Noticing Retail Shelvesgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread
As I did some final Y2K shopping at the local super market on 12/22, I found myself in the "seasonal" aisle. Where I might have expected to see wrapping paper, ornaments, or at least red and green M&M's, to my delight I found the shelves were dedicated to water. Yes, water. On the seasonal shelf. 3 days before Christmas. And 9 days until year end. I like that.
I returned to my local Stop and Shop yesterday, 3 days before New Year's Eve.
The "Seasonal" section now has not only water, but also cases of canned peas, beans and carrots; diapers; etc.
I've never seen cases of canned vegetables wrapped in plastic (to be bought as a case) at this retail supermarket before.
No sign. Just quietly providing what people might need. Just like I'm hearing of so many people quietly getting what they might need, just in case. Quietly. Not wanting to be associated with those "far out", perhaps, but also choosing "which side of wrong" they'd rather be on.
What are you noticing on the shelves of your local stores?
-- Jan Nickerson (JaNickrson@aol.com), December 29, 1999
Here are some of the responses to the first 12/22 posting, on civic prep (I'm posting these anonymously because I didn't secure permission to release their contact information. I am seeking that permission and the reader can contact me to ascertain if contact information is releasable)
I bought a generator battery this morning at Schwab Tires on Whidbey Island, WA. The guys said they usually sell about one a week, but I was the third sale so far this Monday morning. One said to me, "I told my boss last week we should order more of them, but he wouldn't listen."
*********** Here in the SF Bay Area where Albertson's recently bought out Lucky's their current weekly sales flyer has a center-fold section with headings like "larger sizes mean bigger savings," "stock up for the New Year," and "prepare for the new millennium and save."
The products listed include a 2.5 gallon container of corn oil; cases of bottled water, Ramen, Campbell's soup, tuna fish, chili, and tomato sauce; 20 pound bags of rice; batteries; playing cards; etc. They also have a note about getting ready for "the transition into the year 2000" and suggest picking up necessities "before you need them." And they have a suggested list of things to keep on hand which includes all the usual suspects (e.g., flashlights, trash bags, bandages, duct tape, vitamins).
All-in-all I was pretty impressed -- not that it will necessarily do much good.
A recent Sunday edition of one of the area's largest newspapers had as its leading headline, "Most Y2K systems are a 'go': After months of drills and run-ups, East Bay agencies say they are ready to roll into the new year."
The headline (set in bold type almost an inch high) was not exactly an inducement to prepare IMO.
On recent trips to Costco and Sam's Club I've been eyeing other people's baskets and haven't seen any evidence of stockpiling. At Sam's there was also no apparent shortage of 20# propane tanks (I got two) or 55 gallon water barrels.
All I can do at this point is hope that in retrospect all of my preparations will turn out to have been unnecessary after all.
Good luck to us all.
Our grocery store in a Denver suburb, has about half its normal stock of water, but everything else is normal. However, the surplus store is humming with people quietly stocking up, including me. At a local tool store, their $15 (normally $30) solar/wind-up radios disappeared overnight -- wish I'd bought a few more -- got complacent. Concentrating on my complementary first aid kit (see http://www.CompWellness.com/eJournal/1999/1213.htm) and my son's family, as well as growing some medicinal herbs.
Here in the suburban sprawl about 35 miles W of Phila I still feel like the only person that ever heard of y2k. Of the 3 major supermarkets close by, only one, the Acme had one shelf with a "home security kit" and ass't flashlights and cases of lamp oil and a few hurricane type lanterns. There was nothing posted as to why they had these items on display, though they've never had anything like this before. the items were not moving that well as far as I could tell. I took advantage of the clear lamp oil.
I've been stopping at the Home Depot every few weeks since Sept, looking for the blue kerosene cans but they never got there (as of late Nov). I went to a Leow's in northern DE last week and got the last 2 they had from a huge empty shelf area.
I'm not sure what any of this means, I've been preparing and stocking for over a year so I'm not in all the places that carry emergency supplies, and have been concentrating on the seasonal shopping 'joys'
*********** Interesting that Jan has found preparedness on the grocery shelves. We live about 20 miles from one another in Massachusetts and the seasonal aisles in the grocery stores I frequent have wrapping paper, stuffed animals, Year 2000 paper plates and hats for a party, sparkling cider, Millennial and Christmas M&Ms. Nothing that would suggest any concern about preparedness. The Y2K mugs, stuffed bugs, novels and napkins which once had a modest display have vanished. Sold out perhaps - or simply not worth the self space.
