Are Your Store Shelves Thinning?

empty-shelves
(Whoops…)

Here’s a question for you, as well as something to consider going forward…

Are you noticing any of your grocery or retail shelves thinning out a little bit?

And can you imagine what might happen if and when the public at large notices such a thing?

Here’s what I’ve noticed, and here’s what I believe might happen if others start ‘panic buying’…


 

The BDI (Baltic Dry Index) Factor

This index is a broad measure of raw materials movement around the globe. It is based on the average price to ship these materials (such as coal, iron ore, cement and grains, etc..) on a number of shipping routes. The index is considered as a leading indicator (forward looking) of economic activity since it involves events taking place at the earlier stages of global commodity chains. When goods are not moving as much, it indicates an overall slow down in consumption and production.

And guess what? The BDI is very disturbingly low… in fact at all-time lows. As in, ever. The last time I checked as of this article’s post date, it was 310. Stunning… You’re not hearing much about that in the mainstream are you…

While the current record low BDI is not necessarily an indicator that shelves may ‘thin’, it does indicate the apparent and significant slowing of the ‘gears and cogs’ within the system. As people buy less, the retailers order less. As the retailers are ‘pinched’, they will take steps to compensate (see the next paragraph which does present scenario for thinning shelves).

 

Trimming Out Fringe Products For Profit Margin

I have indeed noticed this on a general and fairly wide scale… Retailers (in general) don’t seem to carry the shelf inventory they used to, especially when it comes to what might be considered ‘fringe’ type products. They have apparently (definitely?) focused on mostly and only the mainstream products that are consumed the most while discarding much of the rest.

It makes sense that to tweak profit margins even further, a business may entirely eliminate product lines which do not produce certain results. While the consumer may become irritated that they may no longer have the broadest selection, the business isn’t too concerned about that any more…

Additionally, it seems to me that even the ‘not so fringe’ products may become ‘axed’ upon further analysis by ‘bean counters’. Choices are diminishing as people buy less. And this will get even worse as we descend further into this depression.

 

The JIT (Just In Time) Systemic Risk Factor

Not only are there diminishing choices, but most all businesses today are operating on a just-in-time supply chain. Inventory comes in and is immediately put on the shelves until the next delivery. The ordering process is fine tuned such that the public’s normal consumption is coordinated with inventory orders – which comes in ‘just in time’ before the shelves get too empty. And so on…

The JIT process goes way beyond the store owner ordering additional inventory. There are MANY steps along the way – retailer – shipping – distributor – shipping – manufacturer – shipping – raw materials – shipping…

And there’s LOTS more in-between the basic steps listed above. Here’s the kicker… each of those steps (and the one’s not listed) are also (mostly) operating on JIT! Can you see any of the systemic risk yet?

Not only are retail inventory choices diminishing, but there is a long line of (JIT) risks going all the way back to the raw materials.

But let me ask you this… What do you think would happen if something major disrupts any or all of the JIT system, or if public at large begins to notice a lack of inventory to the extent that they actually ‘notice’?

 

Panic Buying Will Crash the JIT System

Think about it… If the entire supply chain (from retailer to manufacturer to raw materials supplier) is operating under JIT, then just imagine the damage to the system if the public at large begins a ‘run on the system’ so to speak.

The system is designed to function efficiently under ‘normal’ consumption demands. But when that demand is not properly forecast and ordered ‘back up the line’ in time for all of the integrated ‘lead times’, then suddenly you have shortages. And these shortages will become major implications to product delivery dates.

While on one hand you might consider that this can’t happen (major shortages) because if people are buying less (due to the ‘real’ economy) then the demands are less. However this is incorrect thinking…

Two things:

1. If there is an event or series of events that drive consumers to suddenly purchase more of something, then there will be immediate shortages.

2. If the consumers begin to notice shortages of something that they typically or regularly buy, then they will very likely buy MORE of it – because they’ve noticed that there’s not so much of it… This in turn will cause even greater demand (which has not been forecast into the JIT system), which further magnifies the problem. And so on…

When there finally is new inventory on the shelves, it will be scoffed up immediately for fear of more shortages. It keeps on happening this way for a LONG TIME (if it’s bad enough of a scare). Remember the .22 ammo shortages and how LONG that lasted (and still partially is)?

Now factor in the complicated weave of international sourcing. Remember, we don’t ‘make anything’ anymore…

 
In conclusion, I hope this presents some of the systemic risk that we are facing, especially now while all aspects of the system are strained and leveraged to the max – all the while we descend further into slow-down… Will we see shortages?

Look out below…

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103 Comments

  1. Heartless, you are 110% on point I have stopped beating the drum as most that I talk with are looking with their heads stuck in something and THEY REFUSE to see, time has a few grains of sand left in the bottle and still we refuse to admit the facts are there.

    I have been sharing prepping ideas with a local Mormon Bishop who with my help was seeking local supplies distribution from the LDS state bishop’s warehouse (their food bank) as he realized that getting to their food bank location and back was not going to work in a real world event. The reply back was they did not believe there was any reason to stock his local church as they did not agree with his premise…….sound familiar….so he in effect was told “you are on your own”. Ken you do a fantastic job, please keep it up.

    1. Icecathook, I too agree with Heartless’ assessment that time is indeed running out. I also notice that there are way less choices on the shelf. I do see the stores carrying plenty of junk food and frozen processed throw it in the microwave crap. People either don’t know how to cook from scratch or are too lazy to cook a meal from scratch.

      I can tell you why they didn’t go along with that Bishop’s premise. The Bishop’s store house is for one time/very short term help for a struggling family/member. Not for long term help and not for emergency. EVERY MEMBER is/has been counseled to get out of debt and store a years supply of food in times of plenty. That way they will not be a burden on the church or community when there is an emergency. That way the church will be able to assist others in time of emergency.(Mormons sent huge amounts of supplies to Haiti after their earthquake for example.)

      Sadly,many LDS are not heeding to the counsel of their Church leaders about food storage. Normalcy bias affects them too. In our parents/grand parents time it was just GOOD COMMON SENSE to build up stores for the winter/storm seasons to make it thru.

      Mormons have a saying:”Eat it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”
      I believe that is good counsel for us all.

      1. BJH
        On cooking, you are correct they have no idea what a cook book is, let alone you need to open it and follow instructions.

