I woke up early this morning, and instead of rolling over and going back to sleep until the alarm, I got up and went shopping at the neighborhood Safeway. At that time of day, the store is essentially empty, and the overnight crew is busy restocking shelves. They were almost done by the time I go there. It was interesting to see what had been picked clean and what was still seemed to be at the usual stocking levels. Bread, milk, toilet paper, processed meats, certain canned goods, and certain frozen foods were either almost or completely gone. The rice and kosher foods were depleted, but still in stock. Fresh produce was abundant. There were plenty of paper goods other than toilet paper.
I also stopped by a Trader Joe’s a bit later in the morning. The store was more crowded than usual, but almost everything was in stock. In fact, the milk section was absolutely full when I picked up a gallon of skim milk.
When Mrs. Hoge and I lived in California, we began keeping a stash of non-perishable food as part of our earthquake preparedness, and we continued to maintain that stash when we moved to the east coast. We have hurricanes here. While we’ve cycled food into and out of that stash (stuff won’t keep forever), we never had to use it because of a natural disaster. I don’t know if I’ll have to dip into it during the current disruption, but it’s there.
Meanwhile, my podcasting partner Stacy McCain has offered some useful observations on what the various levels of government are doing to address the Wuhan virus pandemic. At the end of his piece he notes that “I’ve got 28 rolls of toilet paper, and the means to defend my family against any marauding bandits.” It turns out that my son made a run to Costco just before all this broke, and one of the items on his shopping list was toilet paper. We don’t have 28 rolls, but we have more than a month’s supply. And we’re well armed.