Is It Time to Stock Up?
Toilet paper. Everyone missed toilet paper last spring. Honestly, the Mid-Atlantic should have seen it coming. Every time we have a potential snowstorm brewing, toilet paper, bread, and milk are the first to disappear from grocery shelves. In fact, the blizzard of 1996 left the Mid-Atlantic paralyzed and grocery stores completely empty-no meat, no milk or dairy products, and certainly no toilet paper. A sight I had never seen before until the pandemic.
In 1996, however, the issue was simply the supply chain. Roads were impassable with feet of snow blocking even Interstates. Last spring was more complex. The virus spread throughout the world, impacting the supply chain, the production lines, and everyone in between. With the uptick in the virus this winter, should we begin to stock up? And, what should we purchase?
I am a planner. Last spring, I knew the virus was coming as I read the papers and followed news organizations across the world. The week before our state shut down I made a huge shopping trip with my teenage daughter. Our cart was overflowing. “Mom, no one else is doing this!” she looked at our cart and started to feel embarrassed. “They will be. We are ahead of the game,” I replied. Having lived through 1996 and multiple Mid-Atlantic storms, I knew I was right. And, I was. In the following days, our grocery store emptied its shelves of nearly everything. Even the frozen vegetable section was cleared out completely!
The virus rate in many states exceeds 10%, and with the number of people ignoring pleas to stay home over the Thanksgiving holiday, the rate is surely to rise even higher in the coming weeks. Recently, I have noticed in my own store cycles of empty shelves. One week, all of the pasta will be gone. Another week, there is no taco seasoning to be found. For the past 3 weeks, I have been searching for paper towels with no luck. So, I have started stocking up.
I started with, of course, toilet paper. Companies and grocery stores will say that they have the toilet paper shortage under control, but I have my doubts. My store started stocking imported Mexican toilet paper late last spring to meet demand. Each time I went to purchase any, my teens would remind me, “Get the GOOD…