A local run on noms and supplies

To avoid the crowds, I went to our local supermarket at 7 this morning. It’s not a small store, has always been well stocked, and is even advertising for employees. But I found that they were out of—or had limits on—many items. Here are some photos I took:

A real case of the Grocer’s Apostrophe:

Seriously, a limit on canned goods?

Where’s the beef?

I’m mystified why the benighted are buying bottled water:

The toilet paper section, bereft of bogroll. Water and t.p. are the items most hoarded.

Obviously, people are staying home and making popcorn (they’re also low on chips):

A limit on eggs and milk:

Even cereal is in low supply!

Fortunately, my food needs are minimal now, and I have enough wine to last me for years. I’m also well stocked with bogroll due to a buying error several months ago.

Good luck, friends!

103 Comments

  1. Posted March 20, 2020 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Thanks. Good luck to you too. GROG

  2. Ken Pidcock
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    The bottled water thing was explained to me the other day. There are no small number of people who simply will not drink tap water. If bottled water is unavailable, it’s the same as there being no water to drink.

    • Laurance
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 9:37 am | Permalink

      I, too, was wondering why the water hoarding. And yes, I get that there are people who think there’s something wrong with tap water.

      And I get that there are places where the tap water tastes somewhat unpleasant. I can dig it. I’ve tasted some nasty tap water in some places.

      I’m lucky to live in a small town with a big spring. Big Spring, which puts out some 11 million gallons of water a day. And mighty fine water it is, too. In Ithaca NY I bought a bottle of water one day and by golly, I read the label and found that it came from Big Spring.

      So my tap water is fine. But I get it that some people think tap water is not fit to drink
      and simply won’t touch the stuff.

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 9:51 am | Permalink

        Here in the UK there is a giant difference between the taste of water depending on where you live. I moved from London to north Wales when I was seven and whenever I went back to the capital to see my dad I just couldn’t drink the water. It is so, so horrible by comparison with the water in north Wales. The water in north Wales is better than any bottled water I’ve ever tried.

        Having said that I have to admit that this is about as perfect a definition of a ‘first world problem’ as you can get, and I’m not hoarding bottled water, that’s for sure.

        I dislike hoarding in general. I think there’s something vaguely immoral about it and it actively annoys me to see people shoveling consumables into their trolleys as quickly as possible.
        I wouldn’t mind seeing purchase-amount limits enforced in all stores everywhere(exceptions made in certain important circumstances, although no such circumstances spring to mind).

        • merilee
          Posted March 20, 2020 at 9:54 am | Permalink

          More than vaguely immoral.

          • Saul Sorrell-Till
            Posted March 20, 2020 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

            It’s not just selfishness though. It’s a kind of bovine stupidity too.

            Some people just can’t imagine the consequences of their actions because that requires holding a string of events in their minds. You can tell them, but their lack of imagination means they just won’t take it seriously.

            I was in my local grocers this morning. There is still a warm food buffet/salad bar open there, although no-one was going near it.

            Then I saw a caveman-like guy walk up to it. And I could almost literally see his thought processes as he stood there: one part of him was thinking abouot the virus, and the possibility of contracting a deadly disease from this buffet, which many people have touched…the other part of him was just fixated on the sausage and onions.

            This internal struggle played out for about thirty to forty seconds; he was caught between competing impulses like Buridan’s ass and just stood there staring at the sausages and curly fries. Deadly disease? Or a sausage?

            Suddenly, he wiped his nose with his hand, picked up the tongs and got to work piling curly fries and frankfurters into his little polystyrene container.

            These are the people who will bring about our doom as a species.

            • Vaal
              Posted March 20, 2020 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

              I wonder what precisely people are seeing as “immoral.” By that I mean: what level of “hoarding” (or “preparing”) exactly is setting off your “immoral” antennae?

              So let’s take an example: Quite a while back our government encouraged EVERYONE to have a 2 week supply of food – especially non-perishable – medicine, everyday needs to get you by. This INCLUDED the advice to stock up on things like bottled water “just in case of interrupted services.”

              The advice was based on “if you come down with the virus, you’ll need to be prepared to self isolate for 14 days.”

              Now, what does it look like to buy 2 weeks worth of those items for a family of 4 (in my case…with two big, always hungry boys)? That’s actually a lot of stuff. Water included. If those offended here saw me stocking up on 2 weeks worth of bottled water, as recommended by our government, I wonder if that would have set off the “immoral/selfish/over-reaction” thoughts?

