Senior shopping hours: And how old are you?
Masked and unmasked, senior citizens in modest numbers — more than a handful, but by no means a crowd — braved Monday morning’s light snowfall to take part in Stop & Shop’s seniors only hours from 6 to 7:30 a.m. at the chain’s Ridgefield supermarket.
“You don’t look over 60!” teased the ever-sociable Ridgeifelder Rob Kinnaird, a ubiquitous Ridgefielder if ever there was one. A year or two ahead my Class of ’69 at RHS, he knew I qualified.
But, indeed, no one was checking IDs.
Books on the Common owner Ellen Burns had joked, via email, Sunday night, that she was upset no one had “carded” her — old enough to drink style — on a visit to the Georgetown Caraluzzi’s during their early morning senior citizen hours, 6:30 to 7:30 a.m.
Youngsters, don’t try sneaking into the seniors-only food-buying session: stores may be watching…
Stop & Shop said in announcing the program last week that employees wouldn’t be routinely checking people as they entered stores or anything, but management did reserve the right to boot people under 60 who were found taking advantage of the —presumably — less crowded and stressful senior time.
Stop & Shop’s early senior hours are targeted at people 60 and up, and the hours for customers of all ages are 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Caraluzzi’s in Gerogetown is slight variation on that theme — starting a bit later on both the hours and the age limit.
“6:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. Seniors Only,” Caraluzzi’s website announces. “Please be respectful and allow this time to allow seniors 65+ to shop. We appreciate your patience and understanding. All customers are welcome to shop 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.”
There were media reports of big crowds for early seniors hours at Stop & Shop supermarkets on Thursday, March 19, when the program began — after being announced a few days earlier.
But the scene at Stop & Shop in Copps Hill Plaza on Route 35 in Ridgefield, Monday morning, March 22, was relatively tame.
Fellow seniors would nod from a distance — not too many stopping carts to stand and chat, though.
What was available on the shelves varied.
No shortage of soft drinks, but you’d be hard pressed to find yeast or plastic wrap — never mind hand sanitizer.
“You can’t find flour, but you can buy potato chips,” one shopper shared as our carts passed in the aisle.
Stop & Shop was limiting some products — including toilet paper and paper towels. “Due to tight supply, limit 2 per customer,” read the signs.
Signs at other shelves — customarily stuffed with the plenty of America’s farms and food-industrial complex — bored this message: “Out of stock temporarily due to high demand.”
Of course, these observations are a snapshot in time.
Caraluzzi’s website urges people not to hoard — their word was “stockpile” — products.
“Fact: There is enough food,” Caraluzzi’s websitesays. “Our food supply is strong. There is no shortage of product. Any empty shelves are the result of increased demand from customers, not a lack of inventory. Please do not stockpile. Purchase what you need but leave something for your neighbor. We are working around the clock to stock our shelves and sanitize our stores to keep you and our employees in good health.”
I pushed a three-quarters full cart to the Stop & Shop register during Monday’s senior hours.
“Am I a hoarder?” I asked.
The young woman — young gray-headed standards of senior shopping hours, away — was kind.
“I’m more worried about the people I see every day with a full cart,” she said.