is a problem with supply then it is time for the government to step in to the grocery scene to ensure supply chains and products. So after spending half hour in a line at a Woolworths supermarket (formerly Progressive), exposed to other shoppers, and two minutes in the supermarket itself realising there was little to buy, I left and biked 2km to Foodstuffs New World (this journey poses much more risk than flu; if the trucks don’t run you down on the road, their diesel fumes will eventually poison you). The contrast was stark. Unlike Woolworths, who seem to be manufacturing the appearance of panic buying, New World was business as usual. The entry was unimpeded and welcoming, shoppers were treated as adults who could manage theirs and others risk, the shelves were stocked, people were relaxed, social contact time was able to be minimised due to quick turnover, and shoppers weren’t acting as if the sky was about to fall on their heads (sure some shoppers and staff were wearing PPE but there was none of the arbitrary 1.49999 metre distance separation demarcated with biohazard tape and enforced by the wild eyed. Honestly, wtf could Countdown’s hired muscle teach me about communicable disease and prevention anyway?). Foodstuffs got my respect today.

    So why this ramping up of the threats on the street, the militarisation of food supply and access to a basic human right, the supposed covid death tolls updated hourly and rabidly on the telly, the panic buying and price gouging by individuals and corporates alike (including medical and food suppliers), the gadgets that can supposedly tell if you carry the virus (some dude pointing a thermometer at your head which in itself is a method of spreading disease), the face masks which do nothing to protect from viruses, the destruction of economies and probably life as many people knew it? One thing is for sure, there’s no going back now. If this is an exercise in how to contain a threat to life on earth then governments need to show this unconditionally and we must support them. But if it is anything else, anything marginally hysterical, even surreptitious, then we need answers. Here the conspiracies abound: is this disease just a case of flu which is no more of a threat than any other in the community; is it a biological weapon released intentionally or accidentally; a false flag of some sort, or a twisted social experiment; are these government measures part of an ideological power play, or an economic opportunity. Some of these theories border on the absurd and demented, but then again, some of the actions and governments in the past 100 years have been clinically insane. And just where have these health professional saviours been while millions have died due to war and famine and disease this century alone? Have they been hiding in their committee rooms, practices and academic sanctums waiting for the right viral morphology to appear? The powers that be have a lot to answer for and it is incumbent on them to prove to the public beyond reasonable doubt, with hard facts, that any actions requiring these martial laws are required, are inevitable, are sustainable, and are for the greater good. “Trust us we’re the government” won’t cut it anymore. The lying, psychopath thief eco-rapist governments believing in magical thinking won’t cut it anymore. Because the shit storm that has been created socially and economically could result in more harm than good, even more deaths globally from austerity than letting the disease run it’s course naturally. The virus might be defeated but the patient might be killed along with it.

  15. Dunno about that,… but despite people reacting to this uncharted territory of a national lock down, in ways sometimes rebellious to the reality,… here we are.

    It is a concern that there will be many people afraid out of all proportion to whats happening , … I’d like to give a little comfort in a light hearted way to those fearful ones,…you are going to be alright. And for those family’s already dealing with this thing, take heart, you are not alone, and there are many wishing you well.

    Heres a song,…

    Take heart and relax.

    Bob Marley- don’t worry about a thing
    https://youtu.be/EYi5aW1GdUU?t=19

  16. Queue was at the local Pak n Save as usual for the past week. Nearly 100 people in line no obvious gap between them. Took 40 minutes for the person at the end, when I arrived to get in. At the same time the local vege shop and butchers are closing despite being told they could stay open earlier in the week and stocking up accordingly. Seems to me the idea would have been to leave them open to minimise the time people are going to be standing in those lines. Haven’t been able to book a home delivery slot with Countdown at all this week. Luckily we have been slowly stocking up for about six weeks when it became obvious this was coming. But will have to run the gauntlet at some stage. Look after yourselves during the lock down.

    • Shopping at your local dairy might be an answer.
      More expensive of course, but if it means avoiding crowds and lessening the probability of community transmission I think it is worth the extra price.
      Good reward for the dairy owners who elect to stay open, too.

  17. ‘Click & Collect is awesome.

    Did our weekly grocery shopping this way for the very first time this morning.
    Takanini Pak n Save is 3.6k from my house. I was there and back in 30 minutes.

    I would have been even quicker, but I spent 10 minutes trying to find a car park. I finally found a space at the far end of the Pak n Save car park. I walked through the carpark to the front of the store dreading all the way that I might have to grasp the handle of a shopping trolley to get all my weekly shopping back to the car.

    I needn’t have worried. When I walked up to the Click & Collect, I saw that there were two dedicated carparks just for Click & Collect customers. Both spaces had a car in them. One minute, later both spaces were empty. I didn’t see any other cars waiting.

    I walked back to my car at the far end of carpark, got in and drove right up to the Click & Collect, unlocked the cubicle marked with my name using the pin they had emailed me. Inside all my groceries were very neatly packed in banana boxes. I opened the back door of my car, put the boxes with my groceries in them, on the back seat. Closed the door. Drove off.

    I never got within 10m of anybody. The whole process took 5 minutes, and was I was back home 7 minutes later.

    Retail grocery shopping will never be the same for me again. Highly recommended.

    https://www.paknsaveonline.co.nz/

    • Good on you Pat. I’ve been trying for days to get into online shopping at NW New Lynn. No response to 3 emails asking for help. Realised they were pretty busy. Confirmed today when I’m finally online but the collections are booked up for a week – at least. Gave up. Our neighbour who offered to shop will now do more than pick-up.

      Unsure whether they give the old and feeble (me) priority. That would be a big help to the frail immune-compromised elderly.

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