Personal shopping is emerging as a way to conduct business safely during Covid-19 pandemic times until a vaccine for the virus gives us all some hope of returning to a new 'normal'.
With many stores still unable to open their doors to the public, shopping by appointment is being adopted by the popular EZ Living furniture chain as a way to trade.
Its plan to open on May 18 along with hardware stores was scuppered by the Government. And while it and other homeware chains seek urgent clarity on the matter, it is proceeding with its personal shopper plan, saying it had 300 appointments already booked before it was told it could not open its doors.
So how does the system work? And what is it like?
I went to the company's website and filled out an online form requesting a personal shopping slot at a store of my choice.
The next day I was contacted by a staff member who asked me a series of questions about my health, and once they were satisfied my risk levels were low I organised a time slot at the Tallaght branch and was given a telephone number for Pauline Cooke, the store manager.
When I arrived at the shop, she opened the door and it was explained to me that I would have to sanitise my hands and would be requested to keep two metres from her during my visit. I was also offered a face mask and gloves.
Before we went any further she raised an electronic temperature gun to my forehead and squeezed the trigger. It's the first time in my life I ever had my temperature taken while on a shopping trip - but it might become the new normal.
Pauline was pleasant and professional. It was refreshing to have the shop to myself. In supermarkets I'm always taking a cautious glance down an aisle before proceeding down it.
Buying a sofa or a bed, under these conditions, felt safer to me than buying a litre of milk and a sliced pan.
Pauline brought me to the items of furniture I wanted to see. Beds and sofas seem to be most in demand so I picked those as samples.
I was able to sit on the couch and lie on the bed, knowing they would be sprayed with disinfectant afterwards. A large disposable sheet of tissue covered the pillow on the bed.
"Furniture is tactile. You have to touch it, sit on it or lie on it to know if it suits your needs. It's hard to buy furniture unless you can feel it," Pauline explained.
Knowing that if anyone had sat in the furniture before me it would have been sanitised made me feel more comfortable about it, and knowing that I wasn't going to turn around and suddenly find myself right beside another customer was reassuring too.
At the counter there were more hand cleaning gels, and any transaction would be done by card, and a perspex screen separated me from Pauline.
When we were finished I was walked to the door and let out and Pauline went back over any areas we had covered and sprayed the furniture I had touched, ready for the next customer.