              But think of it through more: We are supposed to have 2 weeks worth of supplies to get through 14 days of self isolation. But as my family has experienced, like many others, you can go in to 14 day isolation for various reasons, including coming home from abroad. So now, the stock we would have got for 14 days is being used up and if we come down with the virus near the end of our 14 days then we are in isolation for AT LEAST 14 MORE days. So it would have been good to have on hand a month worth of supplies if possible.

              Can you just order it in? Not so much any more. As I detailed in other posts.

              Can we get others, family and friends, to do grocery runs for u? To a degree, but everyone is getting more serious about social distancing and self-isolation, wishing to make as few trips in to the public as possible, and this has us asking other people to risk their health going out shopping on behalf of us. Also, the amount of people HAVING to self-isolate will only be going up higher and higher.

              So, given all this, is being stocked for a month not prudent? And if so, what would stocking up for a month look like at the check-out line? I bet it may ring the “immoral hoarders” bell in the minds of some here, especially depending on the size of the family needing supplies.

              (And I say all of that acknowledging that there certainly are/must be some people way overreacting in their buying and not caring about taking stock away from other needy people. As I mentioned earlier, my buying habits have been to always when possible leave stock for other people, and just take what we need to get by).

        • eric
          Posted March 20, 2020 at 11:39 am | Permalink

          I think the problem is that it doesn’t take any extreme level of hoarding to empty out a store. If everyone in the community is acting out ‘I’m not hoarding, I’m just prudently buying a bit extra. Like an extra gallon of milk or two boxes of wipes instead of one’, I’d bet that’s sufficient to get the result we see.

          • Saul Sorrell-Till
            Posted March 20, 2020 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

            That’s true. I hand’t thought of that. But enforcing limits would still help.

            I also get a slightly mean satisfaction from seeing people’s natural greediness stymied. I don’t like to admit it but seeing that flash of annoyance on their faces because they wanted to buy forty packets of Super Noodles and now they can’t….that’s one of the few upsides to this whole thing.

      • max blancke
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

        Also helplessness. Buying water or paper products is doing something. People like to feel that they are doing something to address whatever is worrying them.

    • sugould
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      Post surgery a few years back, carbonated beverages are no longer an option for me. I already didn’t drink coffee, tea, wine, beer, and giving up an occasional carbonated soda was hard.

      During recovery a friend brought me some Propel grape water, which I like very much.

    • Posted March 20, 2020 at 10:12 am | Permalink

      I would have thought that all the stories on how bottled water is often (mostly?) taken from the same water supplies as our tap water would have destroyed the bottled water industry. I was so wrong.

      • Posted March 20, 2020 at 10:18 am | Permalink

        I agree. People where I work are always asking if we have any water, and I say that we have an almost unlimited supply there in the tap. And it tastes fine around here. But people imagine that bottled water is better, BECAUSE it costs more. It’s “unsane” as I say.

        It’s one thing when, down here in Florida, there’s a hurricane coming. Then, sometimes, the municipal water gets contaminated, so stocking up on some extra can make sense (though you can fill your own containers at home ahead of time). But refusing to drink anything but bottled water in other circumstances is simply stupid. An animal that refuses safe water deserves to die of thirst. That’s natural selection.

  3. BobTerrace
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    The one that really mystifies me when I went to the supermarket, there was no regular brands of half-and-half and only a few of the one brand that was there. Why do people think they need to hoard half-and-half?

    • Posted March 20, 2020 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      Some of us can’t live without coffee and can’t stand to take our coffee without half-and-half. It’s the run on butter that has me baffled.

      • merilee
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 10:22 am | Permalink

        I had no problem getting half-and-half yesterday for my bubble and squeak recipe.

  4. GBJames
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    I just got an email from a local restaurant (Italian, semi-upscale) that now takes reservations for curbside pickup. They remind you not to forget “apps”, dessert, and wine! And tip your waiter!

  5. Randall Schenck
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    I believe the word is anxiety and maybe some hoarding. Amazon is hiring another 100,000 employees because everyone is shopping at home. Many places are closed but you can knock on the door and they will do business through the door. Textron aviation manufacturing has furloughed 7000 employees and a health club company, Genesis, has closed dozens of facilities and laid off 4000.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 9:09 am | Permalink

      I should mention gas is down to $1.90 per gallon. Too bad there is no place to go.

      • Simon Hayward
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

        It’s down to $2.50 in the Chicago suburbs. With the same proviso.

