Even though I work in retail, like many I was caught a bit flat-footed when the panic buying hit this Spring. For several weeks it was touch and go whether or not my wife and I were going to have adequate supplies of our preferred paper products in the house. Not to mention what became ‘big-ticket’ items like hand sanitizer and hand soap.
Since then, things have gotten a bit better in terms of supplies being in the stores on a more anticipated basis, though paper towels are invariably in short supply as well as limited in variety no matter where you go.
This week there have been rumblings about a ‘second wave’ of rationing because of the uptick of COVID cases in this area as well as elsewhere. On our most recent shopping trip, I, being the retail veteran, noticed the signs that have reappeared on certain items in the store, warning shoppers that they’re limited to 1 or 2 of paper towels, toilet paper, peanut butter and other things that have up to now been somewhat plentiful enough to allow almost unlimited buying.
As for myself, in the past couple of months I’ve been upping our supply of paper products as well as other long-term shelf stable items in case of unexpected shortages. Now some might see that as ‘hoarding’ but I wasn’t buying toilet paper or paper towels 4 and 5 multi-packs at a time. Nor have I been cleaning out the canned good section regularly. If anything, it could be said that I’ve been engaging in limited purchases to bolster our bottom line, and permit our neighbors to do the same, all the while not spending any more than we can afford, in order to better survive what’s coming in the next several months.
Obviously we’re not ogres here. If a neighbor happened to come to the door and say they needed to ‘borrow’ something we had in abundance, we’d share. But even so, we’re in a position where it makes sense to plan ahead, and have adequate supplies to get us through if we can, without breaking the bank in the process.
I actually thought about getting a chest freezer and filling it, but in that retrospect, we’d end up probably not using it correctly and it would become something that would cost more than it was worth. We eat out enough (take-out) that I’m not exclusively cooking from home, and don’t require large amounts of frozen meat, vegetables and so on. The small freezer above the refrigerator has been good enough for the past 20 years, it should be enough going forward. Unless I take a couple of cooking classes and suddenly decide to buy a half a cow that needs to be stored for the long term. But I don’t see that occurring.
Suffice it to say, I feel better prepared for the next couple of months than I did back in March and April. And that’s saying something.