The other day I posted about N95 masks because I was looking at how to acquire masks or how to make them. I thought if any sort of mask protects us a little, then why don’t we wear something, even if we don’t have an N95.
A few weeks ago it seemed to be unfashionable to wear masks to go out to the supermarket or around town. Masks were to be reserved for healthcare workers. Now, finally we are doing an about face. Healthcare providers obviously have first priority for the best masks and protective gear available – that’s just a given.
But we still have grocery store and take-out restaurant workers providing us with food and essentials. There have been many improvements with clearly laid out social distancing markers in stores, restrictions on the numbers of people in store at a time, making purchases tap-only, and the installation of plexiglass barriers at most stores. These are great steps. It is obvious that this pandemic will be with us for a while though, and we are hearing that many non-essential stores will be allowed to open up soon. I know that I wrote about this a few weeks ago – but it needs to be said again – Protect our Grocery Store workers.
I am hearing that retailers Costco and Longo will be requiring customers and staff to wear masks now. I am also observing that drive-throughs like Starbucks and Tim Hortons are now requiring staff to wear masks. I’m wondering then why all of the grocery stores and chains aren’t providing their staff at least with masks as well. I am noticing that one of Canada’s largest grocery store chains recently reported a sales spike of $751 million – due to Covid-19 grocery stocking up! We have all likely seen the line-ups around the block to shop at Walmart too.
I am waiting then, to see these large profitable chains to further protect their employees and customers – by stepping it up and providing their employees with masks. Let’s hope they can find it in their wallets, I mean hearts……
On a bit of a frustrating note, my family mask collection consists of some homemade masks, winter buffs, bandanas and sanding dust masks. I decided to place an order for a package of 50 surgical style masks. I have been trying to order from different large vendors, to test their responsiveness and availability. I have always loved buying online from Walmart.ca, and so I felt confident enough to order there.
I placed an order for 50 surgical/dust style masks with elastics. They were listed as INSTOCK, available ONLINE only. They were available from a Third Party Vendor named eCanada – so I thought they must be Canadian. I didn’t want to purchase anything from overseas, and the vendor listed their shipping policy as NEXT DAY. I felt comfortable shopping with Walmart.ca, because I knew I wouldn’t get charged until the item was shipped, so if it really was out of stock, I would know and could cancel the order.
Well that was not too smart of me. The order was placed April 16th, delivery was expected April 17th. I was charged April 21st. So I thought Canada Post must have my order now. I have followed up with Walmart, and they just forward my info to the vendor. I could not cancel the order, and I can only return the item to the original vendor (if agreed upon), as the order is less than $150. This is part of what I received from the Vendor.
“Package status: In transit
Country: China -> Canada
2020-04-25 22:19, canada, arriving at the canada airport
2020-04-25 19:19, china, send to canada airport
2020-04-21 16:20, SHENZHEN, Departed Facility In processing center
2020-04-18 15:51, GUANGZHOU, Shipment has been processed in operational center
2020-04-17 22:08, GUANGZHOU, Arrived at Sort Facility GUANGZHOU
2020-04-17 16:33, Shipment information receivedThank you for your message!We sincerely apologize to you to keep you waiting.Your package has been shipped and now in Canada for processing we have urged our carrier to deliver your package ASAP.You will receive your package very soon.
Due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) corresponding impact on Canada and large disinfection work is needed.Canada Custom and Canada Post are now changing to a shift system which result in deliver speed will be slower than usual.
Please wait patientely and understanding we wish you and your family with health body during the outbreak.When it arrived, you can pick up your package at nearby mailbox or your address.”
This is very polite and informative, and perhaps I will receive the masks soon, but I wish I had not purchased from Walmart.ca and this vendor. It’s my own fault, but I think that a large company like Walmart or even Amazon should provide a little more information about the source of their goods and if they are providing a third party shopping experience, take a little more responsibility for it.
In the meantime a small local pharmacist offered to sell me some “merchandise”. I purchased hand sanitizer, and some packages of surgical masks – Packages of 5 surgical masks, retrieved from the back room and re-bagged in Ziploc baggies ($1 per mask), just for “special” customers. I am glad to have the masks, but the world is getting to be a very sketchy place. Stay safe everyone.