      • Posted March 20, 2020 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

        My elderly neighbours have been taking advantage of the light traffic around, and drove to the country for a hike and a spot of lunch.

      • Posted March 20, 2020 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

        Road trip!!! Just pack your food and water 🙂

    • Posted March 20, 2020 at 10:15 am | Permalink

      Ironically, Amazon Fresh is almost completely unavailable. Online grocery shopping would have been perfect for our pandemic times.

      • eric
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 11:41 am | Permalink

        Our local PeaPod (Giant’s food delivery) has stopped taking orders until at least April. They’re overbooked.

  6. BobTerrace
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    My wife went to the local target superstore looking for the paper goods. She was told they get deliveries early in the morning Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. Unfortunately, the people are lined up outside the store when they open at 8 AM and the paper goods immediately sell out.

  7. Ken Kukec
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Down here in Florida, it feels like hurricane preparation meets Waiting for Godot.

  8. Randall Schenck
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    My guess would be many of the distribution centers that supply the stores may be closed or with few workers? I have not heard the news reporting any of this but have to think it may be part of the problem? Most large companies, such as Grocery Stores, Walmart and others either contract out or have their own distribution centers. Without these going full speed the resupply chain can go down. We already know the boats bringing in stuff from China and other places is way down. My previous life was logistics so I think about these things.

    • Harrison
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 11:00 am | Permalink

      It’s not really a supply chain problem at all, at least not yet. This is entirely a front-end problem with people buying too much and creating shortages that panic other people into also buying too much.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 11:21 am | Permalink

        If the reorder is accomplished by POS, point of sale then it is supply chain. The amount on hand will continue to be wiped out before delivery of the next order. The only way to attempt to catch up is to increase the order beyond quantities sold.

        • Harrison
          Posted March 20, 2020 at 11:27 am | Permalink

          I guess what I mean to say is it’s not a production or distribution problem. It’s a short term artificial demand spike that need not be taking place if people could remain calm and be dissuaded from hoarding. But yes it does ripple up the supply chain.

          • Randall Schenck
            Posted March 20, 2020 at 11:37 am | Permalink

            Yes, I think what you will see is, the shelves will continue to be empty or nearly so as long as we have the virus going. Retailers who get most of their orders via POS will have to manually override and order more if attempting to catch up. The other solution that does not always work is to ration what the customer can buy. They end up making more trips or using family members to get more.

            • max blancke
              Posted March 20, 2020 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

              There still seems to be a weird demand for TP. My son went into town for unrelated reasons, and reported that it was still unavailable.
              I have to think that even the most panicked person is only going to buy a year’s worth or so. And it is manufactured in the US, and probably with increased production. So it is going to be restocked as long as there is transport infrastructure.
              If I was really worried about long term survival, I would focus on canned foods and bags of rice and flour.

  9. merilee
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    I dropped into Whole Foods yesterday and things seemed pretty normal, except for the serve-yourself buffet, which of course was closed Two of the shelf-stockers had their hoodies up, probably for protection?

    • GBJames
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      Those weren’t shelf-stockers. They were hoarders-in-disguise!

      • merilee
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 9:53 am | Permalink

        🤣they did look a bit dodgy at first, but they were actually puttIng things ON the shelves, and not sneaking out tp and Purell.

  10. pablo
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    I worked nights at a super market during my college years. I seriously doubt the cashiers are enforcing the one per family rule.

  11. Monika
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    I’m in Hamburg, Germany. Thank Ceiling Cat I can work from home.

    People here hoard TP, water, canned good, noodles, sugar, flour and more like crazy. Other people keep ignoring the risks, having parties at home or a BBQ at the local park. I guess we’ll soon have a ban on going out, because people are stupid.

    • Posted March 20, 2020 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      In France, we already have a ban on parties, or at least it is seen as strengs verboten. Supermarket shelves are empty of all the things you mention. And Internet ordering of anything says you’ll have to wait 10 days for delivery.

      Can this go on?

      I hear americans are hoarding guns too. Yea!

      • C.
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 10:32 am | Permalink

        Guns and ammo! Some shops are limiting the amounts of ammunition you can purchase. These are the morons to worry about. Dimwitted doomsday preppers who are ready to panic at any moment. Real Alex Jones types. I try not to think about how many of these jackasses I’m surrounded by.

        • Ken Pidcock
          Posted March 20, 2020 at 11:20 am | Permalink

          I’m not worried. Most of ’em just enjoy thinking that, when things get really bad, they’ll get to watch the rest of us suffer. Common libertarian daydream.

