Thursday, April 24, 2008
Are you hoarding food?
That’s a strange, if not rude question, I suppose, BUT when I was driving home last night, a talk show on the radio was discussing that. Then this morning, I log on to the internet, which my home page is the Sun-Sentinel.com and there’s a headline titled: “Run On Rice Makes Way to the U.S.”. CNN.com basically has the same thing. There have been reports of Sams Club, Costco, and others, limiting the number of bags of rice, flour, etc that a person can buy. Hmmm. I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen that disclaimer in any of their stores? And some stores are reporting that they do not have any left in stock. I KNOW that last time I was at Costco (2 weeks ago), they did not have any large bags of rice. I just thought that maybe there was a holiday coming up or something (we have a very diversified group of people in south Florida!) It's mostly restaurants, so they report. I’m thinking more in line with the fact that consumers are thinking, a: we are going to keep seeing the prices go sky high (compare rice & flour prices this spring to last spring, outrageous) and b: with the cost of fuel going the way it is, I think, no, I believe, that there is going to be less shipments coming around. Seriously. Ok, so maybe the end is coming. But not in that way. So I get home. I look at my grocery list I started. It has one item. Brown Sugar. I’m dying to see how much it’s going to cost. Used to be 79 cents for a box. Probably a dollar more. Then I look at my flour. I have 2 5 lb bags of whole wheat that was on sale CHEAPER than white. I have a 10 lb bag of white. Some, not much, left in the container. Sugar. Just opened the 10 lb bag, have about 5 lbs left in bag plus what’s in the container. Rice – got a big box of minute rice (I know, that doesn't really 'count' as rice, but...) plus what’s in the container, bag of jasmine and bag of regular ole white rice. Pasta would be a different story. For some reason, haven’t been stocking up on it lately and have had to make a note to buy when I’m making something for the upcoming week. I usually have lots and lots of it sitting around. I’m thinking that if I believe in the above scenario, I need to get to the store and stock up. So, the next question would be: where on earth do ORDINARY people (not restaurants) store that much stuff if hoarding? Garages, under beds, in closets, basements, attics, etc. This is not stuff that they use on a day to day basis. They store in garbage cans, totes, etc. I actually know someone that I do business with whose partner believes that the dollar will have no value before long and has been stocking up for months. He has big drums stored in his warehouse. That’s pretty serious, considering he’s a successful business man at this time NOT in the restaurant business. The bottom line feeling for me is that I don’t think the end is coming. I do believe that times are going to get significantly more difficult in the very near future and that yes, you should be prepared. Sure, an emergency cash fund will be nice, but I honestly believe that a back up supply of essentials is going to be more important as the dollar is not going to be as stretchable as today, let alone a year ago. I don’t believe that we will be rationing food but may be with gas and fuel which will effect the shipments. I do believe that there will be a slight shortage of food. Not enough to cause panic as in other countries, but enough to make people rethink their way of eating and cooking. I don’t believe that the richer will be any better off than the poor. I think the opposite, simply because the poor know how to make do better than anyone, especially the rich who are used to paying for things to be done for them, unless they are frugal like yours truly
Well, that’s enough doom and gloom for the morning, wouldn’t you say. But definitely something to think about. I would be curious to have everyone else’s opinions out there.