Country Living Series

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Empty shelves?

I have an online friend in Maine who just sent the following:

"Just got back from the monthly Walmart/Sam's Club run, and the shelves were seriously empty in both places. Canned goods were non-existent. No fishing equipment, canning stuff, camping stuff, or cleaning supplies. Ironically they had toilet paper. I just topped off supplies on stuff I'd used up and was able to get what I needed, but was shocked about the lack of food and supplies. We asked one of the sales guys what was going on, and he said they just can't get stuff they need anymore, and they expect it will get worse. What the heck is going on?"


I asked for additional details since I was interested in putting her experience up on the blog. She is curious "what is going on in the rest of the country," so she expanded on her experience:

"Walmart had almost no canned goods, canned meat, dry soups, and first aid supplies. Camping, fishing, sewing and bicycles almost non-existent. A few cases of canning jars, but no extra lids and very expensive. When we talked to manager he said supply trucks are coming in half-empty, and the word from management is it's like this all over and they are concentrating on the basics.

The paper product aisle had nothing but a few dust bunnies. Sam's Club had very little canned goods and fresh meat section was very lean. Rice, flour, sugar were down to a few bags. Lots of empty shelves. Limits on one per family for a lot of supplies like flour, sugar, granola bars. Meat is also being rationed.

When speaking with a sales person, she said they aren't being told anything and every day is a new adventure! We stopped in Hobby Lobby and they had only one or two of any particular item instead of having the shelves jam-packed, like usual. We needed a certain sewing supply, which they did not have. The sales women said they are having some issues getting stuff in.

On a positive note, [my husband] had a T-shirt on that said 'I stand for the flag and kneel for the cross' and we got some positive feedback on it and no one said the shirt offended them or spit on us. So all in all, a good day."



I found my friend's Maine observations interesting because we're not seeing the same thing here. Last time I went into the city (June 15), things seemed well-stocked. However I haven't been to a Walmart in about a year, so I don't know what things look like there.

Is anyone else seeing the same thing my friend is seeing? What's the situation in your neck of the woods?

56 comments:

  1. Yesterday at the grocery store everything fully stocked no limits and our local hardware store has canning jar lids on sale this week. Milwaukee Wi

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  2. The Walmart on 503 in Battle Ground appears to have plenty of stuff, but some canned goods sections are looking a bit lean. The only missing items were standard handgun ammo and scary black rifle ammo. When asked, the clerk in the "gun" department said: "Walmart has stopped carrying all handgun ammo and all 556, 762 and 308 and 30-06 ammo. Don't know if that is ALL Walmarts or just in areas where crazy people live. Most "sporting goods" stores are either out of or restricting sales of 9s and 556s too.

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  3. Our Walmarts in Louisiana are pretty well stocked. Admittedly, in most of the big box stores, there are some areas that are empty, (Academy has no bicycles), but it seems that it's tending toward being out of things made overseas. Foodwise, things are ok. Meat, especially beef, is quite expensive, but pork and chicken are in good supply for the moment

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  4. Things are about "half-stocked" here in the mid-Ohio Valley

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  5. Things are fine here (Northern Wi). I read truckers have said they didn't want to deliver to places where they didn't have police protection. could that have something to do with it?

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    1. shelves are stocked full across the border in northern MN, too.

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    2. Here in Walla Walla, there was hardly even a protest. Police are quite friendly. Area is not high crime. Trucks pull in regularly. Shelves are still bare in spots, with many items in short or no supply.

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  6. Here in Hampton Roads, the stores I use have been stocked at about 75% of there old level. I was able to pick up a couple of nice beef briskets for smoking. That the first of those in a long time.

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  7. My wife and I went to a Western Washington Cabelas on Tuesday to look at a new shotgun for her. We were shocked at what we found. All of the shotgun/rifle racks were empty, Only a few in corner. The handgun case was empty. All of the ammo aisles looked like the pictures of the empty store shelves you have posted. I asked the people in the guns and ammo area if they had just moved everything to storage because of the shut down and slow business. They said no that all that ammo and guns have been sold. I have a couple of pictures, but could not figure out how to post them.