          • C.
            Posted March 20, 2020 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

            Perhaps the greater worry is that these jerks are standing in long lines at gun shops, so they are congregating in large numbers, little to no gloves, masks, and not even close to six feet apart. Likewise I’ve seen on the news people swarming in massive lines at church food pantries (one station estimated over a thousand in a line down the block) and lined up to buy hand sanitizer from local distilleries who’ve switched from booze to sanitation products with little to no training or oversight.

            • rickflick
              Posted March 20, 2020 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

              Like little lemmings over a cliff. If it gets really bad the virus will cause a noticeable jump in average human intelligence.

              • Posted March 20, 2020 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

                I like it. Evolution in action. My fingers are crossed that I make the cut. Actually, I never had kids so I guess that ship has sailed. I’m already extinct but I’m still consuming resources. Oh well.

              • rickflick
                Posted March 20, 2020 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

                I’m also a dead end. I guess we can be justified by our entertainment value.

              • merilee
                Posted March 20, 2020 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

                Me, too, as my wonderful kids are both adopted (3 and 4 days old).

              • rickflick
                Posted March 20, 2020 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

                You’ve done your part. Thanks.

              • merilee
                Posted March 20, 2020 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

                Thanks. They’re 32 and 34 and I think I’ll keep them🥰

              • rickflick
                Posted March 20, 2020 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

                We represent a kind of lonely genes club. I issue forth my commiserations.

        • Posted March 20, 2020 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

          Perhaps it’s time to wheel out the 1975 BBC serial Survivors. Brits here may remember it.

          What Brian Aldiss termed a “cosy catastrophe”. Not so cosy now, I think.

    • RPGNo1
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      The ban has started.

      Hamburg, Bavaria and other federal states impose exit restrictions.

      Restaurants in Lower Saxony, Baden-Württemberg, Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate, Hamburg and Bremen will be closed.

      Meetings (more than 4, 5 persons, except families) are prohibited. Violations can be punished with an administrative fine.

    • Posted March 20, 2020 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      I’m in Cologne. There’s no toilet paper in my local supermarket either, but everything else is fully stocked, especially fresh produce. It’s weird — people obviously expect there
      to be plenty of food, but in what scenario do food deliveries continue as normal, but toilet paper deliveries suddenly fail?

  12. Posted March 20, 2020 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    I guess it’s time to see what the heck I’ve at the bottom of the freezer. And whether it is edible or an archeological item.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

      We used to talk about carbon-dating the stuff my mum kept at the back of the cupboard shelves. She took a kind of stubborn pride in having things there from back when Russia was the USSR – some caviar from the 70s, a jar of mustard from the time before they put the best-before dates on things, a slew of stuff from the turn of the century.

  13. Vaal
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Frankly it’s the empty shelves and hardship in getting groceries that is freaking me out most! (I’m in Canada).

    My wife and I totally clash on this issue: she’s a “bury head in the sand, not read the scary stuff” so “everything will be fine,” and I’m predicting everything from what I’ve read…and every step of the way the predictions have been correct in how things are worsening. I still can’t win the discussions though!

    As for groceries and hoarding in general, there are articles trying to calm people “Food producers say don’t worry, they have enough food even if it looks like your shelves are bare, there’s more coming.”

    Well, sure they have enough food…to feed people during times of normal shopping. But the whole problem is people aren’t shopping normally! They are panic-buying. And the producers/stores clearly DO NOT have enough to keep the shelves stocked when people are buying double to quadruple their normal supplies (or more). It really doesn’t do much to mitigate the problem if we are told there’s enough food, but every day it’s not on the shelves, or it shows up and is snapped immediately away by the first who arrive.

    Some have said “oh, it will get better…people can only panic buy and hoard so much food.” But…really? We are at the “easy” part of the curve of infections. Cases are going to skyrocket any day. With huge numbers of people falling sick (including those who work in the food industry) things will “be better soon?”

    We (family of 4) are in self-isolation due to having arrived home last week from a brief Florida vacation. Incredible how things changed from when we arrived to Florida (Clearwater) and the day we got back where, shortly after, self-isolation for 14 days became the requirement.

    I’m ok with the fact of staying in doors, but it’s the “can’t go out to get things we need” part that is driving me buggy. I feel like I can’t monitor the situation in the stores at exactly the most crucial time of change.
    On line grocery delivery is always swamped.
    so you are lucky to get your groceries 2 weeks after ordering. We tried ordering online from our local Loblaws, told the order was ready for pick up yesterday but “some items may not have been available.” Well, that turned out to be pretty much EVERY item not being available, except a jar of mayonnaise.