        I was shopping in a Major grocery store for a specific item on sale. First day through I was able to find most of the flavors of Gatorade for my husband. Day 2, they filled in the shelves with a few bottles that I had previously purchased the day before. Cleaned off what I could reach as it set on the top shelf. Normally this store has what is on sale stacked in the aisles as a come buy more of the product, no longer the case.

        On day 1, there was a 20 something in front of me purchasing groceries. If you wish to call rabbit food(organic)–groceries. Her bill was over $94.00, and it did not fill two grocery bags. My thought was if it all goes to hell and shy nola , may we live out far enough.

        1. I can say that the largest store, IGA, in our little town(other than Walmart and I don’t shop there to see if) doesn’t carry the large containers of Field Lard. I have used this for 40+ years. Had to wait a few days for the delivery after being told it would have large tubs. NOPE–only small 16 ounce.
          What does that say??
          No one is cooking!!!

          1. Behind closed doors, it could mean a larger portion is being exported instead of staying here.

        2. People buying ‘organic’ are probably not getting what they think. I once read that 50% of ‘organic’ produce sold in USA comes from five farms in CA. Old McDonald is a busy man.

  2. I haven’t noticed much thinning of shelves at my local grocery store (Acme), YET. Other than the “fringe” products. But two things I definitely noticed were 1)I ordered 4 #10 cans of powdered milk from Emergency Essentials (long term food storage company) and it took 2 months to get here!!!!! I must have called them half a dozen times before it finally got here! Also, dog food. We have 3 dogs and they NEVER have enough canned food. So, I just stopped buying the canned food and strictly buy 40lb. bags and I have to buy two different kinds because they never have enough of that either!

    BTW, on a side note: Walmart is creepy and nosy. A couple years back I bought a bunch of items from the camping section for preparedness and the cashier asked me if I was going camping. So, I just said, “Yeah”. She then proceeded to ask WHERE we were going camping! (I don’t know if it was just me being paranoid but I didn’t like that). I told her my husband was making the plans so I didn’t know the name of the campsite. What the heck? I also bought bear spray at a local supply store and they asked if I was having “problems” with bears! I said, “Not yet, but if I do, the bear will be the one with the problem!” :) Sheesh, just let me pay for my item and stop giving me the third degree! I’m going to start making my OWN pepper spray! Cheaper anyway!!

    1. LLL, it’s hard sometimes to distinguish between cashier “small talk” and invasive questioning. I believe because we prep we may be more in tune when it comes to those type of questions. You came up with plausible answers that most will accept.

      I bought jam on sale and had another customer question my purchase. It wasn’t “small talk” but accusatory in nature. I told him I owned a bed and breakfast and it was cheaper than what I could buy commercially.

      I make it a habit not to go to the same cashier if I can avoid it. It’s crazy that we have practice OPSEC just to buy food/supplies nowadays.

      1. Yes, it is at times hard to distinguish between small talk and nosy/investigative questioning.

        However, I believe if it feels nosy and investigative, it may be. Follow your instincts. That being said, in these cases, it is especially important to reply in some manner that is not “reluctant and mind your own business sort”…You don’t want them making note of you.

        1. Canada too, so true on trusting the instincts! I was quick and smooth about it. But I felt a little bad lying in front of my daughter. Glad she’s smart enough to not have said, “No we’re not going camping” LOL! Love my kid! I explained it to her later. :) Ugh!

        2. I, too, have been asked questions by cashiers when I buy large quantities of things. I find that a slight eye roll and “Groan….we have all the grandkids coming this week-end” is universally accepted with a knowing chuckle and I become invisible again.

          1. I love that answer!!

            When I bought everything of one item at the $Store (low stock, wasn’t that much to begin with) The clerk asked if I’d left any for others.

            I smiled and said “nope”

      2. I had a cashier ask me a bunch of questions about some stuff I was purchasing, I didn’t answer, she then made a snide comment so i walked out and left everything at the line,,,,

    2. I agree, items ordered on line are taking longer and longer. The exception so far has been items made in the USA. I wonder though how long before the manufacturers in the USA start lagging as well. I suppose if they get their raw materials from overseas it will catch up to them as well.

      1. I was told by a customer at my store the other day that his wife has a friend that works for some government agency (he said CIA) and they told them that China wasn’t shipping anything to us and the sea was empty.

        This is not coming from me and I am not stating anything about it being true just passing it on. I will say that I have always thought that if China really wanted to crush the USA all the would have to do is not ship us anything and we would have massive layoffs, 50-60% unemployment and rioting in the streets within a couple of months.

    3. If it were bulk food that I was purchasing in a non-bulk store (BB stores) I would tell them that I plan on donating it… Which you never know, you just *might* be donating it… as far as camping gear – tell them you have a large family picnic/reunion and everyone decided to go camping – and you figure you’d do the shopping for everyone. haha

    4. I believe that most of the time cashiers are merely making “small talk.” What bugs me is around Thanksgiving or Christmas when I get the question, “So, are you going out of town for the holidays?” While I realize that they’re just making conversation, why in the world would I tell a complete stranger (who often knows my name because of the way I pay) that I will be out of town a certain weekend??? This happens not just at the grocery store, but everywhere I go!

      1. Wendy
        re the
        “So, are you going out of town for the holidays?”

        I would not so easily assume this is small talk..

        Even locally, and especially at holidays (like xmas etc)..
        we get warnings on the radio etc to not answer this question/to lie. Apparently the police have found quite a lot of this info is used to plan break ins…

  3. Have much noticed all of above in Canada too.

    Thanks for post/info Ken, did not know about BDI. good to know.

    Thought our shelf thinning was due to poor Canadian Dollar. It is even more alarming to see (from reports on here), that it is a more widespread “thing”

    Do you/anyone suppose this is

    a North American “thing”

    or is this more of a

    World Wide “thing”?

    1. I’m not certain, but I would guess it’s worldwide. The BDI is a worldwide index and all markets are significantly down from their start of year highs. This indicates that people across the globe are in a panic.