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    1. If the Cabelas you went to is anywhere near the cesspools of Portlandia or CHAZattle, the stores are taking precautions to keep firearms "out of sight" in case the "joggers" and "peaceful demonstrators" decide to "peacefully" destock the firearms section....

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  8. Many many years ago, I worked for a manufacturer that sold to many companies including Walmart. Walmart always paid bottom dollar. Maybe manufacturers are only sending to their top customers if they are low on stock. I know that some companies are struggling with keeping up with demand.

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    1. In all fairness Walmart charges their customers bottom dollar too. This is why I like Walmart, low prices and lots of choices.

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  9. I try not to shop Walmart much...But I was at Costco last week. Seems like things are hit & miss there at the moment. First, many empty shelves. Then, almost fully stocked. Now, somewhat empty again. They continue to put limits on fresh meats (1 pkg per customer!) and 'real' food (canned vegetables, meats, etc.) are gone again. Lots of snack foods and non-necessities. No Costco brand TP again...

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  10. Shopped today (in middle Tennessee) and saw numerous gaps on the shelves (cleaning products, canned veggies, peanut butter, etc), but there was a selection of rice for the first time. Still no t.p. though.

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  11. Here in rural Southeast Iowa Aldi's, Fareway and HyVee groceries and Walmart are now pretty fully stocked...the Mennonite store The Dutchman's in Cantril (a block-long store that's very popular) was only short on yeast and was selling commercial size packages. They sell bulk goods, housewares, clothes and shoes, fabric, meat and dairy, etc.
    We've avoided Costco and Sam's in the larger towns because of protests. We keep a deep pantry, home can, bake and cook from scratch, etc. I never thought I'd see yeast in short supply!

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    1. Yeast has been hard to come by in NY too. Everything else is getting back to normal.

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  12. The stores look OK out here in the Wild, Wild, West. Of course, our nanny "governor" is stoking panic again. Wanna guess what happens next? I mean, besides someone claiming that Campbell's soup is racist...

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  13. In north central Texas most things are there but it is like only 2 jars of salsa instead of the normal 10. Also for the first time in awhile Smuckers natural (made with sugar) marmalade was in stock. so slimier than normal but limited bare shelves yet.

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  14. Costco, Walmart, and Kroger here in suburban Georgia are well stocked.

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  15. My daughter works for a major Texas chain grocery store. There are limits on a lot of non food items like ibuprofen, t.p., baby wipes, etc. in order to hold off shortages. No sanitizer to be found. Humorously true to Texas, the only limit on food is brisket.

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  16. Here in rural southern MN I haven't noticed any problems, all the stores I visit seem to be fully stocked.

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  17. Just got home from Costco and Winco in Couer d'Alene they seemed well stocked, there were a few gaps though, and of course T.P. in Costco is still one per customer. All the people that came in made the TP their first stop. Surprisingly Costco did not have bagged noodles they said that it must be seasonal, really? Since when are egg noodles seasonal? Apparently I will have to keep on topping off, I better get some more flour, sugar and rice. Also the dollar store had full shelves of bread that was quickly going, bagels in particular.

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  18. I stopped at my local Wallyworld in Hernando, MS after work yesterday. I was looking for some rubbing alchohol and the dept. manager told me she had 2 cases that morning but it was all gone. No bacon, barely any frozen dinners I eat (I'm single and barely cook), and some other items I wanted were gone, but they had TP, but I also have a more than adequate stock at home. It's not too bad here right now.

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    1. I am in the same area. The Wal-marts in Olive Branch and Senatobia seem to be okay. Occasional empty shelves. But, I went to fabric and crafts and saw almost empty fabric shelves. The woman in the department told me that the fabric got sold to people making masks and surmised that maybe the restocking problem is that those jobs are considered to be non-essential.

      Was in the local Sam's today and it was very well stocked on everything including enough customers that we had to wait outside until some people left.

      kathy in MS

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    2. Nice to see a fellow North Mississipian here that loves this blog.