    And, again, we haven’t even come close yet to the huge numbers of infected that will likely hold for months! Yikes!

    (Fortunately I did stock up on wipes/hand sanitizers, paper towels etc, before we left on our trip. And I very consciously did not take more than we needed or wipe out the stock on a shelf. Even though hand sanitizer was already hard to come by, if I found a bunch of bottles I’d leave a lot for other people. I don’t care what conditions come, the “I’m only out for myself, best of luck to the other guy” isn’t the type of mindset I want to go out on).

    • Posted March 20, 2020 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      I suspect that the shelves will have more in a week or two. The people that are doing the hoarding are (hopefully) healthy people so the disease getting worse (more people sick) shouldn’t increase hoarding. If anything it would decrease since sick people won’t be going out shopping. No guarantees of course.

      • Vaal
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

        Paul,

        I’ve heard hopeful propositions like that.
        Though even so, that would place that much more pressure on on-line grocery delivery services which are already very unreliable.
        (My friend in London UK said the on-line stores have, for now, stopped taking orders!).

  14. C.
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    I’m worried most about what people like my son are going to do if Illinois forbids all non-essential workers. He works at Starbucks, which has limited its locations to drive-thru only, but will close any location where a worker tests positive, and they are offering two weeks pay if they get shut down, but so far it’s only two weeks. And that’s generous compared to many low-paying corporate service jobs. He’s young, has no savings, lives paycheck to paycheck. What are people like him, and I’m not far behind him, what Are they, we, going to do? The Congressional might help for a little while but $1000 doesn’t go very far. It does more for me in a small, poor rural area than in a Chicago suburb for him, that’s for sure.

    As for the hungry locusts, meat, milk, cheese, bread, pasta,potatoes, onions, cereal, water, tp, all that is in short supple here. What shocked me, literally stopped me in my tracks, was the absence of lettuce and almond milk! People here in redneckistan don’t typically dine on green things or that funny milk stuff! I consider myself lucky that they stock it here at all. Strange days.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

      This is a point in time where all those billionaires who own the most crucial companies should really be stepping up to the plate. Particularly someone like Bezos, who could do his reputation a huge amount of good with some judicious and conspicuous use of his own money to keep Amazon delivery up and running.

      They’re missing out on a PR bonanza if nothing else.

      • Mark R.
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

        Trump is also missing out daily on a PR bonanza, or at least an “acting presidential” bonanza. Just today a reporter asked him what his message is (paraphrasing) to millions of Americans who are scared. Trump told him he was a terrible reporter for asking such a question. WTF? The question was a perfect opportunity for Trump to “look good” and he shat on it. And yet a poll recently came out that said 53% of Americans approve of his handling of the pandemic. Americans are hopeless and credulous dupes.

        • Posted March 20, 2020 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

          I suspect that Trump knew that this question required the kind of response he’s particularly bad at, one that needed empathy and a way with words. I suspect also that Peter Alexander knew that and that’s why he asked it. And Trump knew that the reporter knew that. It would indeed be a reasonable question to ask of a normal president but, with Trump, it’s a calculated gotcha. Still, it was not a good response regardless.

          • GBJames
            Posted March 20, 2020 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

            I saw Alexander talking about it afterwards. He had tossed the question as a softball… An easy chance for tRump to say something comforting. But, tRump being tRump…

            • Posted March 20, 2020 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

              Of course Alexander wouldn’t admit to baiting Trump.

              Actually, I am not really siding with Trump here. We deserve a President that has empathy and can handle such questions easily. I do worry that attempts to trap Trump like this backfire with some who would support him. Is it fair to make fun of a president who is clumsy for example?

              • GBJames
                Posted March 20, 2020 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

                A softball question is a softball question.

                tRump will respond irrationally no matter what, and with anger if the question is prefaced by some kind of praise for him. I think you would have to call all questions asked of the man to be “baiting” if this one qualifies.

              • Posted March 20, 2020 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

                If it’s not baiting, then you are claiming that Alexander really wanted to know, at least for his audience, what people who are scared should think. There are two kinds of answer to that question. Trump could have spent half an hour repeating all the COVID-19 statistics to explain why they shouldn’t be afraid, or exactly what they should fear or not fear. Alternatively, he could deliver a short message of concern that would sound formulaic and would be very unlikely to calm a scared citizen. Obviously, the latter would be the only reasonable choice under the circumstances but who really wants to hear that from Trump?

