Anybody seeing new shortages?

Suburban Pioneer
Suburban Pioneer Posts: 337 ✭✭✭
edited April 2022 in Other News

I noticed the last two weeks that the fresh veggies at our Trader Joe's seemed of poor quality and picked over. Also, they were running low on several packaged items. Never seen that before. My visit to our Fred Meyer Monday afternoon revealed not only several fresh veggies absent or in short supply - because of the California fires, a display sign said - but also a number of holes or noticeably thin spots in a variety of areas, espeically soups, flours, canned beans, certain canned veg, a variety of frozen veg, tortillas and rice. All prepper foods. Signs restricting purchases of Kleenex and some cleaning/sanitizing supplies also made another appearance. Are we seeing another wave of stockpiling starting up? Or more supply chain disruptions? Or maybe both? Anybody else notice the return of unusual happenings at their local grocery stores? Any thoughts?



  • Michelle D
    Michelle D Posts: 1,360 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I usually head to our local produce market once or twice a week to get fresh produce that I can't/ don't grow myself. They last several times that I was there most of the shelves were completely empty. They had a reasonable amount of potatoes, onions, apples, and greens. There wasn't much else available, and what was didn't look very good. The few bell peppers were tiny. I haven't seen many other shortages in our local grocery store yet, but I am expecting them.

  • MaryRowe
    MaryRowe Posts: 736 ✭✭✭✭

    My last grocery trip a week ago, I had to go to three stores to get everything on my list. All three had empty spots on their shelves, but different things were missing in each store--suggesting the problem around here is more in the supply system than the supply itself. I talked to staff at all three stores who said that was the case, and I saw some things that bore it out.

    For example, beef prices had soared through the roof again in the two chain stores that ship their beef in, but the prices were holding steady in the locally-owned store that gets its beef from local farmers. The two chain stores had hardly any pumpkins and no other squash. The locally-owned store had a little squash, though not much choice, and while I was there a truck from a local farm delivered a load of pumpkins. The produce section overall looked about like usual at the locally-owned store, though some things that they bring in from California were missing; there were serious gaps in the produce section at both the chain stores.

    I did not see any signs limiting purchases, but choices on toilet paper, paper towels and tissues were limited; different stores had different gaps. Same with soups, beans (both dried and canned) and other canned goods. I didn't need flour or other baking supplies this trip, so I didn't check those shelves.

    Obviously here in rural/small town west-central Missouri, the stores are having problems getting their stock in. The further away it has to come from, the more trouble they are having in getting it here. The devastation in California has to be a contributing factor, especially with fresh produce. It certainly makes me, and others around here I have talked to, anxious about the future. But in this area, where many folks raise and preserve some of their food themselves and routinely keep large pantries well-stocked, I haven't heard anything about a new wave of stockpiling. It could well be a completely different story in the cities though. Seems to me things are likely to get worse this winter before they get better, and we should probably all be taking stock of what we have, what we are likely to need, and making the best provisions we can.

  • KimMullen
    KimMullen Posts: 38 ✭✭✭

    I have noticed a decline in the quality of produce available also. And there are signs limiting purchase of paper products here too. I have heard that some truckers are refusing to drive to or through some of the cities that are having riots so maybe supply is part of problem as well as the fires.

  • sudborough
    sudborough Posts: 36 ✭✭✭

    On the central OR coast organic produce was super sparse at the Fred Meyer yesterday (got the last head of lettuce). They've had limits on toilet paper/disinfecting supplies for the duration as well as occasional limits on chicken & beef products (but I didn't notice any signs on the meats).

  • RustBeltCowgirl
    RustBeltCowgirl Posts: 1,403 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Not a shortage, but I've been noticing some of the food service/restaurant size cans appearing on the shelves of several of the local grocery chains.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,218 admin

    Not new, but finally confirmation about why it was so hard to get any hardware cloth in any quantity since spring. The small rolls are not long/wide enough. We are not interested in flimsy, not predator proof, easily rusting chicken wire. We wanted the good stuff like we usually get. Apparently, since chicken wire was in short supply, new to the scene people went after the more expensive hardware cloth when chicken wire disappeared to newbie gardeners & new chicken keepers. Sigh.

    We ordered in early spring. We waited 3 1/2 months...and technically are still waiting on that store. We found some in a larger roll on sale elsewhere & promptly bought it.

    At least the shortage should(?) resolve soon, although of course, most people don't build chicken pens & garden up here in the winter.

    We might just have to get a bit extra when it becomes available again to make sure we have it when we need it this time around.

  • kbmbillups1
    kbmbillups1 Posts: 1,276 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Yesterday I went to Home Depot to get a large one year filter for our heating/air system. There was only 1 four inch one that had been opened and no 5 inch ones at all. The shelves were bare! I asked a worker who looked them up. No 4 inch ones (which is the one I needed) in stock or at any Home Depot in driving distance. None at Lowe's either. I bought the open one. My husband was glad I'd bought it even though it was open -he said nothing was wrong with it. I'd looked online the night before but couldn't find that size to order.