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  19. In central Maine. Went to Walmart yesterday and found shelves pretty well stocked. Many pallets of canning jars and adequate supply of pricey canning accessories but limited regular canning lids and none of the wide mouth lids. Sporting goods nearly empty no bikes and little ammo or camping supplies. Clerks were busy restocking canned goods, plenty of meats, produce, bakery items and no restrictions on quantities that I saw. Amazed to find jars of the bread machine rapid rise yeast that has not been available in any stores in our area since April. Seemed to be many more baking supplies so I am fully restocked now.

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  20. From southwestern South Dakota. Both "dollar stores" in our small town have very limited supplies, if anything, from canned goods to rice, and noodles. Hit or miss with paper supplies. When asked, store employee said that trucks not coming in full because warehouse limited. Grocery stores, similar. Depends on when you shop (in relation to truck delivery). Bread, meat, other items limited in quantities to purchase. Hard to find canning supplies, especially lids.

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  21. Here in Dutchess County NY our Aldi and Shop-Rite as well as other typical grocery stores are well stocked. I'm not sure about Walmart -- it had lots of empty shelving and were out of a lot of things when I was last there (last month) but it could be different now. I haven't been in Sam's Club since before the pandemic but my husband has. He thought it was okay -- not great but okay. He was able to get toilet paper and paper towel. We figured that even though we are stocked up on them now, we may need them in the future. He got one package of each.

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  22. Aldi in CT today had most things, but it seemed a bit random stock in some areas. They had canned veggie limits.

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  23. I just got home from CDA too. SmartShopper had 10# boxes of pasta, plenty of 25-50# bags of flours and sugars, pinto beans, even 1# bags of yeast.

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  24. The stores here in northern TN/southern KY look pretty good. Most things are in stock,except paper products, which seem to be on a rotating system (out one week, there the next). Shortages are short term mostly and mostly just name brands. Walmart is the worst for shortages, Food Lion doesn't seem to have many at all. Those are the two stores I shop most often, Kroger seems to be well stocked when I shop there.

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  25. In Silicon Valley, my wife is largely finding what the family needs.
    One area of shortage that she has not worked around - yeast for baking. She can’t find good (healthful) yeast anywhere.

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  26. Yeast has been non-existent in Olympia. But sourdough starters are being passed around and we've had fun baking bread, bagels, biscuits, pancakes, crackers, and pizza using sourdough starter.

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  27. Im in Virginia, I too asked an employee at hobby lobby a few days ago why their shelves were empty. She reassured me that they had lots of inventory to put out and they have tons of Christmas stuff. This is my second visit and not only are the isles empty, lots of shelving is gone leaving big open gaps through the store.
    Same thing at Joanns fabric. My daughter in law lives in a small community an hour room us. She says she hasn't been able to buy any staples since the virus began.

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  28. PS....I have only been able to get yeast by driving to an Amish grocery an hour from home

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  29. I'm in northern Wisconsin as well. I'm only shopping once a month but the last time I went the meat counter was about half full. Toilet paper was depleted (again). Everything else was okay but not full. There were still empty spots here and there. We live in a tourist town and lots of folks are here for the 4th. Demand is high.

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  30. I am a manager in the General Merchandise dept. of a Meijer (Midwest superstore). We are almost fully stocked on just about everything food and paper related. We have been notified from corporate that we will not be getting anymore pools, a/c units, grills, etc. due to the factories in China shutting down. We are however as of this week dealing with a nation-wide coin shortage. We are no longer accepting cash in the self-scan register lanes. We have lifted the limits on almost everything. Yeast is just about the only thing that we can not get in regularly.

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  31. Interesting how goods are limited because of Chinese closures

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  32. I shop at 3 different grocery stores here in MI - Meijer, Family Fare, and Kroger. They seem to be on some weird rotation, where if one has no beef or no chicken or no pork, another has the missing meat, and if one is low on canned goods, another has full shelves. The one item it is impossible to get in any of them is Clorox wipes. There are still limitations on how much customers can buy of particular items, and the entire paper products aisle is a joke.

