supermarkets

Shopping cart requirement – idiot-proof is always bad

Some supermarkets have implemented a rule that makes me as a smart, thoughtful person cringe. I went to one today that had implemented that rule that forces you to use a shopping cart – so that you keep distance to others!
This is one of those stupid-simplistic ideas that have potential to cause more harm than good.

Awareness of the COVID problem is widespread anyway. In other markets you can see people being thoughtful in their conduct anyway, but regardless of rule of not, people can still act in a stupid way.

Interacting with anything touched by many people is an issue and that made me turn around and not do business with said market. They offered some dispensers for gloves and disinfectant wipes, but you also have to interact with those, and the wipes might not be very effective. And even though in that case I could at least disinfect in my own thourough way, other people are likely less thorough and, as is so common in society, execute standard rituals that are expected from them and then believe they did enough. This is a tendency incentivized even more when a measure is mandatory.
And the coin slot of the shopping carts might be a problem zone. (Also, if you use physical money all high-level safety goes out the window anyway.) I wasn’t in the mood to do a detailed study, but my general behavior based on own thoughtfulness resisted a coersive measure to interact with something I do not need.

This is a frequent experience of mine: The pain of living in an idiot society, to say it bluntly. Whenever I can freely do things my way, it works well, because I think about what I do and focus on the outcome. But too often one is forced into idiocies like this. Rules that are designed to manage severe idiocy of the rabble are a really bad compromise, and smart people suffer from it.

This is probably in line with various other disinfection acts we can see in the world that very much look like only being done so governments can say they did something. Like disinfecting the pyramids of Gizeh, as if the burning sun and dry hot sand of the place gave the virus any chance. Or disinfecting a popular tourist site that has been closed for a while anyway and continues to do so, so any viral contamination there would be dead by now, or if there is interaction through animals and weather, would be restored quickly anyway.

There are also at least more thoughtful ways to implement the shopping cart system. Another supermarket had a cart ready at the entrance, no coin needed, and it is ready and thoroughly disinfected by an employee, including side railings and everything. But in that case I still wouldn’t trust it as much as my own process, if I was to do it, which I wouldn’t, because I don’t need a cart and naturally keep distance to people! (When I was there, apparently the employee was somewhere else, so it is not a rigidly enforced system, and that is good. It should be seen as a service provided for those who do not object. It was probably not driven by that stupid unreliable idea of forced distancing, but was a safer way to offer shopping carts for those who use them anyway.)

The safe-and-stupid way of steering the rabble instead of educating people into self-reliance is a constant issue that also leads to erosion of democracy. Even in such a crisis, governments try to avoid having to turn people into intelligent, self-reliant beings who can run society just fine without government meddling. Instead, early-on they were offered a buffet of pundit opinions, and then pestered with said questionable panic measures.

People Power cannot be avoided forever. But since it is the enemy of capitalism, there will be more suffering for humankind as long as capitalism dominates. Smart people (again) understood the inherent problems with it long ago. Others need a pandemic to see the obvious, in gross intensification.