    2. I saw a post by someone whose family had been to China? on business, and their all available areas around the houses and yards had been converted to garden plots. Over the year between two trips…

    3. My research and talks with some wally world supervisors explain a “little” of what is happening(for them) one they are losing money, have been for the last 10 quarters, two their credit is not what is once was about 3 to 4 years ago, so they are more and more being forced to pay cash for product. The discussion with staff and some management in 3 wallyworlds here reveal they are not getting the steady flow of trucking bringing product to them…so they are stocking the front of each items area with enough to give the illusion of a well supplied store. This allows thjem to have enough product for each day and the following days until resupplied. Also they are cutting back of the number of suppliers for each product type OR bringing in product from Sam’.s club. I have watched as items like taco bell canned items and sauces are no longer offered and there are others. So now when I buy, if they have x number on the shelf I buy them all as many times I have gone there and none was on the shelf. I waited 6 weeks for them to restock as an example stove top stuffing mix….have never seen that happen over the last 30 years at those stores…..People we need to be very aware of the current situation it is NOT going to improve and very likely will continue to auger downward Ken has one of the few forums to stay aware and be informed God Bless his work

      1. Quote, “So now when I buy, if they have x number on the shelf I buy them all as many times I have gone there and none was on the shelf.”

        This is the perfect example of what may happen one day on a much larger scale if noticed by lots of others – and it will ‘break’ the JIT system in a big way. The thing is, when it breaks bad enough, it may take a very, very long time to catch back up, if ever…

        You are exactly correct that people need to be very aware (in general) of the current global, national, and regional economic situation. Stay ahead of the curve as best you can and be pre-emptive in your actions.

        1. Thanks Ken my yardstick (forced one that is) is I live 80 miles one way to the nearest Wally world (or any services)so when I go and can not buy whats on my list, it is a wasted 160 mile journey. So this rule of thumb has been to have about 50 items that I look at each time I go to Wallyworld or others for price and being available it is my true guage of whats going on, as is other like the Baltic dry index. So again thank you so much for this site and those that contribute their comments

  4. Two days ago I was shopping is a large grocery change store and asked the Mgr about any changes he noticed. He stated that all imports had stopped the previous week that effected the produce section and the current week he noticed that additional items that were ordered were back-ordered.

    This Mgr asked me if I was a prepper too? He also confirmed knowing that his store would have turbulent days soon and that they have plans to deal with it. Then in the sale paper for the same store has a current sale for a huge variety of frozen foods for 50% off. Could this be a sign that someone knows an EMP is about to happen? Is anyone else seeing a sale like this on frozen processed foods?

    It might be a good idea to make a Faraday cage around your generator if you have one!!

    Off subject but worth asking! I have been told that when an EMP happens it will effect only items that carry an electrical current thru them and if your vehicle’s battery cables are disconnected the circuit/electronics won’t be effected.

    Can anyone confirm this or provide any thoughts on it.

    1. Watched, I posted a link to a pretty good easy to understand paper…
      Whenever it clears moderation you should see it…

    2. Did anyone see the news headline (I believe this morning) about D.C. wanting to bring attention to earthquake danger, especially on the west coast? Why all of a sudden are they warning people about the dangers of an earthquake?

      1. Because there’s nothing else going on to panic the population and make them demand more security? O_o

      2. I have lived on east and west coasts… There is an “earthquake preparedness and awareness month”. Out west – I just don’t know what month without using a search engine. Its irrelevant to me these days. Or – so I believe. :)

      3. We took notice to this earthquake conference and while we just had a 7.1 last Sunday at 1:30 AM and no one from Alaska was invited.

      4. This past Summer 2015, all the emergency services here in North Idaho held meetings on evacuees from the West coast of Washington, Oregon and N.W. California. Earthquake and Tsunamis was the issue.

  5. Well some people might be waking up. A family member who works in the grocery sector said that the last two days of the month was crazy busy in their store. Their was no storm forecast. Management couldn’t understand why it was so busy. Usually the end of the month it is deader than a doornail.

    As far as shortages, I have noticed shortages on the basics such as flour. Every time I go, I notice there is 1 to 3 bags left on the shelf. Sugar also seems to be hit hard. So far no real shortages in the produce aisle yet, but things don’t look as full anymore either. Plenty of junk food though.

  6. ok, first, do you “look” like a prepper (what does one look like? tell me so I can make sure I do not)..? why would he ask this?

    second..

    “He stated that all imports had stopped the previous week that effected the produce section and the current week he noticed that additional items that were ordered were backordered.”

    this all sounds concerning…did he have an explanation?

    re the frozen goods..

    have not noticed any big sales on frozen here in Canada

    1. This store Mgr. made reference to the BDI and he is also a Veteran!! The fact that he shared that they have plans for when SHTF shows that they are aware of whats about to happen!!!!

      1. Being Watched

        The vegetable section was full at the major store I was in on Monday & Tuesday. Wow, the prices were e-x-p-ensive!! It is not that we could not afford them, I am conservative on how much I will spend on certain food items(ok I am just plain ole cheap).

        The meat section was another ouch, found pork chops for $1.97lb with the bone in, that was not bad for our area. Chicken breast & thighs $2.99 a pound, and they looked green inside the package. Promptly left that section & checked out.

    2. I think that perhaps this store Mgr had been asked about shortages already. I don’t know what a prepper looks like either!! LOL!!

      Another issue regarding food at the same store; items that were on sale but were not in stock during the sale period that I received a rain check on have been dropped as a product being stocked. This was the reason I started talking to this Mgr in the first place and he actually allowed a substitute product to satisfy the rain check. I suspect the only fresh friuts and veg that will be sold anytime soon will come from south TX, south FL and Mex!!

      Hope everyone to stocked up on canning supplies!

      I’ll be looking out for friut tree samplings for sale this spring also.

      Since BDI has collapsed, I’ll be checking for signs of domestic shipping to be reduced next!!

      Be watchful of food processing plants here in the states that are owned by forgein entities. If they start exporting more than they sell here. If this is allowed to develope, it’ll be bad for our consumers. An example of this possibility is the Smithfield Meats are owned by the Chinese.

      1. If you want signs of the fall off of domestic shipping look no farther than your local railroad. I have worked 42 years for the same RR and I have only seen freight fall off this much this fast and that was at the end of the Carter adm. Weekly car loads are off 10% or more on most roads. At my terminal we have 20% of our train crews laid off.

        1. Once upon a time, if someone had a job with a railroad, it was guaranteed for life and most of the time you had to be a relative of one of their employees to even be considered for employment!!

        2. I have noticed the trains are not as long, and not as many empty cars going west as a few months ago… don’t know if it is seasonal shipping. Vehicles are going west from here, empty coal cars going west…empty trailers for conex boxes, and empty (or very light) conem(sp) boxes…maybe 1/3 the chemical tanks that we used to see.. On major east west line…but I don’t see trains daily, only if going somewhere..and my timing is just right.

