Lockdown Nation

How coronavirus changes everything.

I stole three eggs from the supermarket.

Panic buyers had cleared the entire egg section. All there was left was a smashed-up box with a few broken eggs smeared over the packaging. I noticed that three of the eggs weren’t broken, so I picked them out and put them in my pocket. I might’ve declared them at the checkout, but was anticipating the kind of strange conversation this might generate. Instead I decided that, as the bar code was on the box, not on the eggs, no one would notice. So I took the eggs, walking gingerly through the checkout so as not to break them, and then transferred them to my backpack for the cycle home. Two of them made it back intact. The other also survived, but in a slightly cracked state, and I’m now three eggs better off. This morning I had none.

I would, of course, have paid for a complete box, had there been any available.

We’re moving into unusual times, as everyone knows. A measure of this is that one of the lowest paid groups of workers, supermarket staff, is now raised in status almost to the level of the emergency services. They’re on the front line in the fight against coronavirus, working long hours and risking their lives every day in order to make sure the rest of us have sustenance to keep us going through this emergency. It’s a given that we should recognize the efforts of our hospital workers, I just wonder how many of us recognize how important shop workers are too.

Read more here.

Published by christopherjamesstone

CJ Stone is an author, columnist and feature writer. He has written six books: Fierce Dancing: Adventures in the Underground (Faber & Faber 1996); The Last of the Hippies (Faber & Faber 1999); Housing Benefit Hill & Other Places (AK Press 2001); The Trials of Arthur (with Arthur Pendragon: Thorsons/Element 2003); The Trials of Arthur Revised Edition (with Arthur Pendragon: The Big Hand 2010); & The Empire of Things (Gonzo multimedia 2013). He is currently working on his seventh. From 1993 till 1998 he was a regular columnist with the Guardian Weekend in the UK. His column Housing Benefit Hill was a runaway hit, observing life on a run down housing estate in a small town in England, while his travel column CJ Stone's Britain took a wry look at the state of Britain in the 90s. From 2003-2008, he ran a column for Prediction magazine. Other columns include a fortnightly column for The Whitstable Times and columns for Mixmag & the Big Issue. Currently he writes a fortnightly column for The Whitstable Gazette and makes regular contributions to the Guardian on-line, the London Review of Books and Kindred Spirit magazine.

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