Wandered around the Farm and Fleet store this AM looking for narrow wicks for oil lamps and in the process noted that there were still lots of flashlights and batteries, cosy sleeping bags, propane lanterns, Coleman fuel for stoves, etc. Last April I had bet that by now these things would not only not be on the shelves, but unobtainable. I have mixed feelings about that. Does it mean that few people have done their preparation, or that many already had preparation items on hnad. I find comfort in knowing that it is still not too late to get these things if someone wants them. I wonder if they will be there December 31? Hmmmmmm.....?
Also in answer to Jan's shopping question - here in the heart of British Columbia, the supermarkets have quietly added big bags of rice, oatmeal, flour, beans and pasta to their normal offerings. They started early in the fall, encouraging people to stock up without ever mentioning Y2K.
At the moment the shelves are full to bursting. Shopping carts are always full this time of year so it's hard to tell who's stocking up for the holidays and who's stocking up as a contingency plan. However, one possible indication of a shift this year is that the local Salvation Army's usual flood of Christmas contributions has slowed - as many of us active in Y2K issues predicted it would. The community is still being generous in its giving, but pantries are quietly being filled as well.
In Bloomington IN, the 5 gallon water containers at the reverse osmosis stand in the largest Kroger's in town are GONE. They have a fair amount of one gallon jugs and some 3. The other shelves looked substantially shopped over, but water remains. I get the impression that a lot of people have a little water!
I've checked out a copy of Canadian Tires (large hardware chain) in Toronto. Nothing much left in the camping section. According the section clerk, lots of people were quietly preparing for Y2K. The store was planning to restock the camping section before Xmas. The clerk in the battery section said the same thing...lots of buyers...I spoke to him early Tuesday afternoon and he said he'd filled one bin (great deal on a six volt lamp) three times that day already...A close friend said she'd had the same experience in a Radio Shack outlet.
Water aisle EMPTY in Wal-mart (North Texas) and the Sam's in Plano has NO beans (today, December 22, 1999).
************* Thanks to everyone already responsing on civicprep. Please consider posting your observations - what are you seeing on the retail shelves this week before New Year's?
-- Jan Nickerson (JaNickrson@aol.com), December 29, 1999.
My more recent update is that I was in a Shaw's in Milford, MA on Monday afternoon (12/27). The store was modestly busy - but not bustling. No one seemed to be buying with any urgency but the entire section of shelf, about half an aisle, devoted to bottled water was empty except for about 6 gallons of water! Three of which were calmly loaded into someone's basket as I stood there. Don't know what this means - the manager was not available to comment. will try again later - maybe they just didn't get a delivery. Even that would be interesting as to why not? >>
-- Rev. Dacia Reid (RevDacia@uuy2k.org), December 29, 1999.
Just scouted the aisles at Star Market(supermarket) in Sudbury. No visible signs of supporting Y2K preparation EXCEPT three end caps (aisle ends) each one of which was exclusively dedicated entirely to water, batteries, and diapers - a strange combination unless one is thinking Y2K preparation.
-- Jan Nickerson (JaNickrson@aol.com), December 29, 1999.
I haven't noticed any empty shelves here in Gainesville, FL and my boss was just at our local Sam's Club this afternoon and said they still had plenty of batteries, water and related items.
I have noticed quite a few folks who I thought were prepping and there's plenty of stuff going out the door but so far it looks like the logistical system is keeping up with it. This is what I was hoping would happen. Lots of folks getting it together but not so fast the systm was overwhelmed. Naturally, most of the population will be clueless and caught without but short of going house to house with a deputy sheriff in tow there doesn't seem to be anyway to reach them.
Our local NPR station (WUFT-FM) is doing fifteen second spots during news broadcast drive time telling everyone to stock up for any potential Y2K problems and hurricanes at the same time, even though Y2K is not expected to cause any problems in Florida. This started the day after Christmas. Should have started a year ago.
The Prudent Food Storage FAQ, v3.5
-- A.T. Hagan (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 29, 1999.
I was in walmart in Norwalk, Ohio about 10am today. The shelves were empty of: 2-pack propane bottles, 5 & 7 gallon water containers, 9mm ammo, Nyquil, portable cooking stoves, and curiously enough, I couldn't find Marlboro regular box at three stores.
