I needed to make a trip to the grocery store on Monday morning for the first time in two weeks. But after I parked my car and began walking into my local grocery store in Westbrook, I was left shaking my head at what I saw.

Scattered throughout the parking lot was disinfectant wipes (the kind that grocery stores are offering as a courtesy) along with protective and even a mask. These wipes and gloves were left in parking spots and in some cases, inside grocery carts that had been used. It got me wondering, "what are people thinking?"

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As the COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the U.S. and here in Maine as well, something as mundane as grocery shopping has become a stressful event for some people. I get that. But leaving used gloves, mask and disinfectant wipes in carts and just throwing them on the ground in a parking lot after use is not helping anyone. It's not being a good citizen, it's not you doing your part.

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Most grocery store employees are already being pushed to the max and the last thing they need to spend time going up and down the parking lot picking up wipes and gloves. So my plea is this: DO BETTER. If you use a disinfectant wipe, discard it in a trash can before you leave the store or bring it home and toss it out in your own trash. Same with gloves and masks. You can do that and it helps everyone, including grocery store employees.

Please don't let this become the new normal in these extraordinary times we're all trying to survive in.