First-Hand Look at Senior Shopping Hours

by: John Crowder

John Crowder, Publisher, Pocatello-Chubbuck Observer

Three of the largest grocery stores in Pocatello, Fred Meyer, Walmart, and WinCo, have established special shopping times for Seniors and others who are more vulnerable to coronavirus.  I turn 62 this Friday, and since I qualified to shop during the special times, this morning I visited all three stores during these hours.

Here’s what I found as I visited each store during the Senior Shopping Hours on Tuesday, March 24, 2020.


Walmart has set their senior shopping hours from 6 am to 7 am every Tuesday, Mar. 24 through Apr. 28.

I arrived at Walmart just after 6:00.  The parking lot was mostly empty, as was the store of customers, although there were plenty of employees on hand to offer help.  In the entire store, for the 20 minutes I was there, the store had about two dozen customers.

Those shopping were able to buy toilet paper (one package, about a dozen rolls) and Kleenex, items that have been in very short supply.  However, there was not much of either item in stock.  I suspect their entire stock of these items were gone very quickly once the store opened to other customers.

Plenty of food was available, although some items, such as ketchup, weren’t as plentiful as usual.


As the WinCo website states, “Effective the week of March 21st, 2020, WinCo will offer a temporary special shopping hour for Seniors (60+), Vulnerable Populations and WinCo Employee Owners from 6AM to 7:30AM on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

I arrived at WinCo about 6:30.  The parking lot was by no means full, but there were a lot more cars than i’d seen at Walmart.  There were more customers, as well.

WinCo also had a stock of toilet paper and Kleenex, quite a bit more than had been at Walmart, but supplies were nowhere near what was typical before the coronavirus.  It was possible to buy a larger package of toilet paper, up to 48 rolls, here.  Customers were limited to one package per shopper.

There was no shortage of food, but some groceries, such as eggs, had a limit of one carton per customer.

Fred Meyer

As stated on the company website,  Fred Meyer has established, “Exclusive Shopping for Seniors 60 & Older: 7am – 8am, Monday – Thursday.”

When I arrived at Fed Meyer, a little after 7:00, there were not a lot of people in the store.  While all the stores I went to had customers who were clearly not seniors (although some may have been part of the ‘more vulnerable’ population), there were more non-seniors shopping at Fred Meyer than at the other stores that I visited.

There was no toilet paper or Kleenex available at the store.  An employee that I spoke with told me that he expected a truck with those items later in the day, and that, usually, the items would sell out each day.

Plenty of food was available at the store.


Each store provided a good shopping experience for seniors.  With few shoppers in each, it was relatively easy to maintain ‘social distancing’ most of the time.  At least today, WinCo was the best place to get toilet paper.  No store had hand sanitizer.

If seniors are going to venture out to one of these stores for groceries, the senior hours are a definite plus.


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