    Because I teach rifle marksmanship regularly, and because everyone in the family has decided to take the course this summer, I've had to buy a lot of ammo. While .22 is still available, it is impossible to get my usual brand and bullet type/weight, so we are conducting experiments on the accuracy of different brands through our various firearms with what we can get. 5.56 is GONE, from everywhere. The local gun store had a completely full parking lot yesterday early afternoon (a Thursday), with a line outside across the front of the building and wrapped around the side. My daughter was with me as we drove past, and we looked at each other and just had to laugh.
    XaLynn

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  33. Up here 500 miles north of the US border things are coming back to Walmart and our local grocery stores. Yeast is still difficult to find. Flour at Costco was limited to 1 but that has since been lifted. Some things at Costco, like the bottled German bratwurst long hotdogs that I like to buy to keep on the shelves hasn't been available since April. Canning jars and lids are well stocked, but the jars are going up in price. So far thrift stores are keeping their jar prices at 50c per jar - same pre-Covid price.

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  34. Went to Walmart in Nogales , Arizona yesterday, with the exception of caned Vegetables they were pretty well stocked , no limit on meat ( I don't buy my meat there anyway ) The Walmart here stoped selling guns and ammo a few yrs ago .Safeway was well stocked, again caned vegetables were sparse , Del Monte was no where to be seen . No limit on meat purchases but no Pork ribs or country style ribs .. I buy my meat at a family market in Nogales , two of the bins were empty, no pork or Country style ribs , again no Del Monty caned vegetables. No limit on meat purchases . I only buy Delmonty as they are the only Caned Veggies that are reasonably priced and are non GMO. I ended up ordering some caned veggies from Amazon.

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    1. interesting to learn that del monte is non-gmo. I didn't know that. It WILL have an affect on my purchasing.

      I am not much on Amazon but I am in an area that within a 25 mile radius of my home I have 4 Wal Marts,2 Krogers, 4 independent grocery stores and 9 Dollar Generals. Strange since I live 15 miles from the nearest town. I can usually find what I need/want.

      kathy in MS

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  35. Been having trouble getting bread flour and yeast near Clemmons, NC. TP is back on the shelves, the decent kind without splinters. No other store has limits except for Publix.

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  36. Here in VA, we cannot find yeast or Clorox wipes. The canned goods shelves are looking a bit weird - 20 feet of Campbell's soup, but sorely lacking in variety. No problem getting meat, flour, sugar or other staples. I am thankful I have plenty of canning jars and lids that I stocked up on last year. I stopped at the fabric store last week and there is no elastic. Most of the quilting fabric has been pulled and fleece blanket kits are filling the shelves. I have heard that all the essentials for sewing have been pulled to fill mail order requests, but I can't confirm. I am just afraid we will have to go through the whole toilet paper thing again if the virus gets worse, so I am stocking up.

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  37. Last week in Central Texas the Home Depot, Costco and HEB (major local chain grocery) seemed well stocked. HEB management and workers were magnificent during the worst of this.

    There's a website* that tracks consumer spending (not store inventory). It has grocery purchases at +12% (Jun 24 vs. Jan 2020) nationwide, and +10% in Maine, and +12% in Texas.

    * Search "tracktherecovery" on duckduckgo or google for a link the the website.

    A LOT of other information on that website.

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  38. I am in Central Oregon. The shelves here at the two Walmarts in Bend and Redmond are sporadically empty. One can have a full selection of soup, the next 4ft section is nearly empty. Pasta is scarce. Meat is just a few packages of each, usually the most expensive is what is left. They have double the sausage/kielbasa sections. Our local store in Sisters is starting to look like it did earlier in the year. Usually the eggs are gone, just the spendy $6 organic ones are left. Milk is picked through and the dairy and oj sections are pretty bare. Because it is so expensive we usually only get the basics so we don't have to do the 50 mile round trip into town. Safeway has tripled it's seafood area, but it's nothing I would buy as most if farm raised out of the country.

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  39. I work on the sales floor at my local Home Depot, and I live in Upstate NY.