              • GBJames
                Posted March 20, 2020 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

                aargh. “…if not prefaced….”

              • GBJames
                Posted March 20, 2020 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

                Say what? The question was what the president would want to say to those Americans who are frighted. That’s baiting? I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

              • Posted March 20, 2020 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

                Baiting: deliberately annoy or taunt (someone).

                No, I had it right.

        • C.
          Posted March 20, 2020 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

          The best thing tRump could do for the country is to shut the fuck up. He needs to let the experts talk but then he thinks HE is the expert. I couldn’t help but notice that more often than not, when he gives one of his press conferences, stocks start dropping. Softball questions for the soft brained narcissist seem to confuse him and he lashes out instead. The dumb bastard can’t tell shit from shinola and he’s neck deep in the dung heap! But while Wall Street isn’t buying his schtick, a disturbing portion of America IS, (53% approve? Are you shitting me?!) so, to mangle a quote, he may not be the leader we need, he sure as hell is the leader we deserve!

          • Posted March 20, 2020 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

            It has been pointed out that since Trump flipped from denial to being the “wartime President” a week or two ago, he’s done most of the talking and has pushed the experts to the back. These “talks” he’s giving daily are also in lieu of the campaign rallies he’s been denied.

          • Vaal
            Posted March 20, 2020 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

            Best suggestion I’ve seen is:

            For all following press announcements, set Trump up in a room with a (unbeknownst to him) fake camera and let him blather away while the smart people get to work trying to figure things out.

            • Mark R.
              Posted March 20, 2020 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

              Love that suggestion! And I agree with C. above as well.

            • C.
              Posted March 20, 2020 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

              tRump’s not the only idiot Republican. Missouri’s moron governor has issued “suggestions” to limit gathering to 10 people, but guess what is exempt…yep CHURCH! Luckily, while he’s too stupid to accept that make believe jebus won’t protect you from the virus, many churches have cancelled services on their own.

              • rickflick
                Posted March 20, 2020 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

                Don’t you sense a Darwinian winnowing going on here? Of course, I mean that in the nicest possible way.

  15. DrBrydon
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    I had seen a picture online of a story, where all the paper products were gone except Brawny paper towels. I chcuked over that, and what it might mean for them as a brand. Then I went to the store, and all they had was Brawny. Is there a problem I don’t know about?

    • Harrison
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      I think they’re a bit pricy is all so they’d be the last pick for a bulk buyer.

  16. rickflick
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    The hording of bottled water? I recall that a study was done in New York City on water quality, which I’m sure included testing for bacterial contamination. They compared NYC water from the tap to several types of bottled water, and the city water came out on top. NYC tap water comes from reservoirs in the Catskill mountains. The aqueducts run for 100 miles and run under the Hudson River in a large tube. Amazing but true. Never Panic.

  17. eric
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    Wow, your stores are strict!

    I was just at the local Safeway an hour ago. I saw a “Limit 2…” sign on the milk, but no other restrictions.

    We did have all the standard shortages though (paper products, wipes, water, etc…)

    The milk sign annoyed me as a scientist; shouldn’t they do it volumetrically? Taking two half-gallon containers is not the same as taking two one-gallon containers.

    The water shortage REALLY annoyed me, on a personal level. My son has a frog. If his pet dies because people are hoarding distilled water – something entirely unnecessary for drinking, but recommended for such pets – I’m going to get ticked off.

    • GBJames
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 11:17 am | Permalink

      I would think that distilled water would be bad for frogs. They rarely encounter it in the wild!

      • eric
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 11:21 am | Permalink

        I just follow the directions. My guess is that keeping unhealthy minerals out is much more important than leaving healthy minerals in, since between getting food dropped in and the frog’s own waste, the water quickly gains organics and minerals.

    • rickflick
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      You could probably make your own distilled water with a length of copper tubing and a kettle.

      • eric
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

        If the situation gets critical, yeah that’s not a bad idea. Though I’ll probably go with the small pot, big lid, collect the runoff type setup.

    • Derek Freyberg
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

      I wonder if the reason for distilled water is the chlorination of drinking water.
      I recall, from many years back when my now 41 year old daughter had a couple of goldfish, that you were not supposed to refill the tank from the tap after cleaning it – you should let water stand for some hours in an open container.
      Perhaps boiling tap water and letting it cool would be a possibility.

  18. sted24
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    Here is my prediction (I’m pretty poor at these): Once people have stocked up, at the varying levels they deem desirable, the excess buying will level off.

