Normally, when we aren’t dealing with a global pandemic, Shopping Siren likes to browse.

It’s comforting, picking up all the stuff and putting it down again. Feeling the cottony difference between 100% organic and 99% regular. Gauging how heavy that coat/laundry detergent/box of wine is before deciding whether to toss it in the cart.

Shopping as meditation. It’s a thing.

Except stores are encouraging look-but-don’t-touch now, and browsing and buying are almost exclusively online. It’s sad, but I can power through — safety first! — and, hey, that box of wine will help.

But sometimes you need essentials now. What are you supposed to do? Shipping can take a while at the moment and Katy Purry will eat only one kind of chicken-flavored gushy food.

Curbside pickup to the rescue!

Wear a mask. Grab and go.

Let’s do our meditation at home.

• Pet essentials, Petco

Buy Katy Purry’s favorite food online, pick it up at the store. Also, you’ll save 10% and you don’t have to get out of your car. Short of sending your pets to get their own food*, it’s the easiest shopping experience you’re ever going to have. (* Dogs tend to shoplift.)

• Pet food, toys, treats and supplies, Loyal Companion

Call ahead, tell the store associate what you need and they’ll bring it out to your car. (There are locations in Lewiston, next to Shaw’s, and in Topsham, on the Topsham Fair Mall Road.) Unlike Petco, which asks for payment online, you will have to swipe your card at pickup here. But the personal attention is nice and you can work with the associate to get just what you need. Assuming what you need is pet related. They don’t have alcohol.

• Food and household staples, Walmart

Download the Walmart grocery app for the easiest ordering, but don’t be fooled by the name. You can also order cleaning supplies, personal care items, toys, baby essentials, office supplies and a ton more. You’ll need to choose a day and time slot for pickup — who would have thought we’d ever miss Walmarting on a whim? — so make sure you plan ahead. Certain days and times can book fast. Like, if you think you’ll need milk next week, hop on and order it now. (Orders can be tweaked up to the day before pickup.) Need to keep the kids entertained? They have 11 versions of Monopoly, including “Frozen 2.” For when you’re desperate.

“Frozen 2” Monopoly is available for curbside pickup at Walmart. Because you love your kids. And peace.

• All your drinking needs, Roopers Beverage and Redemption

Call ahead, provide your card number and a time for pickup and an associate will bring your order to your car. Just sign the slip and go. The great thing here is that you can order anything they have, including beer, wine and various fine adult beverages. Assuming you’re an adult. Please don’t try this if you’re underage. If you are, see the aforementioned “Frozen” Monopoly game to get you through.

• All the protein, Castonguay Meats

If you’re near Livermore and are out of chicken, beef, pork or other meat basics, Castonguay has got you covered. Call ahead for curbside pickup and your fridge will be full in no time. Also, Katy Purry likes drumsticks, too, just FYI.

• The stuff you forgot you needed, Target

Order online, wait for the confirmation email and head over at the appointed time. Target has done away with signing credit card slips and the associate will stash your stuff in the trunk, so no need to interact face-to-face (or mask-to-mask) with anyone. Note: The closest Targets are in South Portland and Topsham, which is not ideal for a lot of area residents. And the most in-demand items aren’t available for pickup. So if you’re looking for your favorite milk-and-honey hand soap, you’ll still have to go in store. But this is a good option for those life essentials you didn’t realize were essential until now. Like pajama pants.

Best find: Lunch and dinner, Longhorn Steakhouse

Call or order online, pick up from your car. Is this essential? No. Are you So. Sick. Of. Cooking? Yes. So get an order of Parmesan crusted chicken with a side salad and enjoy a quiet evening at home. Or a loud evening at home. Depends on how many Monopoly games you’ve gone through yet.

Think twice: About going without

Curbside is king.

Shopping Siren’s true identity is protected by a pair of stylish, sweater-wearing Doberman pinschers (who forgot to pay for chew toys once) and the Customer Service counter at the Sun Journal. You can reach her at [email protected]


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