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  • Writer's picturecatherine@allaboutwriters


I check the clock, wondering why the carpark is almost full so early. Not yet 8:00am. Hm. Oh well, find a space, jump out of the car and round the corner to the entrance. I notice people milling about as I approach the door, walking the well-known path I have walked a thousand times before, almost on auto-pilot. I stop short, almost walking into a person at the window outside, and finally noticed the camera standing alongside him. Following the angle of the camera, I realise the glass door is totally smashed, bent and buckled in their frames and almost entirely pushed in. I pull myself to a quick stop, reeling back a little, putting my hand to my mouth. I take a moment to gather myself, then turn, only to come to an immediate stop.

Takes me a minute to work out what I am seeing, my eyes following the people standing one behind the other, orderly as anything, leading from the still-functioning door of the supermarket around the pedestrian mall. There's a line. A line at our local supermarket. In Canberra. At 8:00am on a Thursday.

"Oh wow", I mutter as I join the line, "just need some milk". The people nearby share their own stories, all just loud enough to be sure others know we are not those people hoarding supplies and leaving shelves empty. One has a neighbour in home quarantine, so he's picking up some things for them. Another has the unenviable task of finding hand sanitiser for her office. I have no desire to make it onto the 6 o'clock news with my bed hair and breathe a sigh of relief when the line starts moving.

An employee announces loudly at the door that there is no toilet paper, and I soon realise there's not much else either. So many shelves bare, seems to be half the shop. I wonder if that what the break-in was about and shake my head, not allowing the thought to sit there a moment longer.

Marvelling at the empty space on the shelves while negotiating around the numerous workers trying to get stock onto them , I grab a couple of lonely bananas and a box of cereal (because I can't stop myself!) and almost leave...without milk. Doubling back I pass my line-buddy who shows me her empty hands as she exits, no doubt to try somewhere else.

Definitely not a normal supermarket run this morning. Likely won't be for some time.

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