I also noticed that a couple gas stations had their doors locked and the night windows operating this afternoon.
-- Eric (email@example.com), December 29, 1999.
Actually I couldn't find any full flavor king size cigarettes of any brand in the area. I had to settle for lights.
-- Eric (Ericroger@usa.net), December 29, 1999.
Waco, Texas H.E.B. grocery store has moved its water jugs to the former "garden center" area which has its own door to the parking lot (very front of store). That room is full of water. More water than I've EVER seen at their store.
This is a chain that definitely GI. They are doing a great job at being ready.
-- mommacarestx (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 29, 1999.
Went to DeNault Hardware in Orange County, CA. Low on batteries and 5 gal. blue cans of Kero were limited (only 3), no price tags, and hidden in the back room. 3 employees didn't even know they_had_kerosene. Smart & Final was completely sold out of 2.5 gal. bottles of water. A case of Evian was $17.99! But people were buying that because nothing else left. Batteries low there also, but plenty of Sterno.
Everyone was in line, just buying water!
-- CLBaillie (Ldynrd@home.com), December 29, 1999.
I went to Wal Mart in a NW Suburb of Chicago last night (Dec. 28).
Every oil lamp in the store was gone (they had plenty a week ago) all of the clear oil, and blue oil was gone about six bottles of plum/purple left (I grabbed two).
The flashlight aisle was crowded and about half of the flashlights were cleared out.
All of the Coleman Cookstoves were gone (except display models) they had pallet loads of these cookstoves until very recently (which IMO is not normal in the Midwest in the Winter) All battery operated lanterns were sold with only a couple propane models left on shelves. Propane stock was low.
They were out of seven gallon gas cans & there were only a few five gallon containers left, plenty of one gallon cans.
There were multiple pallets of water in the main aisle of the store all of which were almost empty. They had extra pallets of water (still wrapped) in the garden center.
The toilet paper aisle was decimated & laundry detergent was almost gone as well.
About half the candle shelves were empty & they had two cases of outdoor citranella candles on the shelf, which was really strange to see when there is snow on the ground outside.
I saw a young very Suburbanite couple trying to decide what kind of ammo to purchase (with a young child in the cart...(chuckle) they did not fit the 'profile'.
I saw many people with multiple gas cans, quantaties of water & other typical y2k prep items in their carts. I saw more people prepping last night than I have seen total in the last year.
I then went to the grocery store which was utterly normal and did not see one person that might be prepping. The only thing different there was the types of things on display/sale in their main (impulse purchase) aisle. Bottled water, spam, tuna, and the like. All of the shelves were fully stocked except the canned soup aisle which had taken a healthy hit. I hope that grocery store looks exactly the same in the following months.
Peace to you,
-- Deborah (email@example.com), December 29, 1999.
Walmart - Northern, CA--went yesterday and they were completely sold out of water, propane cylinders, Wally SPAM, 4/pack emergency candles. Stopped by there today to get garbage cans for rain water (they just got a shipment in today, the've been out). Propane cylinders were being stocked, but people were grabbing them out of the boxes before they got on the shelf. Two people had propane stoves and lanterns in their cart. No lamp oil, no oil lamps, and no wicks. Strolled over to the water, they had restocked about 20 gallons only. Albertson's here had bins called "Y2K Energy Paks." They are tubs that contain 1 propane cylinder, flashlight and batteries, 1 gallon of bottled water, and other items (couldn't see everthing inside the bin), for $39.99 ea. Clerk said they hope to sell them because they have a lot of them in the back. I see price gouging already going on. Longs drugs has the smallest bottle of Ultra-Pure candle oil for $4.97. Two weeks ago, the oil was $2.97 ea, and WalMarts price was $1.97 for the exact same thing. CDF had 10 grocery carts filled with canned food, etc., they purchased all the food at Raley's and two checkers to check them out--this was last week. I'm breathing a sigh of relief that I am prepared.
-- bardou (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 29, 1999.
Shopping at my local Publix today, (12-29-99), Most aisles seemed normal, but one long 4-shelf aisle usually dedicated to water was empty except for a couple of six-packs. Beer aisle was full tho'. :-)) Since I've been loading up for the past few months, I didn't pay special attention to specific items. Shopping and shoppers appeared as ususal. John L. Suburban Atlanta, GA.
