March 26, 2020
We've heard repeatedly on the news that grocery stores are well-stocked across the country and in articles like this NY Times piece There Is Plenty of Food in the Country. On several occasions, Fox News host Ainsley Earhardt shared that she stops nearly every day to pick up this or that and has absolutely no problem in New York City. Same thing for friends in Montana.
That's not the case for our 3 area Walmart Super Centers or Safeway. We haven't checked Albertson's or King Soopers, but would guess they are experiencing the same thing. We're wondering if borders states are being supplied first and the 'flyover states' are restocked with what's left. There are major vacancies in supplies that haven't been filled for 5 weeks like toilet paper, Clorox, Lysol, hand sanitizer, wipes. Last time I updated on what we're seeing here, the frozen pizza cases were completely empty. Tuesday, there were 12. The meat counter was about 1/2 full. Produce, Easter candy, cereal and baked goods seem to be the only things that are OK on a regular basis.
All of these stores have implemented a 1-hour shopping time just for seniors 55 and older 1 or 2 days a week. Since we fall into this category, I scampered to Walmart Tuesday at the prescribed time only to find many of the shelves picked clean or nearly so. A Walmart clerk said they'd goofed Monday and put out all newly arriving supplies at once. Then like locusts descending on Kenya's crops, everything was 'devoured' and nothing was left for seniors the next day.
Fresh meat cabinets were about 1/3 full. Frozen veggies about 1/2 filled. Bulk boneless chicken breasts usually number about 40 packages. Tuesday there were 6. Soup was still wiped out. Now pasta sauces are gone. No toilet paper or paper towels. No yeast. Cleaning supplies consisted of Windex, air freshener, Comet and laundry detergent, but even those are getting very thin.
In Walmart veggie bins Tuesday there were NO, ZIP, NADA Russet or Red potatoes. Everything was empty and though we've planted an entire 4x8 bed with potatoes, we planted 12 more sets in containers on the deck. This morning we heard winds were going to be ridiculous later this afternoon. They came early and my nose sucked up garden soil like a vacuum. Everything is upside down, off-kilter and crazy so I'm trying to prepare my family and neighbors that haven't a clue, as best as possible.
While putting our few bags into the car, I noticed a stocker running throughout the parking lot and talking to various customers and then off to the next. She said they'd gotten in 45 rolls not bulk packages, but rolls of toilet paper and did I need any. I thanked her and said "we're fine for now." Maybe that was dumb and short-sighted, but I figured there were other people who are in dire straits.
The last time I wrote, I also addressed concerns about COVID-19 germs getting on produce and that we were expanding our veggies garden this year so we didn't have to buy these potential COVID-19 carriers. Turns out we weren't worrying for nothing, but never did we think someone would intentionally contaminate food especially not in a crisis. WRONG! Some woman thought it would be cute to "purposely cough" all over the produce, as well as some bakery, meat case, and grocery shelves. This disgusting act caused a Pennsylvania store to ditch $35,000 of produce in case her actions contaminated the foods.
Last night while Stan and I unwound with an episode of Josh Gates' Expedition Unknown, our phones blasted off an alarm. Second time ever. Gov. Polis had just issued a state-wide Stay At Home Order beginning this morning at 8:00. People can go to work, seek medical care, shop for groceries and walk pets, but that's it. We feel so bad for people in apartments with this type order in place. We've heard so many tales of people going stir crazy.
Even though things are very abnormal right now and for the foreseeable future, it's helpful to be outside in the sunshine and do normal things. So yesterday I mowed and trimmed for the second time this year and today we're mixing up more Super Soil and working in the veggie beds. Trays of seedlings have sprouted and are just weeks from planting. At least we know these veggies are coronavirus-free.