    It has to, doesn’t it? People have finite storage space and available cash. Even if it looks like the immediate crisis – lockdowns, etc – will last several months, people will soon return to normal purchasing levels simply replenishing their stocks as they are depleted.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      It would be nice if it worked this way but often is does not. The thing about out of stock is – How many sales did you miss on the item while you were out? If you somehow could know this and increase the order to this level you might get back in stock. I would guess that some items will be short for the duration of the panic.

      If toilet paper is a big problem, even at a big store, I would consider ordering a whole truck load if you could.

      • sted24
        Posted March 20, 2020 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

        I am not sure I agree. Supermarkets know exactly how buying has changed during the recent panic: everything from how many customers are buying X in vastly increased numbers, to how many are now buying zero because stocks are exhausted.

        Any problems are likely downstream in immediately increasing supplies. A largely temporary problem, I suggest.

        I mean, no country suddenly has an ongoing need for vastly more toilet paper!

        • Vaal
          Posted March 20, 2020 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

          sted24,

          As I mentioned earlier in a post: I’m sure providers have enough food to keep everyone fed for quite a while in to the future…so long as everyone is buying via the normal patterns. But I don’t see how they are prepared for mass panic buying and hoarding.
          As we’ve seen, bare shelves can be entirely re-stocked in a store but that supply is quickly swept up and the shelves are bare again. Whatever the capacity of grocery providers, I’m not seeing that the stores have the capacity to stock enough for the actual buying pattern. And I’m not sure how buying patterns and consumer panic will get better as the health crises significantly increases.

          I’ve seen a number of people I know who were thinking stocking up on goods was over-reacting now waking up to the fact they are having a hard time getting stuff, so now they “get it” more and are getting alarmed too.

          Many are reacting to things *as they change* rather than looking ahead to the examples of other stricken countries to predict ahead how things will change, and therefore make preparations. As Sam Harris said on his latest podcast, every procedure (e.g. closing schools, social distancing, border lock downs etc) that seem “obviously correct thing to do” now seemed somewhat absurd only one or two weeks ago. Hence this crises is out of sync with our motivations to act – the thing we SHOULD be doing at any point always seems an overreaction – “we don’t need to do that YET.”

          • Posted March 20, 2020 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

            I judge what will happen with stores and hoarding based on my own household’s behavior appropriately scaled up. Because lock-down was clearly going to happen soon, we wanted to get some food and other supplies in so we could minimize the number of store visits going forward whereas, normally, we’d only buy perishables for the coming couple of days. We’re not eating more food than normal. Based on this, I expect the supply to be ample and more consistent very soon.

            It also may be that some are trying to hoard enough food that it will last through the entire pandemic season. Still, this would still result in supply returning soon.

            There will also be adjustments in the supply chain both good and bad. Some will presumably get sick enough that it affects production and transport. On the other hand, these companies want to stay in business so they’ll work healthy people double-time to keep things moving.

            There will also be supply chain adjustments based on changes in the particular products people demand. For example, I imagine there are more tv dinners needed and fewer fresh vegetables simply due to people favoring products with a longer shelf life. Production will adjust. Some won’t keep up but others will fill the gaps. People are eating at home and not at restaurants so that’s another adjustment.

          • sted24
            Posted March 20, 2020 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

            “I’m not sure how buying patterns and consumer panic will get better as the health crises significantly increases.”

            My (possibly simple-minded) analysis is that the ability to stock-up becomes saturated. No more space or money to buy even more. Or need.

            Toilet rolls are cheap (if bulky to store); meat, prepared meals, etc, require freezers for longterm storage. That’s an expensive capacity to increase and no evidence it is. And there’s no point in buying vastly more fresh produce. It will simply go off. ETC.

            As I argued, all this is rapidly self-limiting. Time scale? Entirely without expertise, my guess is a couple of weeks. A month, or so.

            Be interesting to see just how wrong I am!

  19. Curtis
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    During a normal week my family goes through 2 loaves of bread, 2 dozen eggs, 3 lbs ground beef, etc. Our consumption is probably higher now that we are all home. These rules would make me have to go 2 or 3 times a week.

  20. James Heard
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    You had me at “bog roll”, I had to look it up 😉

  21. Posted March 20, 2020 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Up here in Canada, the medical advisors were saying get some bottled water to last your family for 2 weeks of potential quarantine. Minimum one litre of water per person per day. The thinking was that there could be a disruption in water sanitation for whatever reason however remote, and we might not have proper drinking tap water. I did buy some bottled water (which I had been avoiding for many years on account of eco-unfriendly plastic), but I also filled up large jugs and empty juice bottles with filtered tap water.

