BRANFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Friday was day two of Stop & Shop stores offering seniors-only hours first thing in the morning. On Thursday, the initiative took off to a rocky start in many stores.
It seemed like a good idea. Let only people aged 60 and up in to the stores for the first hour and a half of the day. It was very popular. Too popular, in fact.
Even though there were much smaller crowds for day two, it was nothing compared to what shoppers saw in Branford the day before.
Branford resident Nick Pawlowski said, “Lines were going out into the produce aisle and almost to the deli, waiting just to get checked out.”
And in Hamden on day one, about 100 people were lined up to get in. At first it was pretty orderly. Everyone had a cart, and that forced about six feet in between shoppers. But once inside, people were passing each other in the aisles, and then standing right next to each other in long lines to check out. The whole idea of social distancing went right out the window.
Here’s how one shopper described it Thursday:
“What you saw was hordes of people buying things but then they couldn’t get out.”Nancy Alderman, Environment and Human Health President
Not without standing too close to one another, at least. News 8 asked Stop & Shop for a statement about what happened, and the answer was a reminder to shoppers that they need to do their own social distancing in the store. In other words, it’s going to be up to the shoppers themselves to be safe and stay as far apart as possible in those lines.
Now another complaint was that the stores were not properly stocked. We saw people buying toilet paper, so there was at least some of that. Many of the complaints were about a lack of meat on the shelves. Stop and Shop responded that they are constantly restocking all through the day as supplies come in.
Stop & Shop’s hours for people ahead 60 and up are 6 a.m. – 7:30 a.m. every day.
Stop & Shop is far from the only retail chain offering this. Big Lots and Dollar General are dedicating the first hour of every day to senior shoppers.
Walmart is doing the same thing on Tuesdays. Target on Wednesdays. Big Y, Big Lots, Fresh Market, and Dollar General are following suit.
Big Y’s hours for seniors 60 and older as well as people with compromised immune systems are 7 a.m. – 8 a.m. every day. Regular store hours are 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. until further notice.