Wednesday, January 11, 2023

My "Boots on the Ground" Report - Hiding the Obvious

By Tim Gamble

As SouthernPrepper1 continues his "Boots on the Ground" series on his You Tube channel (link: https://www.youtube.com/user/southernprepper1), I will occasionally post on this website my own personal observations of what I am seeing and experiencing in my area (small town in western North Carolina).

Hiding the Obvious

Stores are going to some lengths to hide the obvious - that there are still supply chain issues and actual shortages of some items. The stores are using several techniques, including spreading out merchandise, "fronting" merchandise (pulling items to the very front of the shelf to make thin inventory less apparent) , and rearranging and even removing shelving, to appear more well-stocked than they actually are. Some local examples: 
  • My local Wal-Mart has removed several display tables from the produce section, spreading out the remaining tables.
  • Two Aldi's (one in my county, and one in the next county over) have recently redone their shelves, cutting the shelf space devoted the canned goods (meat, veggies, fruits, soups, etc) in half and increasing the shelf space devoted to non-food items.
  • The Sam's Club I go to is noticeably spreading out merchandise. Example: instead of one tall pallet of Member's Mark peanut butter, they now have two shorter pallets of that peanut butter - same amount of peanut butter, but taking up more space so as to hide the gaps of other missing items. I've noticed them doing this with a lot of merchandise. 
I am noticing this trend because, although shelves at these stores look relatively full, I am not finding a quarter to a third of the items on my shopping lists (I'm an avid list shopper). My lists contain normal everyday items that should be in the stores, and would have been pre-pandemic. Locally, I am finding thin inventory and out-of-stock items in these particular categories:
  • Fresh Produce 
  • Frozen Foods 
  • Breads 
  • Eggs (see below for more comments)
  • Mac-and-cheese and other "meals in a box"
  • Sugar-free creamers and other sugar-free items (I'm diabetic)
  • Health& beauty aisles (especially cold & flu medicines, first aid supplies, vitamins & supplements)
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Shoes
  • Batteries 
I am not saying these shelves are empty. I am saying inventory is quite thin and that there are a lot of individual items that are out-of-stock on any given day. 

Eggs

An update on eggs in my area:
  • Wal-Mart: Inventory very low; cheapest white eggs are $4.98/dozen
  • Aldi's: Inventory low; $4.99/dozen
  • Ingle's Supermarket: Good inventory; cheapest white eggs $3.98/dozen
  • Sam's Club: Completely out of all eggs when I was there yesterday. 
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AD: Augason Farms Long-Term Food Storage
 - Good quality. Good prices.  This is where I get powdered butter, eggs, cheese, milk, and other long-term foods for my Survival Pantry. Shelf-life up to 20+ years. 


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