    Local grocery stores vary. The big stores are FINALLY getting stuff back in stock enough to keep the shelves from looking empty, BUT, if you look close enough its often not always the USUAL stuff. They're throwing whatever they can get onto the shelves to make it look full. Prices on many many things are headed through the roof. Smaller grocery stores, and stores outside of city areas, are doing better about keeping shelves full of reasonably normal stuff, but prices are on the rise there too. Still can't get yeast local (though I was finally able to order some), peanut butter is still scarce. Purchase limits are mostly gone, except on papergoods.

    I've been avoiding Walmart and the like, so I can't comment there.

    At my work: we've got mad empty shelves ALL OVER THE STORE. It started in cleaning supplies when the virus first hit and everyone panicked, but its spread to the whole store. Based on what I'm seeing in the ordering system, and feedback from my management, its being caused by several factors.

    1: people's buying habits changed, sometimes drastically, when the pandemic hit. While stores like HD do a pretty decent job at stocking for expected sales, no one expected such a drastic buying change. Available stocks of items sold out quickly.

    2: some of the needed items were/are available in warehouses, but there's limits to how much can be shipped at any one time. Plus trucking companies were feeling the concerns over the virus, so some drivers weren't driving, and there were issues with states not allowing reststops to be open so the truckers could park and sleep, and.....yah

    3: manufacturing basically shut down for 2-3 months. The places that were able to keep producing often had to slow down production in order to space out employees to alleviate virus concerns. Employees were scared of the virus and called out of work. Note that this runs all the way down the chain. So not only is the factory that builds the lawnmower affected, but the factory that makes the parts for the lawnmower, and the factory that processes the raw materials for the parts for the lawnmower. AND that assumes that those factories are in the USA, do I really need to explain what happened to everything coming in from out of country? Plus all of this affected the warehouses that store all those products too, on the same scale.

    4: people are still panic buying. Oh, they don't see what they're doing as panic buying, but thats whats happening. My work has been getting in the occasional case of the various high demand cleaning supplies, and in every single case people walk in, see it on the shelf and say "oh, Lysol! I better grab a bottle while I can" even if they don't NEED it. The end result is constantly empty shelves of high demand product, which in turn drives people to buy it when they see it even if they don't need it, the next time it comes in. The only way to fix this buying pattern is to get enough product in to fill the shelves and keep them full for at least a couple weeks. Which is going to take a ridiculous amount of product to do country wide. So its going to be a while.

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    1. Haven't been able to find any more Lysol to restock the deep pantry. Western PA

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  40. I’m in Green Bay WI and I was surprised to find Costco was running very low on toilet paper again. For the past month everything seemed to be back to normal supply-wise, but this past week I noticed almost everyone had a package of both toilet paper and paper towels in their carts. I don’t watch mainstream news, so it made me wonder if a resurgence is being “predicted”. As of a few days ago, canned goods were still fully stocked, but at the grocery store I’m still hearing people openly discussing which items have the best shelf life. At least where I am people are still very much on edge.

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    1. Toilet paper back in at Costco as of Monday in Green Bay. Store seemed well stocked though people everywhere are quite tense.

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  41. I live in central Maine. I haven't been to Walmart since this whole pandemic mess began so I don't know how it is. However, I went to the grocery store today and it is better stocked than it has been in a long time. The canned goods were on the low side but everything else, including TP was fine.

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  42. Here in Walla Walla it's somewhere in the middle, but not closer to the abundant end. Many holes in the shelves as far as food goes.

    The Dak canned hams are in a new type can and not to be trusted, Right off the shelf I can shake them and hear the slosh around inside.Air pocket anybody? Many items are smaller, or lower quality, IF they have stock at all. This is just one example.

    We have some canned meats, but not much. The canned veggies is mixed. Some have only a few cans that are all pulled forward to give the illusion of stock, some are missing, and a couple have a bit more. Never like it was though. Good luck finding much pork. Pasta and dried beans/rice are hit and miss.

    The GV 3lb bacon which used to cost $11 roughly just a couple months ago is now over $15, if they have it. Little Smokies with cheddar are frequently out of stock.