      2. grin..just thought I would ask “what a prepper looks like”…grin.

        still, it is interesting that he did ask you.

        glad he allowed a substitute product. I have had rain checks on occasion, that the original product never seemed to be restocked. these days, yes I will take / ask for a rain check, but I still wonder if it is a bit of a scam.

        1. Reminds me of Wednesday in The Addams Family. “I’m a homicidal maniac. They look just like everyone else.”

        2. It is quite easy to spot a prepper, Canada Gal. Look for the person who is continuously glancing from side to side, with an ocassional look over their shoulder. They often travel as a family group, with older children having their own shopping carts. You may be able to hear them whispering into their shirt sleeves, where they have hidden their walkie talkies.

          1. Sent that off before I was finished with my sarcasm, sorry! The best way to spot them is to follow them out to the parking lot, where you will notice them loading cart after cart of purchased goods into a large vehicle, think big truck or RV, that is guarded by fully armed young men and vicious dogs. That’s a dead give away.

          2. I directed my reply to the wrong person … should have been Canada Too! mea culpa!

          3. Well if thats your version of a prepper then I’ll not be accused anytime soon of being a prepper in public!! LOL!!!

            I sell industrial equipment. When I make sales calls or take a maintenance Eng to lunch I’m wearing jeans, work shirt and steel toed boots. When I meet with a Purchasing Agent I’m dressed in starched pants and shirt! Gotta dress the part!!!

            It’s a matter of national security to keep the Chemical Plants and Oil Refeneries running. I don’t want whats about to happen!!! However, I’ve prepared to leave it all behind when it starts!! So that I can choose when and where to fight my battles.

            I consider myself a Patriot and will refuse to give up my Constitutional Rights!!!
            I hope most of you feel the same.

          4. BW, we all feel the same…that’s why we are on Ken’s blog and not on another…

            My excuse…well, I am in the military…it shuts them up when they get to nosy.
            There was one time a cashier in Target who asked me why I have so much on cleaning supplies and other things…I answered with a question if he was trying to gather information to provide it to an enemy force and if that is the case then I consider him a threat to national security…shut him up right there because he did not know how to answer. He never asked anyone else that question observing him on all my future trips to the store.

            Shelves are not as full in the stores…Walmart still does not carry the Wilkinson brand shavers since before Christmas… flour was on the empty side…
            I hate shopping in Walmart because people take refrigerated products, decide not to buy and then don’t put them back from where they took them. They just leave them on a another shelf and it starts spoiling.

            Regardless, and I know I will get a butt chewing, but Walmart employees here where we live, are lazy…they don’t work and do their job in keeping the shelves in order or the fresh produce and cold stuff. Its just sits there… the only ones are the stockers which keep order.

          5. Walmart is a rant for another blog–my own, if I ever decide to do it. Lets just say that their employees and suppliers are treated like dirt. If I was treated like some of the people I’ve talked to, I would be lazy as well. I’d probably walk at the first opportunity.

  7. This worries me. I have been keeping an eye out for this kind of thing at my local store (Fred Meyer) and haven’t noticed anything out of the ordinary besides that they were out of the one kind of licorice that my wife specifically asked me to pick up (go figure). I think I might need to step it up a notch though, just in case.

    As an aside to @lifelonglearner’s fears: I was in sales for close to ten years of misery. As a sales person you are supposed to make each customer feel like a special snowflake to improve their shopping experience. Since most people love talking about themselves, the easiest way to do this is to ask them questions about themselves.

    These inane questions usually revolve around what they are shopping for and follow up questions (such as where you are going camping) to keep the conversation going long enough to get them out of there without long awkward pauses. I’m not saying to drop your guard, I lie to the cashiers all the time, just that their questions and idle prattle are not always with a sinister motive. Most of the time they don’t really care either way.

  8. Most of us geezers remember Johnny Carson. For the younger readers he was a host on the Tonight Show awhile back. In the early 70s there was a shortage of paper pulp and a congressman expressed concern that it might result in a shortage of toilet paper.

    Johnny Carson repeated this on his show and the next day panic buying began. Shelves were emptied in a day and as shipments started coming in purchases were frequently rationed. It started on a rumor. I have to say that I haven’t really noticed any shortages around here but the local grocery store meat manager has told me that if he order 12 cases he often gets shorted on the delivery from the warehouse. I kind of expect that the next item to be in short supply is going to be mosquito repellent with the concerns over the Zika virus.

  9. I looked at the shelves of 2 stores in my tiny town yesterday being aware of shortages now across the country, and I didn’t find anything different than normal. I checked how deep the packages and cans were, even the imported canned fish section, the baking section, and even coffee, they were stocked full. Still having sales, even on 4 pk cans of Friskies cat food at $1.66 my dogs like better and still cheaper than canned dog food to add to their kibble.

    Most of the food at our stores is grown in the US and Mexico, and is not affected by the BDI (dry goods) in shipping from overseas. As I recall the US has an over abundance of food and grains and we export a lot of it, so if food is not exported, it would be stored or else prices would go down flooding the market, and of course the gov’t would pay farmers for not producing in one way or another to keep food prices up.

    Our imports of dry food like grains would depend on droughts and flooding that destroys many of our US crops, and if that happens there would be a food shortage if no one was shipping. It was a few years ago the Midwest plains suffered drought that destroyed grazing land but Minnesota shipped many truck loads of expensive hay to those regions, and that’s when the cost of beef skyrocketed. So in my opinion, if there is a shortage of food, the price of food would increase, and like seasonal food that floods the markets from spring into fall, the prices goes down on them. You should see these prices reflected in the grocery stores, not what they have on stock or don’t have on stock.

    I believe grocery stores may not be stocking much food on shelves because of the economy, higher wage demands, the devastating Obamacare employer mandate that started in January 2016, and they hire fewer employees to keep the stores in business. I believe this is what is happening since it only makes sense.

    I do not believe that cement, coal, copper, iron and steel shipment slowing down going to China has much or anything to do with our food shelves not having a wide selection or being empty. BDI new lows are a sign that there is an overabundance of these dry goods due to the demand attributed to economic factors, and why our iron ore mines up here are shutting down–oversupply and cheaper for China to buy iron elsewhere. In any case, the world economy is slowing down, and it is wise to stock up for another crash that will come.

    1. The BDI is a reflection of ALL GLOBAL SHIPPING, not just raw materials going to China. It includes clothing products and tennis shoes being manufactured in third world countries, food products and electronics manufactured in China, South Korea and Maylasia that are all being exported to other countries because their products were manufactured by cheaper labor. All of the above has stopped being shipped!!

