89 Not Out: Day 30, Supermarket Confusion in Cosham

S&C contributor and Pompey Politics Podcast host Ian Morris shares his experience of the lockdown, as someone with diabetes. It’s Day 30 and Ian and his wife are bewildered by a shopping experience in Cosham where social distancing guidelines seem confused.

Wednesday 15th April, Day 30 of 89

Not my job mate.

The whole concept of social distancing isn’t an easy or exact science, but it also isn’t the most difficult thing in the world to do really well. It is more of a challenge when you can’t see where other people are, but you can hear them, and I think we have now all learned the ‘Jane Austen’ style gentle nod of a (bonneted) head as we use the full width of the pavement to keep our distance as much as possible.

One place that seemed to have got it spot on is the supermarkets: limiting numbers in store, lines marked outside keeping people apart whilst queuing, and so on. At least, this is what I thought until Monday.

After taking Millsey for his free run we went to Tesco in Cosham to pick up some essentials. The one at a time rule meant I was left with the hound in the car listening to my podcast, and Nicky went and joined the queue.

Some minutes later she returned with the words, ‘We have a problem, love. They won’t let me in the store.’

The photo below shows why.

The flow system has everybody standing two metres apart as they go into the store….but everyone coming out of the store is funnelled down the same queue, coming face to face with those waiting to get in.

The lady in front of my wife pointed out this anomaly, and having received a response of ‘Not my problem, I just work here’ from a member of staff, summoned the Duty Manager, who took a similar shrugging approach.

Nicky then started recording the conversation and this is when she was asked to leave.

We returned to the store and I asked to speak to the same duty manager who, on arrival, walked straight up to me and stood within a couple of feet. We had a polite but firm conversation about his understanding, or lack thereof, of social distancing. He conceded that I could come into the store to undertake our shopping, to which I performed a credible impersonation of Tommy Steel tapping my long cane on the floor and pointing out how challenging this might be for someone who couldn’t see.

He countered with: how could I have known he was too close if I couldn’t see? And at this point, things were descending into farce and we opted to exit stage left and take up our issues with Tesco directly.

Sadly readers, we still have nothing more than ‘We will look into it’ as a response.

In the meantime the good people of Cosham will be queuing respectfully and safely, and looking straight into the eyes of those coming out with no separation at all, it’s madness.


Don’t miss Ian’s diary each day, keep an eye out for new entries here, along with past editions of the Pompey Politics Podcast. How are you managing the lockdown at the moment? Get in touch with us over on Facebook or Twitter and let us know your experiences and any hints and tips you’re finding helpful right now.

Image by Fathromi Ramdlon from Pixabay.

Star & Crescent is Portsmouth’s only independent community news outlet. We don’t answer to shareholders and we don’t publish sponsored or promoted content – we answer to you.

Get involved or donate to help local independent media thrive, and be part of the conversation on Facebook and Twitter