    With the advent of the grand solar minimum, food production is dropping like a rock all over the planet where historically its been good growing for last couple centuries, but taking off in North Africa and Middle East as food growing belts shift towards the equator. Problem with those areas though is the increase in food capacity has sparked locust swarms to eat it all and a large chunk of it is in countries that hate the US. Think Iran is going to be eager to sell the US food? Not likely.

    A trip down the kitchen appliances section shows mostly empty shelves. Guess you can't import slow cookers or air fryers from China right now lol.
    Better get used to it, its supposed to last for a min of 10-15 years, perhaps more depending on which sun cycle is taking us down. Better learn which plants grow in climates colder than your current one as things cool off, and plant accordingly. This has happened before, many times, and it always follows the same script.

    But above that, make sure you're right with Jesus. The Bible talks about the end being a days wages required for enough food for one person for one day. Not enough for your family, just you. That time is upon us. Your preps wont last long, and you wont be able to grow much food, even on a farm.

    Look what happened to many farms last couple years: late planting due to weather, early freezing so much could not ripen or be harvested. Even seed crops were wiped out for things like lentils and potatoes.

    And its not just the US. Most grain exporting countries have banned selling food to the rest of the world in some sort or fashion. They know they are not going to have enough for their own people here soon, so keep it in country.

    Welcome to the new norm.

    The leadership of countries know it, so do much of the corps who make up our food chain. Why do you think Del Monte has been abandoning the northern parts of the US slowly? Don't tell me its because of old factories and processing equipment. If there was money to be made, they would rebuild the plants. There is no money to be made right now, because there isn't much food going to be grown there for a while.

    Its time folks, its started

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    1. Pork products are going to get more and more expensive as African Swine Flu (a subject the lamestreem meejuh is currently ignoring bc they are slavering over the retards running amok) continues to wipe out pigs in Africa, CHINA especially) and other Asian Countries. As pigs are wiped out elsewhere, great pressure will be put on USA, & Canada to make up for everybody else. Don't forget that Smithfield is owned by the Chinese, and most of what Smithfield produces is now sent to China.

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  43. That's interesting because I noticed many empty shelves in our Ohio Walmart store yesterday (7/5). I asked the cashier about it, and she said it was due to people staying in rented cabins stocking up on supplies.

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  44. Expect prices for Pork and Beef products to increase greatly. Why? In case everybody has forgotten (the lamestreem meejuh has certainly done so), African Swine Flu is killing off pigs in Africa, China, and most of Asia big time. According to what few reports I can find, over 25% of swine in China have been killed, and prit' near the same in Africa.

    This puts extreme pressure on American and Canadian swine farmers to sell to the highest bidders (China). Don't forget that Smithfield is wholly owned by China and the majority of the pork products produced by Smithfield are shipped directly to China.

    On the beef front, since slaughter houses and processing plants have been forced to close due to the coronabologna "crisis", many ranchers have resorted to "culling" their herds as they can't sell to the big Co-op processing plants.

    As stated in a post above, the "strange" weather in the Mid-west has caused all sorts of problemos with grain products, so baked goods will probably get more expensive as well.

    Then, just to make things "fun", the double whammy of Congressional greed ( the inventory tax ), and stupidity on the part of our glorious "Captains of Industry" adopting the Japanese "just in time" supply chain methodology just compounds shortages, as the monumental stupidity of this thinking combined with the mindless hoarding leaves nothing as a backup when media driven fear causes panic buying. Stores are "wiped out" of things we all take for granted, and then when the "buy more stock" orders go out, there is nothing in the supply chain to make up for the "hole" in the supermarkets. It takes months for the manufacturers to gear up and start producing more, IF they can find the workers to do the work thanks to the stupidity of current policies regarding unemployment compensation and fear of coronabologna .

    So, as a previous commenter stated, get good with The God of the Bible, do your prepping accordingly, and pray for this Country.

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  45. East Idaho here. Sporadic holes and diminished supply on shelves. Folks, get busy filling what holes you have. Winter is coming and hard times with it. Real hard. World food bank estimates 40 countries will be in famine by December. Do not be complacent. Take the gun and ammo shortage seriously. The same will happen with food.

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