Wednesday, September 23

Every Man for Himself

photo by FRANCES MARIE G. IGNALAGA/ THE FLAME

THE supermarket is filled to capacity and every shopper is frantically moving about. Beyond each checkout lane are long queues of people that almost reach the grocery aisles.

The bagger’s movements remain languid as he places people’s groceries in paper bags and cardboard boxes. He has been there since 9 in the morning, packing groceries of people who bought unreasonably large quantities of alcohol, food, toiletries, and other items.

Glancing at the monitor from time to time, he notices that most of the customers rack up huge bills — some even reached a total amount of five digits in their respective receipts.

He makes a mental list of things to buy before they run out: rubbing alcohol, diapers for his youngest, and canned goods that would last them for weeks.

He hears the footsteps of shoppers scurrying frantically around the place, transferring the products off of shelves and straight into their carts and baskets.

As he is packing the groceries of one customer, he notices that she bought nothing but rubbing alcohol.

From the corner of his eye he watched as a young man placed almost every kind of sardines and corned beef in his basket.

He sees one lady on another lane pushing a trolley overflowing with packs of diapers.

Feeling a sense of panic, he turns his head toward the shelves — only to find them empty.

Thoughts of his family filled him, and how he would meet them later at home with nothing in his hands. F DENISSE P. TABOR

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