-- John Luering (email@example.com), December 29, 1999.
I went to the Wal-Mart by my parish today and the propane aisle was pretty well picked clean. No propane cylinders, only a couple of single burner stoves left, plus a few Coleman two burners. They had plenty of water purification tablets, but no space blankets. Each of the cash registers had a display of bottled water and a sign, "Stock up for Y2k!"
I ended up spending about 15 minutes in the propane aisle talking to people who were talking about the no propane cylinder situation. One guy had internet access so I gave him my url. Two ladies decided to get several lamps that used D batteries. One lady decided to go ahead and get a single burner propane stove, a clerk said he thought they were getting more in tomorrow. I got more contact lens cleaner and solution, plus some 3-in-1 oil and WD-40. And I finally got a shortwave antenna at Radio Shack earlier today, so tomorrow we have a little "Bill Nye the Science guy" project stringing copper wire between a tree and the house. . . 75 feet of copper wire plus 55 feet of insulated wire.
I always buy gas at the same place (a local convenience store) and I know the owners very well (a family from Pakistan). I asked them tonight after filling up how much gas they had left, they said, "Not much, but the tanker should be here tonight." I asked, what happens if the truck doesn't come? They said, "out of gas tomorrow."
Robert Waldrop ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Archbishop Oscar Romero Catholic Worker House, Oklahoma City Justice and peace meditations on the daily lectionary readings Feast of St. Thomas Becket, Martyr, Day 5 of the Jubilee Holy Year 2000 + "Proclaim liberty throughout all the land, to all the inhabitants thereof." (Deuteronomic proclamation of the Jubilee Year.)
Y2k in the city
Printable flyers for distribution during y2k disruptions
-- Robert Waldrop (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 29, 1999.
My wife has a job temping at poland springs in fram. Mass. They were so busy the week before christmas, they used up all the water containers they had. lots of orders to fill this week but they have shut down production because they have no containers to fill. The wife has been sent home early all week, no paperwork for her to do.
-- Greenthumb G.I. (email@example.com), December 30, 1999.
Out getting a few last minute items this evening and noticed:
J L Waters (Outdoor Supplies) Out of propane, out of lantern mantles
Walmart Out of propane, out of white gas, low on camp stoves & lanterns. Low on their big display of Beef Stew & Spam. Low on water. Out of Clorox bleach.
But Walmart has battery-operated CO detectors for about $20. Much cheaper than anywhere else I've seen them.
When I was out Christmas shopping (another last minute expedition), noticed big displays almost everywhere I went of bleach, water, candles, etc. No big "Stock Up For Y2K" signs, but there they were. Unless there's something about late December that I don't know about that people need a lot of bleach, candles, water and Spam for, these are Y2K displays.
The local paper today reported a run on rubber bathtub stoppers.
The most interesting episode was while I was picking up some duct tape at Walmart and heard over the PA, "A member of management to the front to ok a gun purchase."
-- Michael Redman (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 30, 1999.
In the Walmart Supercenter, they have just about sold out of most ammunition and Kmart is out of everything but shotgun shells. All the grocery stores are selling water in gallon bottles by the case and the local distributor is selling out of his 3 month stock. I am a purchasing agent were I work. We are an Industrial distributor for high tech electrical products. Recently, we have had several call for generators and double-throw safety switches. These people want this stuff for their homes not their plant. Their out of luck though, we dont sell generators and our vendor has over 100 double-throw switches on backorder. None available till 1-28-00 (i mean 1-28-2000).
-- Scott Robertson (email@example.com), December 30, 1999.
Here in south central Pennsylvania, the only thing I have noticed so far is that the gas stations are busier than usual. I haven't seen or heard much about anyone preparing for y2k. I started a list last Januray & have added a few things here & there and I feel we are ready. Our area is somewhat rural & people have a tendency to be prepared over the winter because of snow & when we have a warning for a big storm the only things that disappear is milk & bread. Most people do not seem to be concerned at all. Here's hoping for the best!
-- Esther M. Rhinier (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 30, 1999.
Here in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, USA, the local detox has set up a port-a-pottie outside just in case...
-- anonymous (email@example.com), December 30, 1999.
Bainbridge Island, WA (mostly-affluent bedroom community across the Sound from Seattle)- grocery stores and hardwares stores very busy. Wanted to buy a simple siphon pump for kerosene at Ace Hardware,they had two left. Supplies of kerosene were thin, and there was a big display of Webber BBQs and charcoal. Believe me, nobody barbecues in winter in this climate unless it's an emergency (some years, not even in summer).