      Unconfirmed rumors are that shipping companies and manufacturers are demanding payment in the Chinese Yuan. IF This is actually the case it won’t be reported by our Govt controlled media. However the US dollar Index has taken a big HIT TODAY!!!

      1. In a follow up to the comment I made above, I think we are on the verge of hearing the China is the only global currency that is backed by Gold!!! When this happens I think the US $ gets booted as the Reserve Currency.

        If Our Govt gets any indication from the IMF that this is about to happen, I expect Obumer to start a WAR!!!!

    2. Aside from the fact that the US is also “international,” the BDI includes several indices of shipping. I looked it up some time ago, and it also indicates how much profit is being made on shipping of raw goods. What I read indicated that when the BDI drops below the 600 – 700 range shippers are taking a loss. They aren’t able to meet their expenses. With the BDI currently at 310, raw materials are not paying for themselves, but the ships are so expensive to dry dock that they can’t afford to stop running. Iron, oil, wood, even the raw materials for pharmaceuticals are shipped on the oceans. Many of those ships end up in US ports.

      The BDI is considered a FUTURE economic indicator, anywhere from a year to two years down the line. What the BDI does NOW reflects what the economy will do in the future because the BDI has the raw shipping costs.

      Currently there is no “bread basket.” Most of our food is either imported as raw products (BDI again) or exported to be processed and imported again. Farmers in the midwest are struggling and have been for some time. As I understand it the subsidies are still in place, but the food not being grown is replaced by food grown in other areas, and as those areas (such as Egypt, one of our major wheat and rice suppliers up until a few years ago, but stopped exporting it, which caused panic selling on the futures exchange) stop exporting grain we feel the pinch, even if we don’t recognize it. Or don’t recognize it right now.

      The price of produce is actually a good example. Prices go down because of a high volume available. This is an immediate, and local, phenomenon. Stretch that out over a period of years (the length of the supply chain from field to table) and you begin to see why the BDI is an important indicator.

      So yes, prices are going up, but for economic reasons the manufacturers choose to decrease package size, decrease the amount of money spent on packaging, decrease product amounts, change recipes to cheaper recipes, etc. What you pay for a 10oz can of something today, you paid for an 11.5oz can yesterday, and the company did everything possible to make the can itself, the processing, and the contents cheaper to make because they know that if they officially raise prices people will scream. They also indulge in JIT shipping, and sometimes backordering because it’s cheaper to run product off the line and miss a deadline or two than to warehouse the product. Stores choose to stock less and eliminate excess or seldom purchased items because the cutthroat competition won’t allow them to visibly raise prices.

      The real costs of the economic downturn are hidden by these tactics. The low BDI doesn’t mean there’s a glut of raw products. Fewer raw products are being shipped, and at a cheaper cost. Fewer ships are running, and those that are running run at a loss because they can’t afford to stop. Not good.

      1. Another factor in non perishable commodities such as cotton, farmers have formed Co-OPs to store their cotton in warehouses and wait for the pricing to stabilize to a price that favors them.

        These are the farmers that are financially secure and don’t need to pay off a loan to make a profit and are diversified into other crops to keep sustained.

        1. I saw some 53 ft trailers being used for dry storage of cotton this week…the rectangle bales. one door was open. about 6 trailers.

          1. Where are you getting your information? Mine appears to be running the number from opening of the previous day.

  10. The other day our local store had cans of chili on sale for 1.00 a piece. So we bought 24 of them. The couple in front of me looked at all the cans and said well looks like someone is going to be making a lot of chili, I said sure and then I could not help myself. I said well, in case we have a natural disaster these will provide what is needed. Can’t beat a 1.00 a can.

    1. besides stocking up, good sense in that

      what I don’t understand is the mindset of most folks
      who would pay two or three dollars for a can of chili, instead of stocking up at one dollar a can

      I mean, if you eat chili on a regular basis, why would you not purchase in quantity when it is on for one dollar? Yet, lots of folks would not.

  11. Personally I have not seen much of the “Store Shelves Thinning”, but I only go actually shopping once a month or so. I do pick up some fresh fruits, vegs, and moo from time to time. But I’m not one to walk the aisles. I get in, get my stuff, get the heck out, and away from the “crazies”.

    With that said; I have seen a LOT or “smaller packaging” and higher pricing when I do go shopping. Stocking up on some items always draws an eye or two at times, but like stated in a previous article, just have a good BS line ready and they will ignore you. I mean come-on-man 4 Bricks of TP is not really that much is it?? HAHAHAH

    My friends, I know we all say this all the time, but get your “stores” in line, better to buy now (without going into debt) than to wait and pay a higher price or not have the availability of the goods you will need.

    And if you have a Garden and Can, better stock up on canning lids and “stuff” before they cost twice as much this Fall.

    FYI at time of this comment, the BDI is at 303 and falling. And ALL of the world Markets are down AGAIN!!! Not really new news.

    So; What could ever go wrong huh?
    NRP

    1. NRP
      You mentioned you do not care for the Tattler lids, you can purchase canning lids in bulk at Lehman’s.

      The regular lids are out of stock at this time, but the wide mouth are available. There are 288 in the roll for $69.99 plus the shipping. I have used these lids for canning and vacuum sealing, and I have not had any problems with them.

      1. That’s apx $3 per dozen, so I don’t see the savings.

        Tattler lids are tricky. They’re thicker (because you have two pieces) so the rings don’t go on as well and tend to come off during processing. You MUST scald them or they won’t seal. It’s harder to tell if you have a good seal. The additional years of use doesn’t make up for lost food in the canner. You have to tighten the lids down AFTER you take them out of the canner, resulting in a lower seal rate. True vacuum is almost impossible.

      2. @ Honeybear
        That’s actually a good price, around $0.24 for Lehman’s and $0.26 for Ball lids on Amazon. will need to check out the shipping prices from Lehman’s. Both are good prices for Wide-Mouth lids.

        I see the regular lids are about the same spread. Lehman’s = $0.20 and Amazon = $0.17

        Thank you
        NRP

  12. A couple of weeks ago at Walmart the produce section was low/out on several items that I wanted. There was a clerk there and she said that they were having trouble getting some things because of problems with the vendors. If I remember correctly it sounded like weather issues.

