Going about your normal business of shopping, even for the basics during the pandemic requires organisation, effort and a bit of humour. On the positive, it has become an opportunity to change shopping habits and get to know what’s available locally. The internet has shown its worth in reaching businesses both locally and across the restricted miles for the more elusive but necessary items. I present to you reader, my mini guide to slow shopping:

Shopping locally – avoiding queues

I live in a small market town that has suffered from many shop closures in recent years, however, amongst the usual high street branded stores, independent traders still squeeze a space amongst them – and it was to these I turned to.

For bread, cakes, vegetables, eggs, flour, wholefoods …

Independent traders have put up posters on their shop windows to alert customers to fresh produce that can be delivered to your door, as you can see in the picture. Look them up using Facebook or email and provide them with your requirements. I found my local independent wholefood store very helpful. They found the particular items on my list and phoned me the next day to collect. Payment was taken over the phone using a credit card and my shopping placed in a box outside their door at an allotted time. Perfect. No queuing or disappointed store trip to empty shelves or poor substitutions.

My local Post Office is now selling quality made bread by a local baker and orders are taken daily. Ask for this service. A local farm is supplying eggs too – kept behind the counter and one box per customer. At least they are free range and organic.

You are also supporting your local traders – visit the corner shop, small ethnic grocery stores are a delight for herbs, spices, more unusual veg and interesting conversation at the cash desk!

Farm stores are doing a roaring trade with the same items, however, many are not taking on new customers because of high demand. Worth trying though if one is in your area.

Have a look at https://www.ethicalsuperstore.com for your household needs.

Community Garden

        

This is a real find in my town centre. A community garden devoted to growing vegetables which are free to anyone to take home. Lettuce, chard, kale, beans, were all growing when I dropped by. It is run by volunteers for the community – I wonder how many people know about this place as it was empty on the morning I visited?

Books

Local independent bookstores may offer an over the phone ordering and post to you system. Waterstones are providing this in my area. They need your support so look them up and buy a book. If you can’t find a local bookstore try further afield by looking on the internet. My neighbour did just this and was satisfied with the service in the knowledge that their purchase was helping an independent shop stay afloat.

Support your independent bookstore and order from these sites:

https://www.booksellers.org.uk/home#

https://www.ebooks.com/en-gb/

Plants

Garden centres are currently closed in the UK. A few of  the larger garden centres have an online click and collect service, but you need to check this online. Walking through my town centre there were a few branded discount stores selling potted plants, but these were limited in variety and costly. This year may not be the year for those tumbling garden baskets.

Clothes, or any other extra item

With clothing and shoe stores closed due to social distancing the internet is your option – for many this is an impossible task if you need something quickly or have to try it on before purchasing. I am taking the line that clothing is not that important in lockdown and if I need something urgently then buying the item online will support those who still work in warehouses for these stores. I have to travel for these items in ordinary times as limited choice locally – internet bridges the gap here during lockdown.

Your car

While your car is idling with nowhere to go it is a good idea to get it serviced and MOT up to date. The MOT has been extended for six months but the idea of leaving a car that long without being checked for road worthiness did not appeal to me. I got in touch with my local garage and they were delighted for the custom. Again, you are keeping an essential business ticking.

Presents and other bits

Is it really essential? Can it wait? Most people will understand that the restrictions on movement and social distancing regulations make it all but impossible to carry on as normal. Send an email message and lovely photo instead!

Shopping locally

– means you are supporting local business and keeping essential supply lines for food open

– you think more carefully about what you actually need and avoid unnecessary purchasing

– the internet will help you contact local stores whose shop fronts have closed temporarily

– do you really need to order from those internet giants? Think where could you go locally for the same

– it’s deeply satisfying to buy or order items locally. Try it!