Lines of SUVs waiting to fill up at the Chevron station, while at the Shell station across the bridge on the Suquamish reservation (maybe 5 miles away?)there's no waiting and gas is 8 cents a gallon cheaper. Go figure.
In Poulsbo, just a little farther north, grocery stores very busy, lots of 2.5 gallon containers of bottled water, and empty 5 gallon containers, being sold. Pallets of canned veggies, four cans for a buck with lots of takers.
Stacks of fresh crisp currency at the bank and a knowing look from the teller. "Would you like a variety pack?"
Must be rollover time...
-- Linda (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 30, 1999.
Local news story at a Home Depot in Northlake IL running out of propane.
-- joseph schlau (email@example.com), December 30, 1999.
December 30, 1999
At Sams today in Oklahoma City, everybody had bottled water, whatever else they were buying (except me of course, as I've been bottling water in 2 liter bottles for some time now). Typically, each basket had one (1) case, which looked to me like 32 small bottles, maybe a pint in each bottle, so four gallons of water. I hope it is enough.
At Bank of America, no problem cashing my check, except the teller ran out of 100s and gave me mostly 20s (which was fine with me). The lady in line ahead of me was wanting a much larger amount of cash, didn't quite catch how much, but they made her go over and sit and wait while they verified the signature (they said "this will take 10 to 15 minutes") and also the teller said she had to check to make sure they had enough cash to handle the withdrawal.
At American Propane on Exchange Ave, they said they were closed tomorrow, but that the last two weeks had been an absolute "madhouse of business." They also said they would be open no matter what on Monday, they could fill propane bottles without electricity. Lots of talk about Y2k everywhere. Bank of America teller said that without electricity, the bank would be closed on Monday (this is the general answer i've gotten for some time from bank tellers).
My favorite gas station got its gas delivery last night, no lines today, had no problem filling my gas cans.
Went out tonight and ate T-bone steak with baked potato at Jeff's Country Kitchen (NW 23rd and Classen) in my neighborhood, with salad (ranch dressing) and deep fried peppers stuffed with cheddar cheese, and Texas toast, best T-bone for $6.55 around this town. And you get to sit for no extra charge in a real vintage vinyl covered booth and a formica table (it used to be a Beverly Chicken in the Rough location). Great iced tea in giant plastic glasses.
Robert Waldrop ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Archbishop Oscar Romero Catholic Worker House, Oklahoma City http://www.justpeace.org/pilgrimage2000.htm Justice and peace meditations on the daily lectionary readings Day 6 of the Jubilee Holy Year 2000 "Proclaim liberty throughout all the land, to all the inhabitants thereof." (Deuteronomic proclamation of the Jubilee Year.)
-- Robert Waldrop (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 30, 1999.
More from Glenwood Springs, Colorado, USA: one of the local supermarkets SWAMPED around 5:30pm. Stockers remarked that they've never seen the store so busy. A friend asks me why it's so busy and I wonder where he's been all year... Canned soup aisle JAMMED and ranks of soup flavors thinning. Bottled water was resupplied today so shelves were full. Water dispensing machine down to a trickle after folks with upwards of 6 gallons finished filling. Gas station attendant down the street claims "Whoa!" to my question of how business has been this evening. She says that they had a delivery of gas yesterday. Methinks a bit of a run on gas and food/water has hit my little town. On the darker side, a friend's car was stolen out of her parking spot at work in broad daylight today. Take it real easy out there!
-- anonymous (email@example.com), December 30, 1999.
Observations: Supermarket shopping on dec. 31 (Various Locations)
Grocery store sales are up
Bottled Water etc. (Milwaukee , WI)
Shortage of 5 gallon gas containers (Binghamton NY)
Wal*Mart's debit system???
Shopping the Grocery Store (Pearland, Tx)
-- Diane J. Squire (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 31, 1999.
Observation: Silicon Valley, CA One Safeway... Bottled Water Sold Out
-- Diane J. Squire (email@example.com), December 31, 1999.
See also Social Services: Food stamp benefits credited (Oklahoma City) for a report on grocery stores in poor neighborhoods in OKC that I attribute to the effect of crediting food stamps for January today.
-- Robert Waldrop (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 31, 1999.