Today is Monday, April 13. I went shopping thinking the stores would be less crowded before pay day. A third of people didn’t pay rent this month. The military is having food distribution for its own, in spite of many family still having the same income as before (one income from the service member, the other partner generally stays at home).
I can understand that some people are seeing this lasting many more months and are just being cautious, but regarding the military, it’s not like you’re losing your job or anything.
My fridge was still pretty full, but on top of wanting to shop before pay day, I am also trying to shop smart.
When I lived in the Guatemalan jungle, I would go shopping twice a month, to the next town about an hour away. I hate shopping, hate supermarkets, and that day would simply be exhausting.
But I would do it to save gas, and have two or three weeks of bliss on the beach afterwards.
That shopping day would take me between 6 and 8 hours. I would hit the hardware stores first, looking for anything house improvement related, concrete bags, gallons of paint, electric wires etc. It would take two or three stores to get everything.
Then, the supermarket for guest house supplies such as detergent, toilet paper, bleach or soap, and dry goods for the pantry.
Finally, the market, for fresh vegetables, fruits, meat eggs and dairy. The market is cheaper, and better quality. It is also crowded and impossible to park. I would often need extra stops at the market for dog medicines, candles, floor mats and other random house items.
All in all, a long, horrible day.
Here, I have been conflicted with my shopping strategy, but the overall goal is to keep a high supply level, to avoid having to go when I don’t want to, or can’t because I am sick.
Living in the RV, we already had weeks of beans, rice, lentils and canned goods on hand. Lots of frozen meat I buy at the commissary as well, in 15lb bulk packages.
Usually, I shop at Costco for finer foods, like cheese, salmon, pesto, that come in bigger containers for cheaper.
I then shop at the Mexican chain El Super for fresh food, and that’s 90% of shopping taken care of.
And once a month or so, we hit Trader Joe’s for $2 wine, $6 6-pack beer, and the dollar store for $1 energy drinks.
These days, I can’t get myself to go queue everywhere the same day. Plus, while I don’t like driving for the sake of it, it’s been getting me out of the house.
So today I did just Costco. The lines were ok, I showed up at 930am and I think they usually open at 10, but they were letting people in, and I was inside within 15 minutes. When I got out, the line was at least 5x longer.
I have also driven by supermarkets several times, and having reserves allowed me to pull away, avoid the lines, and decide to shop at a later time.
While I don’t expect the country to run out of food, I do expect some disruptions in the supply chain, and people freaking out because stores are out of one item, so they imagine they’d be out of all items.
There have been talks about meat plants closing and lowering the meat supply, I don’t care too much for that. I bought a 4lb pack of bacon at Costco, and with a little bacon seasoning, I can go without meat in a meal for a long time.
We also have canned tuna, salmon, chicken and a bunch more protein.
I don’t plan on going shopping for another 10 days or more, ideally just before pay day again.
How do you deal with shopping during quarantine?