    Until last fall I worked at a local big box store. I was there for about 7 years and worked in almost all of the departments. Over that time I could see inventory shrink and it was common for a lot of sale items to be out of stock or run out the first day. Some everyday items would be “out” for weeks and they were warehouse outs meaning not getting from the manufacturer. I noticed the last couple of years that seasonal stuff (candy,Halloween costumes, x-mas stuff etc) was given less space. Some went from 3 -40 ft isles to 2 .

  13. I forgot to add that I live a few blocks from the RR tacks and there are far fewer trains coming through. Amtrak makes it’s normal times but there used to be trains in general every 20 minutes or so. Now it’s hours in between.

  14. this post has been very informative and educational..Both Ken’s original post, and the many comments.

    Have learned a few things.

    It is also good to know others have similar concerns etc.

  15. I haven’t noticed any thinning here in our small town. Our grocery store changed hands about a year ago and the new owner is working hard to keep customers happy. But the closest Walmart (60 miles from me) is a different story. Many of their shelves have huge bare spots and they are out of many things and have stopped carrying things they used to carry.

    Of concern is this Drudge story about negative interest rates.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-02-02/rates-less-than-zero-is-bank-stress-fed-wants-to-test-in-2016

    1. I guess they’ve added another wrench to their 1 ton toolbox. Since nothing else seems to be working…

  16. Last weekend the grocery stores were fully stocked. I went yesterday to pick up a couple of items I had forgotten and our prescription meds, and found the lettuce and bagged greens were almost all gone. Milk and butter, which were on sale, were also almost gone.

    Other than this I haven’t noticed the thinning of products like so many others have experienced. That may change in the near future.

    kk

  17. Last spring when I made a big order of staples in lg. bags the lady in front of me said “Wow you’ve got a lot of lard. Are you going to be baking lots of pies.” I said “Yea, we are having a big family gathering this summer & I am stocking up on staples ahead of time.” Well everyone front, back, clerk were so excited & wished us well for the gathering. I was out of town so I didn’t need to back it up. Yes get a good alibi so you aren’t caught of guard.

    Living near 2 small towns, I haven’t noticed a decline in the food I buy but I have noticed that the sizes of containers keep getting smaller & the prices are the same or up. For example I used to be able to buy 3-5 lb bags of rolled oats & now there is only 1.5 lb. bags so when I go to the city I have found a place to buy 22lb bags (& I always buy several)for about 1/2 the price of the smaller bags. Since we eat it for breakfast most mornings it doesn’t last long. The only time I buy processed cereals is if the grandkids are coming or if I am making something like rice crispy squares.

    More & more institutions are calling for a cashless society so, as they blatantly say, they can charge negative interest rates, I guess I might as well have my money in food as in the bankers pockets. Prep sanely! & have a good week.

    1. @ canadagal

      I agree with having an alibi when people comment on what/how much you buy. I switch between the kids and friends are coming up for the weekend or I’m shopping for my (imaginary) elderly neighbours as well as myself. And I split my order into 2 separate ones to prove it.

      Be grateful that you’re not in my position. Hubby has celiac disease and can’t eat regular rolled oats. His certified gluten free rolled oats cost $6.54 for a kilo (2.2 lbs). I have to go and stock up on his specialty flours and oats this weekend. I’m crying over the cost already but there’s no other option.

      kk

      1. I say the kids are have a food drive at school or we are buy extra food to donate to our church food pantry for the needy!!! They usually commend you at that point for your charity.

        They just don’t need to know your the “needy” and the “food pantry” is at your house.

        1. Jon

          good point.

          when I was young, it was a very common saying, something to the effect..

          It is important to be charitable.
          Charity begins at HOME.

  18. When I was young, I worked in a large department store. We had a stock room so when needed, we just went there and re-filled the shelves. That doesn’t happen much today. As for .22 LR ammo, my area still doesn’t have any.
    When some comes in, it’s gone in an hour. But, all other types of ammo are in stock……for now. When you are buying food, extra items if you can.

    BI

  19. Just thinking about the “inquisitive” check out people.

    It really could be a nosy person but I can tell you that where I used to work it was required to I guess make small talk. They had secret shoppers go through each dept. and a report was put out every month or so with who didn’t make the grade. You were required to be in the correct attire including name badge, say hello, make eye contact, smile and ask what you could help with, offer suggestions, then ask if there was anything more that you could help with and thank the person for shopping there.

  20. I worked in retail for 15 years in the NE and Texas… This time of year produce can be thin and due to off years and excess seasonal inventory to return to the warehouses… shelves can be thin or filled with large bulky items to fill space.

    It is always wise to round up/out your preps, but honestly, try to enjoy life and lose some of the paranoia. Try to enjoy the emp-free days.

    1. But…but paranoia is fun! It gives my inner child a chance to express itself!

      On the other hand, are you sure that it’s paranoia? That I’m not seeing exactly what I think I’m seeing? I know when the stores in this area get their shipments in, and to have empty or nearly empty shelves the day after they should have received a shipment is hard to explain away. With produce I can see your point–so many things are out of season right now, and warehouses might be running short. Seasonal, again. The Christmas stuff is gone. But sugar? Canned soup? Cake mixes? I can’t put the smaller package sizes for the same price down to warehouse shortages, or the single row of some products on shelves that used to be full.

      Paranoia is so much a part of my makeup that I wouldn’t recognize myself without it. It’s not negativity, and I do enjoy life. A lot. A few months ago I got a call while at work and the gentleman said “Whatever you’re high on, I want some.” My answer? “I’m high on life. I don’t need a chemical assist.” :)

      And yes, the EMP-free days are nice. :)

      1. Lauren,

        I’m sure you are high on life and a good portion of that is you’re a prepper. Your not really worried how you will feed your family or whatever if something bad happens.

        For us now, matters how bad things look in the world that day. We know we have a backup plan/ plans.

        It’s a GREAT feeling and yes being somewhat paranoid can be fun. It always keeps my noodle working and thinking about this or that. I think it helps keep me aware and alert.

        Take care.
        Adapt and Overcome.

        1. I remember the old saying from my youth. ” just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out there ” but I am also agree with Texas Lurker. Don’t spend so much time worrying about tomorrow that you forget to have fun today.

      2. Lauren

        Went to two of our “usual” food discount stores today. There were seven or eight totally empty shelves in each of them..That is, shelf sections about three / four feet long, totally empty. Was surprised enough, I forgot to check the rest of the products, to see if the shelves were full, or just a front layer of goods.

