HCMC residents adapt to new supermarket shopping experience

By Quynh Tran   July 11, 2021 | 08:41 pm GMT+7
During HCMC's 15-day ongoing social distancing campaign, District 3 residents are demonstrating unusual patience in using coupons to shop at a supermarket on odd or even days.
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At 7 a.m. Sunday, several dozen people with coupons sit at prescribed distances from each other at the Co.op Mart supermarket branch on Truong Sa Street. The supermarket’s management said that while anyone can shop at the outlet, those with coupons are given entry priority.

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Outside the supermarket lobby, many people without coupons also queued up for their turn to shop. Everyone wore masks and complied with pandemic prevention regulations like submitting medical declarations, sanitizing hands and having their body temperature checked.

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A security officer with a loudspeaker constantly reminded people to keep safe distances and wait in line. According to the supermarket's regulations, about 10 customers are allowed to enter the supermarket every 20 minutes.

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The number of customers flocking to the supermarket on the weekend was so high that everyone had to wait for a long time. "I have a coupon, but I still have to go early. I have been waiting for almost an hour, but it is still not my turn," said Hien (pictured).

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For people staying at home and ordering goods online, supermarket staff picked up the items that had to be ordered three days in advance.
HCMC, epicenter of the ongoing coronavirus wave, entered its second citywide social distancing campaign Friday under Directive 16, which requires residents to stay at home and only go out for basic necessities such as buying food or medicines or to work at factories or businesses that are allowed to open.

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Most shopping carts at the supermarket were filled with items like vegetables, meat, fish, fruit and dry goods. On average, a person spent more than 30 minutes shopping.

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Fresh vegetables were the best-selling items and the supermarket's staff had to continuously refill the veggie baskets.

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Many people with a large amount of goods used delivery services offered by ride-hailing companies. "In the past, I shopped at supermarkets with a bill of only around VND200,000, but now my bill has increased by five times. However, I still felt that there was still not enough food," said Huong sas she handed over her goods to a shipper on a motorbike.

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At 10 a.m., people still waited in long queues outside the supermarket.
The HCMC Department of Industry and Trade has assured that grocery outlets and supermarkets would continue to operate during the social distancing period and there was no need for residents to stockpile essential goods.
HCMC has foodstuff stocks of over 120,000 tons, triple the normal volume, to ensure consumer demand is fully met, it said.

 
 
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