    • Vaal
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      Yup. It has actually been in the government recommendations to stock up on water for quite a while now. I bought a bunch “just in case.”

    • Mark R.
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

      I live in the boonies, and I’m happy we have a private well. Haven’t really thought of it as an advantage until this pandemic. Yet I still bought a case of bottled water because I couldn’t help it…herd instinct I guess.

      • Posted March 20, 2020 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

        I have two houses, one is an urban house that is my permanent residence. It is being renovated to sell. My other one is a rural house. I visit it fairly often to ensure it hasn’t been broken into. The urban house has a filter on the water system that we installed because the tap water tastes so bad. This place is on septic. The rural house has well water which needs to be tested for arsenic and other such pollutants that have been detected in well water in that area, but hasn’t been yet, and should have a filter installed. It also is on septic. I have not bought bottled water, but have bottles I can fill if needed with filtered water.

        Given the reports that people are now using wipes and paper towels in lieu of TP and are flushing them, there have already been plugged up lines causing water overflow into the streets. If enough people do this, sanitation systems can be plugged up, pipes damaged and undesirable material overflowing into watersheds and public drinking water sources. If one must use something other than TP, do not flush. Put the “something” in the trash to dispose of.

    • rickflick
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

      You need quite a few bottles of water to flush a toilet – should that become necessary. 😎

      • Posted March 21, 2020 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

        No need to waste drinking water for that. I’m filled up large jugs for flushing toilets.

        • rickflick
          Posted March 21, 2020 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

          When we were in New York, summer and winter storms could knock out power for days. We routinely filled the bath tub and a bunch of 10 gallon jugs.

          • Posted March 22, 2020 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

            Great idea. I wish it would warm up so I can set up my 3 rain barrels.

  22. Steve Pollard
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    I went early to my local Sainsbury’s in Kent (UK), and although the staff had worked all night to restock the shelves, the panic-buying locusts had already taken most of the pasta, loo-rolls, and (sadly) wine (don’t worry; there was enough left for me). None of the stores or pharmacies in town have had sanitised wipes or gels for over a week.

    There is also a ‘Spice Store’ in town that is doing a great job in getting re-supplied with rice, pulses, Asian vegetables and spices. Guess where I’ll be dropping in most often next week.

  23. Posted March 20, 2020 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    I was raised by people who went through the Great Depression in the U.S. It left a very deep impression on them. Part of that time, my Mom worked as a housekeeper for $2.50 a week and upon starting one job she was advanced her first week’s pay so she could give it to her mother who needed it to buy flour for biscuits. To use a common phrase, although they raised most of their food when they could, they weren’t living high on the hog. And, my Dad was share-cropping in Missouri trying to raise corn. He, apparently, made wonderful biscuits which he and my half-brothers mostly lived on.

    As a result, when a little more money became available, they always made sure that they had enough supplies to survive a few weeks or months. Lots of beans and cornbread. Lots of pasta and whatever, etc. Stuff that would keep almost forever. Cheap cuts of meat, potatoes, cereal. I grew up thinking this was normal.

    So, whenever I’ve had a little more money to devote to it, I’ve always stocked up on frozen, canned and dried foods for regular use and in case of emergencies. I probably could live a month or two on the food I currently have stocked up. So, I’m one of those blasted hoarders, but I’ve stockpiled my essentials over time. I once had a neighbor who never kept food in her house, for other than breakfast and dinner. If the kids came home from school hungry; too bad. She shopped for groceries daily before dinner.

    I have one child who buys grass fed beef to fill the freezer, raises large gardens annually, cans and freezes any overabundance. I’ll bet that our family would share resources among ourselves if one or more of us were needing basics and didn’t have them. There are a variety of groups (some religious) that routinely take care of people in need. It seems that we are seeing more and more people trying to help each other. I’m thrilled to see it since we know we can’t depend on our federal government.

    If this lasts as long as some are projecting, when items you need are in stock, you may not want to hoard, but buy more than one if you can by then. And, those of you who have family and/or organizations that can band together for survival, please do so. Every one of you is precious and deserves to live as long as you can. Be safe.

    • rickflick
      Posted March 20, 2020 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

      Sounds a lot like my parents’ generation. The Depression left deep scars.

  24. Jeff Chamberlain
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    No rubbing alcohol here. Limited TP and PT, but the latter two are getting better.


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