Recon Specialist Flint field report 20200318153824.1
Having emerged into the wilds for a survey on the behavior of the local fauna during such a singular cultural event.
The natives are behaving almost normally, going about their business in approximately normal numbers. However there are some subtleties I’ve noticed.
- Slim Chickens has no paper towels or condiments on the tables. There are no condiment bins, and the straws and cup tops are nowhere near the dispensers, instead they’ve been handing these items out with no overt acknowledgement that anything might be different. The chicken came out VERY fast and I suspect they’re pre-cooking it in an attempt to turn customers around as quickly as possible. Chicken was really good, better than usual.
- Walmart: Business as usual, though the paper goods isle in the grocery section is bare down to the metal. Nobody is carrying on like maniacs. However, there were no less than half a dozen people taking pictures of the empty shelves. The South African cashier was walking around the register after every customer and spraying down the credit card reader and that little lucite table they use for…I guess signing checks.
- Home Depot and Lowe’s: Very few customers, but it’s a Wednesday afternoon. I’m not sure how abnormal that is. Employees all over the floor trying desperately to look busy while trying equally hard to avoid eye contact with anyone that might look like a customer who needed something. So, basically no change.
- Barnes & Noble: The store seems the same, except…. I noticed I could see most of the books and it took me a while to figure out a high percentage of books had their covers showing, rather than just their spines. A closer examination revealed that there are approximately 20% fewer books on the shelves, with cardboard spacing blocks behind a lot of the front facing books to impart the illusion of being fully stocked. I suspect this is unrelated to the current mania.
- Barnes & Noble café: Worth a separate entry. Again with the missing napkins and condiments, albeit for drinks. Plush chairs gone, just gone. Small tables reduced in quantity by half. A clear sign. No overt concession to the state of things.
Final notes: The sapients on this small sliver of planet are acutely aware that something is wrong, but determined to behave as though everything is normal. There appears to be some pack status preserved by not acknowledging what is going on around them. I find these creatures excel in behaviors of that kind. Maintaining the best front they can as if they were at a costume or Halloween party it is apparently the front/mask/costume itself that they are judged on. None of them appear to be genuinely confused about the nature of the game.
I am reminded of the neo-victorian behaviors of notable island nations on opposite sides of the planet from each other.
This will require more study and observation.
—- Terminate Report —–