  • Gail H
    Gail H Posts: 359 ✭✭✭✭

    I am having trouble finding organic brown rice flour. The company that I usually purchase from said it would be in stock on Friday. Now that's been pushed to Nov. 27th. I'm afraid my GF sourdough will starve!

  • Suburban Pioneer
    Suburban Pioneer Posts: 337 ✭✭✭

    I've been noticing the rather anemic bell peppers, also. And the organic produce is rather hit and miss in terms of quantity and quality. Things seemed better this week, but still didn't get much at Joe's because several items (especially lettuces) were still just not very good. Freddy's was better this week than last, but can't find coconut sugar at Freddy's or Winco. Tried to order some from Wally World out of desperation (I use several different sugars for cooking and baking), and they returned a note that their supplier was sold out. Whod'a thunk a run on coconut sugar??!?

  • Suburban Pioneer
    Suburban Pioneer Posts: 337 ✭✭✭

    A run on hardware cloth??!? Now, that's a new one to me! I didn't need any this year (thank HEAVEN), but I do seem to recall seeing it reasonably stocked at the D&B where I shop for garden supplies and hardware, etc. I feel sorry for you because I know how important that stuff is, especially with predators around. And gophers. Ask me how I know about that one... 😂

  • Suburban Pioneer
    Suburban Pioneer Posts: 337 ✭✭✭

    I've been seeing a few appear on internet sites that sell food, too. It didn't dawn on me why until I read your post. Duh! It's sad to see, but I guess it's the great circle of life, one organism's demise is another's cheap meal....

    I suspect there's going to be a lot more of that going on as the winter wears on. The rate of bankruptcy of restaurants is climbing. Doesn't matter who wins the U.S. elections, the cycle now in motion isn't going to reverse until the excesses of the past have been paid for. On the plus side, it's probably a great time for larger families to stock up. I feel very fortunate to be a member of this group. Having access to everyone else's perspectives an opinions (not to mention comeraderie) is a great help when wading off into uncharted waters. And all of humanity is in uncharted waters. now, whether individual people realize that or not.

  • Michelle D
    Michelle D Posts: 1,360 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I typically do any grocery shopping that will need to do for the week on Monday mornings. My oldest daughter just happens to work at our local grocery store. She told me last night that I was crazy busy with checkout lines wrapped around through out the whole building. She said that it seemed like people were panic shopping. (Side note our state officials hinted at another lockdown during a press conference a couple of days ago) So I went a first thing this morning when they opened. Even after having a night shift that spends 8 hours stocking shelves after close, so many of the shelves were completely empty.

  • Thomas
    Thomas Posts: 81 ✭✭✭

    I have seen many empty areas in our grocery stores; mostly canned foods, things of that nature that can last. Paper products don't seem affected unlike at the beginning of the year.

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,535 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Pepperoni of all things. I was told its everyone is ordering pizza. I also heard tomato sauce will be hard to find soon. And winter squash.

  • Suburban Pioneer
    Suburban Pioneer Posts: 337 ✭✭✭

    Thanks for confirming what I thought I've been seeing for the past few weeks. It's been my impression that stockers can no longer keep up, and that's why, even if there are few frank holes in the merchandise, the 'new normal' seems to be a chronic selection of "thin" or patchy spots scattered throughout each store (in contrast to the always fully or nearly fully loaded shelves we're accustomed to seeing at all times at every grocer). On a related note, in addition to the coconut sugar being out of stock at each grocer I tried today, I got a notice this evening that the specific brand of olive oil I ordered from an online retailer and paid for this afternoon was out of stock and on back order, so the retailer was refunding my money. I searched six different other online retailers each advertising this oil, and finally found one who still had it in stock. I was considering switching to ordering another premium brand that comes out once a year and had just started advertising their 2020 crop (with an "opening season sale" that makes the price competitive), but the oil wouldn't ship until after the first pressing in December. Normally, that would be no problem, but this year, I'm too nervous about global events and potential domestic disruptions to risk ordering something that won't be shipped until the middle of next month. We ordered all of our Christmas gifts early, too, out of the same concerns.

  • Tave
    Tave Posts: 951 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Can you get brown rice and grind it in a blender? I haven't been able to get brown rice in 4 months. Glad I stocked up when this mess started.

  • Lisa K
    Lisa K Posts: 1,759 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Upright freezers are still on backorder - Lowes did not give a revised timeframe and Home Depot's freezers are now January 11th 2021.

    Also according to the news Mason Jars are on or will be on the shortage list soon. While cleaning my garage I found several small-mouth jars with no or rusted lids and I was able to get new plastic lids for them from Walmart - they cannot be used for canning but can be used for storage.