        I do not ever ever recall seeing any empty shelves, say five to ten years back. Another thing I noticed. Someone in the comments here suggested that stores were piling up more and bigger displays of junk carbohydrates. I did notice that.

  21. You can buy GF oats from Amazon: Bob’s Red Mill.
    they have GF steel cut, rolled, or quick cooking.
    Very good quality. Usually dates at least a year out.
    Peace and Blessings :)

  22. On average I am in the grocery store 2 or 3 times a week. Usually picking up milk, bread or other items. I have not seen any thinning or empty shelves. Since I am in the store so often it gives me a great opportunity to take advantage of sale items, especially BOGOS without drawing too much attention to myself. Plus the stores I go in to does have limits on BOGOS. So I just work around that.

    I don’t venture into wally world too much. I used to hit one every couple of weeks for ammo but since I started going to gun shows again I get what I need there and at a better price.

    When I do go to wally world the only items I noticed them low or empty on was rice and beans. Usually in the larger sizes. But then again they can only put so much on the shelf. Also since we have a very large Hispanic population here with all the commercial farms, etc. I have noticed that is where they tend to do all their shopping and their carts are always slammed full usually with bulk items like beans and rice. Which makes since because a lot of Hispanic dishes require those ingredients. I’m getting hungry for some good Mexican food now. Yum.

    I don’t think we will start seeing any real issues in the stores till later this year barring any major events. But who knows. I’m surprised things haven’t gone awry before now.

    Just keeping stockin and lockin.
    Adapt and Overcome.

  23. OK, I really don’t see any shortages in the grocery stores where I live but since I manage a retail store for a national auto parts chain I do have a background on how and why the shelves get stocked and certain products disappear.

    When I took over my store 5 years ago I had approx 450k in product in the store. I now have 1.2 million but my store has not gotten bigger. We keep approx 2.5 weeks worth of product in the store at all times. So what am I getting at… Due to having only so much room we only keep products that move. We don’t have product sitting around the store and on shelves that take up real estate but don’t make us money. It doesn’t matter what the product is if it doesn’t sell enough to make the right amount of profit it goes away.

  24. Hi all, Went to the local Mexican supermarket here in the Inland Empire.
    Riverside County. Produce section was overflowing. Romaine lettuce at $.79
    per head, Bosc pears at 2 lb./ .99, Splurged on giant mangos at .99 each. I got jincomas at 3 lb for .99, early peaches at .97/lb. Weds. is their produce
    sale day. Spent $23.00 total for 6 bags full of produce. Also really nice
    Roma tomatoes 2 lb/.99, Cukes at 5/.99, Had a nice fresh salad for dinner.
    This same amount of food at Wally World would have run $50.00 . I’m not crazy about living in SoCal but the food is really a bargain here.
    I went to Wally World last week and noticed lots of empty space where the racks were gone and bare floor showing a lighter color where they were covered in the past. More space in the aisles between clothing racks.
    Looks like they are not carrying as much inventory lately.

  25. I shop in the commissary too… we suddenly have our ID’s scanned at the register before it get’s bagged. It used to be ID check at the door. I don’t like it at all. When I spoke to the cashier I was told that it is to eliminate buying for others not authorized to be a patron. So, me thinks it is to see who buys what. Our ID cards have all our information. It does not make a difference if my kids go by themselves, it is a family thing so they will know how much we buy of the stuff.
    Yeah, my Kerrygold butter is two fifty…and I usually have 10-15 a months..and gallons of milk. So, even the military is tracking of what is being bought and by whom…you still have anonimity (spell check not working ) in the stores, not on base…
    Also, we had a Sprouts opening up on this side of town….very interesting to see who buys what and a great indicator who will be coming back for more and who will avoid it soon because of the prices…

    1. The scanning before checkout instead of after won’t eliminate those who buy for others “not authorized.” That’s probably what she’s been told, however. It will eliminate/reduce (or at least identify) those who are stocking up. Someone who comes in once a month and buys out the store is likely to be more of a red flag than someone who comes in daily and gets their food for the day. With purchase tracking, they can also identify when there’s a sudden increase in usage for a particular individual, or when they pick up things they usually don’t. Not being military, I’m not sure if this makes sense in context.

      1. We had authorized users purchase lots of foods for friends including cigarettes and things and an audit came to reveal that these “friends” were not authorized to buy there in the first place, that included using the EBT cards. I am all for helping people, but that is a priviledge I had to earn. I hate it when I get approached and asked to purchase things there because they are cheaper. My usual answer is join and sign your life away like I did and you can shop there.
        Lauren, the issue is that patrons abused their rights there and now the rest of us have to pay for it. And I spoke to the cashiers, they really do want to know how much we spend there.

    2. OK, so I hit “submit” too soon. You don’t have anonymity in the stores. You know the frequent shopper cards? Tracking. Credit cards? Tracking. Your phone number at checkout “to make returns easier”? Tracking. Keep any online shopping lists? Tracking. Store apps? Tracking. Unless you pay with cash, stay off your cell phone, and refuse to give them ANY identifying information, you’re being tracked. Well, the cell phone piece is arguable…

      They talk about “personalizing” your shopping experience–that’s what they’re referring to. Their systems take the information of what you’ve purchased and when, and you get personalized ads in your e-mail box or on your cell phone. Things that YOU are more likely to purchase, ads targeted to YOU.

      So just once you don’t have cash and use a credit card. Your credit card has a cell phone linked to it. You give them your cell # at another point, so you won’t have to have the receipt for returns. Now those two shopping experiences are linked. Your son gives them your cell phone number because he doesn’t want to use his, and now that incident is linked as well.

      Admittedly, not all stores go to this extreme. But some do, and it is becoming more common. All for your convenience, of course.

  26. It is said that an army travels on its stomach. Well as General George Patton found out during WWII an army travels on more than its stomach when his fuel allotment was taken from him slowing his dash across Europe.

    On Monday January 18 the people of Anchorage, Wasilla, Palmer, Fairbanks and other towns in Alaska woke up to find gaps in the products in their grocery stores. Around 4 PM my wife and I went to the Fred Meyers store close to our home and as walked in I noticed huge gaps in the fresh produce section and as we walked around the grocery section of the store it was obvious something was not right. The meat section had gaps of empty shelves as did the Dairy section and all the other grocery shelves had large gaps on the shelves.

    Fred Meyers here is one of the many grocery stores around the country that depend on “just in time” deliveries. If something happens to disrupt this supply chain people will go hungry if it lasts too long.

