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05 November 2012 @ 07:40 am
The shape of things to come?  
I had a mini-meltdown in Wal-Mart last night.

We had gone in for tea and peppermints and a few other things. There was not a bag of peppermints to be had. The Brachs were stripped. The Best Choice were gone.

I know it was 9:30 on a Sunday and the trucks hadn't come in yet. But I started looking and seeing other empty shelves. Places where a whole product was missing and hadn't been restocked.
Wal-Mart had 15 ocean-going containers in their parking lot. Why the hell don't they have peppermints?

I've been noticing this more and more. Wal-Mart is OUT of things. This is not supposed to happen. It makes my world feel insecure. And sometimes Kroger and Walgreens and Big Star and Save A Lot are out too. There are times when the (very common) item I want is not to be had in my town.

This is only going to become more common. There's a drought this year. There will be famines. Not so much here, except for rising food prices, but elsewhere. And unless we get agriculture and our lives under control, it will touch us.

But that is not our way. We drive the car off the cliff first and fasten our seatbelt after.

You read it here: I'm predicting food riots in ten years.

Please feel free to laugh at me and call me a nervous nelly in 2025. I'd rather that than be right.

Is it pre-election jitters?
Is it pre-cog I can't control?
Is it just a lot of free-floating angst about my kids' future?
Is it incipient depression?
I don't know. I'll keep writing my stories and making my crafts until my arthritic fingers can take no more. Then I'll dictate them.
Tags: ,
Current Mood: worriedworried
cbpottscbpotts on November 5th, 2012 02:05 pm (UTC)
I don't know if this will be helpful information to have re this particular moment but from Supply Chain Management perspective, some are saying Wal-Mart's overbuy into RFID as inventory control early this year is NOW resulting in sporadic shortages in items (esp. seasonal, and low-cost items) as the non RFID tracking is markedly less robust - this might be what's behind the peppermints.

On the other hand, I think you're right, in general. Which is not fun.
Drewdrewbeartx on November 5th, 2012 02:07 pm (UTC)
No offense, but I really hope this is just depression &/or angsting about the kids.

That said, climatologists and food scientists already know that we're going to have shortages/absences of certain foods. A lot of different alcohols are going to become more expensive and lower quality or vanish altogether. For instance, wine grapes require very specific soil and weather conditions, and the regions they grow best in are going to be or are already being negatively impacted by rising temperatures. Tequila is probably going to vanish entirely, as the agave will become economically non-viable to farm. Barley malt for beer is going to get burned a lot more easily by rising temps/droughts.

Chocolate is probably going to take a hit, as is pork (pigs require a lot of water & mud for optimum health). We've already seen how wheat and corn were devastated by this year's drought, which is going to have a ripple effect through the food market both directly (foods that use flour or corn) and indirectly (animal feed).

Ugh. I've just convinced myself that you're probably at least partially right. :-( I don't think that there'll be food riots (in the USA at least; we've grown to complacent for large scale rioting), but there WILL be food hoarding.
Naomi Brooks: chibs-thoughtfulnbrooks on November 5th, 2012 04:11 pm (UTC)
Our Walmart has a bit too many out of stocks too. Been that way for a few years now. I always thought it was management screwing over their workers hours as retail is wont to do. "Gee, our action plan says we need 5 people to do project X. We'll schedule 2, since we're cheap."
m_barnettem_barnette on November 5th, 2012 04:35 pm (UTC)
You can solidly lay the blame for some of this on fuel costs. Fact: There are fewer resupply runs being made across the board to all stores.

Walmart used to keep their back room well stocked so shelves could be refilled. Except for certain items--toys at Xmas for instance--what's out on the floor is pretty much what the store has these days.

One major national disaster shows how the system breaks down--Sandy, Katrina anyone? Though Obama does get marks for handling things far better than Bush, he still has no control over supply and demand at the consumer level. Something bigger would leave this country in a true mess. New Madrid could go at any second which would totally cripple our nation.

Do I think you're right? Yes, and no. Most people will sit by and stare at their tv or computer and wonder what happened like the sheep they've been trained to be. Others will be out screaming their heads off.

Guess which category I fall into.

Edited at 2012-11-05 04:35 pm (UTC)
Becky Blackbecky_black on November 5th, 2012 05:59 pm (UTC)
I agree that it's probably down to stock control changes. They probably want to hold less stock in store and of course that leads to empty shelves sometimes when things sell faster than expected and they don't have enough reserve stock.

But food is bound to continue to still be a big problem. We've got issues in the UK with things like the wheat harvest because we've had a really wet summer. And that has a knock on effect, makes animal feed more expensive. And in many cases the rain and flooding made grazing impossible, so farmers have been having to use feed all year around instead of just in winter. The the supermarkets have cut the price they pay for milk as they try to keep customers who have less to spend. It's been a horrible year for agriculture here.
helgaleenashelgaleenas on November 5th, 2012 07:16 pm (UTC)
Nope, you are correct. Though I dislike Walmart on principle and try to buy as much as I can from the local unionized grocery or the food coop, and grow my own on a postage stamp of yard.
Angelvalarltd on November 6th, 2012 04:47 am (UTC)
When you're needing peppermint at 930 PM for an attack of Pharangytis, you take your chances. My girl was coughing so hard she threw up three times.

I can't grow food. I have lesbian black thumb and everything dies.