  • annbeck62
    annbeck62 Posts: 980 ✭✭✭✭

    Some things still haven't come back from the initial shortage where I live :(

  • silvertipgrizz
    silvertipgrizz Posts: 1,990 ✭✭✭✭✭


    canned food, yeast in the jar..original ranch dip in the box of 4/cheaper than the singles and yet that's all they have on the shelf where I do most of my shopping, diapers which I use as kitchen t towels/unfolded. There is more but I won't remember more until my next shopping trip lol...

    oh, and at the dollar store still the same ole same ole paper items esp tp and paper towels.

  • Granny Marie
    Granny Marie Posts: 53 ✭✭✭

    I can vouch for the Mason jars, or any other brand. I make cactus jelly to sell in the fall. When I could find them, the price was triple from last year. The price of flats jummped a lot, also. The worst part was looking for them online but the "out of stock" wouldn't show until checkout.

  • frogvalley
    frogvalley Posts: 675 ✭✭✭✭

    We just used the last roll of toilet paper from when CoVid hit in March. We didn't buy any at the time, we weren't hoarding it, we just had it. I never realized I bought enough for almost a year. I just keep a certain area on a shelf stocked when there is a sale on the 20 roll container.

    Being old, we have a ton of mason jars, and other durable good. Haven't really seen anything missing in the stores, but then again we don't buy a lot of what other people do. Well, except for the seeds.

  • dottile46
    dottile46 Posts: 437 ✭✭✭

    I did notice today that the fruit section at Wal-Mart had very small produce. There were apples not as big as a ping pong ball. Not just one kind of apple but almost all. The plums were small too. They did have an abundant supply though.

    The things I saw in short supply was still the cleaning supply isle - toilet bowl, hard surface cleaners etc. The toilet paper and paper towels have never reached the stock levels pre-virus.

    At our local grocery store there are several shelves with totally bare sections including the canned ravoli, spaghetti and meatballs, and other canned pasta products. Canned chili is short but not gone.

    The one thing that has me stumped is that half and half, the dairy product, is in short supply.

  • nksunshine27
    nksunshine27 Posts: 343 ✭✭✭

    @Gail H can you buy organic brown rice and grind it to make your own flour?

  • Suburban Pioneer
    Suburban Pioneer Posts: 337 ✭✭✭

    Thanks for the tip about the diapers! I was wondering what to use for durable, simple and inexpensive towels for dirty jobs like canning, and I now have my answer! :-) Re: dollar store, ours has been in and out of stuff - sharpie markers, some batteries, condiments, rubbing alcohol- for months. My pet peeve is dental floss. Get it there for $1 a roll; it's usually $1.89 or more for the same thing at any grocery store. I keep WELL stocked on the stuff, it's important. Dollar Store has generally been out of it for at least the past five months. They are also no longer carrying soy milk. The cheapest brand at WinCo used to be about $1.25, now it's up to almost $2.

  • Merin Porter
    Merin Porter Posts: 1,026 admin

    Still having a hard time finding disinfecting wipes. I know I can make my own, but sometimes it's really convenient to just be able to grab a pre-moistened one out of a container. I guess everyone else thinks so, too.... :)

  • MaryRowe
    MaryRowe Posts: 736 ✭✭✭✭

    Yep, that's something that never really came back in stock to any extent around here. And last trip to the grocery store I noticed that basic cleaning supplies like cleaning vinegar and bleach are limited one to a customer. Haven't seen limits on purchases of cleaning supplies for months till now.

  • Cornelius
    Cornelius Posts: 872 ✭✭✭✭

    With the third wave and cold/ flu season I expect even bigger shortages than in the spring. Hopefully the supply chain can keep up.

  • SherryA
    SherryA Posts: 314 ✭✭✭

    Canning jars and lids! Jars get emptied regularly, so if I could get my hands on some lids I'd be ok. But any that I do find are outrageously expensive. Somebody could make a fortune if they could manufacture canning lids right now.

    I was finally able to stock up on rice and dried beans of various kinds. Those were impossible to find for a while.

  • Suburban Pioneer
    Suburban Pioneer Posts: 337 ✭✭✭

    No shortage of rice or beans around here, but when I went to order bulk oats and millet for my girls from our local co-op (I usually order about every two months or so), the customer service lady told me that she'd put the order in but had no guarantee of when it would be filled. Their supplier was out and had no idea when they would be able to start filling orders again. When I asked her why, she shrugged and said "COVID, shortage of ag workers, supply chains are stretched, the weather has decimated crops in some areas, and some people are hoarding."

  • nksunshine27
    nksunshine27 Posts: 343 ✭✭✭

    @SherryA order some tattler reusable lids

    @Suburban Pioneer have you tried the bulk section in winco?

    also for everyone in general if your stores run out of toilet paper order coreless rolls like the restaurants use. the place that makes toilet paper in idaho actually said in an interview the last time poeple were running out of toilet papaer that it wasnt in shortage they just couldnt produce it as fast as it was diapearing but they had plenty of resturant toilet paper that was just sitting there cause the restaurants were closed.sometimes gotta think outside of the box

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