On Super Bowl Sunday, over 100 million people tuned in to watch the traditional pageantry – gathered in their living rooms to day-drink and yell at their TVs, rooting for their red-and-yellow colored team of choice.
Yvonne Losey wasn’t one of them.
On Sunday, she could be found in the sparsely populated aisles of WinCo in Spokane Valley, leisurely comparing jars of salsa. She plotted her errand during the game, deliberately to take advantage of a window of time in which most are glued to their sofas.
“I don’t have to bump into 50 million people,” she said with a grin. “There’s nobody here; it’s like a ghost town. It’s pretty cool, huh?”
Losey’s cart was full of lettuce, raspberries, cranberries and pecans to make a salad for a lunch for the Sheriff’s Chaplains. She and her husband are full-time volunteers with the chaplains, who provide spiritual support for law enforcement and the community upon request.
The pair, a retired nurse of 45 years and service member, had no interest in the Super Bowl.
“My husband is prior military. He served at Dover, Delaware, taking care of the families of the fallen and saw all those guys that gave their life,” Losey said. “After seeing all that and seeing how much football people get paid, it sours you.”
Over at the Spokane Valley Walmart, Lexi Barnhill spun her giggling infant son, Vance, around in a shopping cart. She and friend Stasia Dayley came to Walmart as a regular errand and were pleasantly surprised about the slow day. They planned to watch the game when they got home – mostly for the excuse to snack and to see Usher’s halftime performance.
“I forgot it was Usher!” Barnhill gasped. “OK, we’re definitely watching it when we get home.”
Likely the most dapper pair in the Walmart, Alejandro Pantoja and Pablo Silva stopped by for some food to bring to a birthday party that afternoon. Fresh from church, the two each wore a bowtie and crisp white button -up with a lapel pin. The game’s timing just so happened to coincide with their post-church Walmart run, making for a bafflingly quiet store.
“It’s a Sunday, it should be way more busy, no?” Pantoja said.
A few customers milled around the Browne’s Addition Grocery Outlet right after kickoff, almost outnumbered by employees.
Candice Schroder swung in for a couple necessities, namely dog poop bags, after finishing a couple appointments installing eyelash extensions. The esthetician originally didn’t have any clients scheduled for the day, but a last-minute social media post nudged some to get a fresh set.
“I actually made a post, I was like, ‘I know tomorrow’s Super Bowl, so maybe you guys are being polite by not scheduling, but please do. I love to work,’ ” she said. “If I happen to have it off, I’ll go home and hang out with my family. But if I can make money instead, let’s do that.”
Across the store, nursing student Matt Bruch perused fruit and gathered apples into his basket, enjoying the “peaceful” solitude in the produce section. The errand for him was a break from studying chemistry; he said he doesn’t tune into “industrial sports” like national football.
For him, sports on the scale of the Super Bowl have lost sight of celebrating athleticism or encouraging healthy competition to improve. Over-the-top pomp and circumstance has become more of a focus, “like another type of runway,” he said.
“It’s super commercialized,” Bruch said. “I don’t like seeing people fight each other as opposed to working together.”