    Tuesday there were many rumors as to what the problem was and late Tuesday it was announced that one of the two Tote ships that make deliveries to the port of Anchorage on Sundays and Wednesdays had a mechanical problem and the replacement ship docked a day late. As of this time Wednesday the ship is still under repair leaving just one ship to make the six day round trip from Tacoma, Washington to Anchorage, Alaska normally there are two ships doing this run.

    On Wednesday morning around 9 AM I went to my local Fred Meyers and found the gaps in the produce bins were now somewhat filled but the grocery shelves had larger gaps and where there usually would be a three item wide face of product on the shelves with product behind there now was six or eight boxes of the same product face with no boxes behind them in order to give the illusion of product on the shelves. Of interesting note the TP and paper towel section was almost devoid of product.

    I had a chance to talk to two employees while I was there the one in the meat section told me they just got a few trailers in with a limited amount of product. “About two days’ worth” was what he said. I then was able to talk to what looked like a mid-level manager about the food shipments and that person said the same thing that they were getting some product in but not the usual amount that they normally get and once again I saw product spread further along the shelves with little or nothing behind the face item.

    Then around 3 PM my wife & I went to the Carrs/Safeway grocery store for the area where we live. What I saw wasn’t as bad as what I saw at Freddie’s. There were some gaps of product on the shelves but not as many as Freddie’s. The same with the meat section but they were having a killer sale on country pork ribs, buy one pack and get two packs free and the produce department looked somewhat normal. We originally went there to get some onions and odds and ends for tonight’s supper and for me to see how the store was coping with the situation.

    I attribute the fact that Carrs had more product and was looking better to the fact that Carrs has a large warehouse/distribution center here in Anchorage that still had some stock.

    We then went to the Costco store for our area and didn’t notice much if any problems as far as grocery stock goes.
    Anchorage and the state of Alaska is unique because only about 5% of the food we eat is produced here, 5% comes up the highway or by air freight that means 90% of our groceries comes by ship to the port of Anchorage and then by road, boat and airplane to the other communities in Alaska.

    Here in The Anchorage Bowl we have 3 Wall Mart super stores, 2 Costco’s, 2 Sam’s Clubs, 5 Carrs, Eagle River a bedroom community and part of Anchorage Has a Wall Mart, Freddie’s, and Carrs. Wasilla which is 50 miles up the road on the Parks Highway has a Wall Mart and Carrs. Palmer 50 miles up the Glenn Highway has a Carrs and Freddie’s.

    These stores serve a population of about 450,000 people the people in authority claim that if there is a serious breakdown of the shipping schedule there is about 5 to 7 days worth of food in Anchorage for the whole state.

    The port of Anchorage is not a natural deep water port so at low tide 2 bulldozers are lowered over the side and they push the glacial silt back towards the current from the Knik and Matanuska Rivers. If there is another big earthquake and the floor of Cook Inlet rose, or the docks collapsed some people say that doesn’t matter we have the railroad from Seward and Whitter but as the movie “Though the Earth Be Moved” showed the road and Railroad tracks along Turnigan Arm was twisted into an unusable mess that took a year to replace.

    But we have two big airports with Elmendorf Airforce Base and Anchorage International Airport they cry. Well those runways will have to be recertified before a heavy jet lands on them and that could take from a week to a month to happen.
    So now that you know one of the bad parts of living here that I would be willing to bet 70% of the adults who live here don’t know or want to admit they know. Anyone here in Anchorage who doesn’t have at a minimum one months’ worth of food and a means to cook it other than their gas or electric stove plus a way to heat their home in the winter will be a statistic

    “If we receive no additional supplies from outside, the Alaska Partnership for Infrastructure Protection has estimated that we have about 5 to 7 days worth of goods on our store shelves,” said Jeremy Zidek with the Alaska Division of Emergency Management.

    Then on Sunday January 24 at 1:30 AM we had a 7.1 earthquake. A lot of stuff fell on the floors of the grocery stores. At 9 AM when I went into the Freddies that services my area of town I could still smell the disinfectant used to mop the spaghetti sauce isle and the odor of pickles was prevalent.

  27. FYI. As I’m typing this i just read that the BDI fell below 300 to 298. The lowest it has been was 556 in Aug of 1986.

    But hey the stock market was up today.

    Move along nothing to see here.

    Adapt and Overcome.

  28. I have not really noticed any problems buying things other then the limit of my funds to buy stuff.

    Prices are going up and the size of and quality is going down.

    I expect at some point things to be hard to find. But I think that shortages will not be the case till we get a real collapse situation.

    All the better of a reason to buy things now…

  29. Today (Feb 8th) I swung by a save-a-lot. I noticed that the canned goods isle was a bit bare – much less than normal. I don’t know if its a coincidence or what. The average price of a 12oz can of veggies are approx 60 cents. Some were a little less (50 cents) I was there to buy more sugar. I skipped the 4 pound bag that was once a 5 pound bag for $2, and went for the 10 pound bag for $4.80… not sure if that was a bargain or not…. I wasn’t shopping for a bargain – I plum ran out of sugar – the first time in years. I guess I let my sugar preps slide… Its all good… Next time I’m at the bulk good store, I’ll stock up again. So, I would have to say “Yes” store shelves are thinning in my area.

  30. Until today I always thought of shortages being in grocery stores, but everything else we purchase in would be filled in a a short period of time.

    Requiring PVC plumbing supplies, we went to H/Depot, they were out most of the 1″ parts I needed. This is not the first time I went to the store to find the shelves bare of this size of pvc parts. They had 3/4 and 1/2 inch parts, but pieces we rarely need, let alone use. My next stop will be the Lowe’s store for shopping, if they come up short also, suggest all of you put water repair parts on your shopping lists.

  31. Similar problem a week or two ago. I asked the employee helping me and he said he’d never noticed the shortages–“We just stock what they send us.” I can imagine some half-trained teenager in the Home Depot ordering center…

    “Why did I take this job? I’ve never even been in a hardware store. OK, there are six options on this 1 inch…what’s a coupling? Male and female? HAHAHAHA! Hardware people are so stupid. So there are six options, I need a break, just pick one. We’ll send them…this one!” Stabs the mouse at random.

  32. Went shopping last night….One grocery store (FL) had obvious shortages…bare shelves and front loading. Wally world was low on powdered milk and I am noticing they aren’t carrying as many items as they used to. If other stores are starting to look like the (FL) I expect people will be panicking soon. :(

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