I'd be interested to read a more in-depth report on the grocery situation this past week, but this is instructive. Psychology, actual need and a fragile distribution network.http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/11/AR2010021101944.html?hpid=artslotWashingtonians huddled against two monumental back-to-back snowstorms have been buying groceries in near-hoarding quantities over the past week. They've been quick to post online photos of empty grocery shelves and trade the latest intelligence on which stores are stocked and which have nary a green vegetable in sight.
A reader reported being greeted at a Safeway in Burke by a cart wrangler who offered a wry [i]"Good luck finding food."
Store after store was sold out of flour and baking supplies
. "I guess everyone is baking," surmised Maria Rodriguez-Carreno after reporting no flour left
Tuesday at a Giant in Rockville.
If there's one lesson grocers have learned from past storms it's this: Shoppers will buy everything in sight the day before a storm. They want bread, eggs, rock salt, snow shovels. They want gourmet Gruyere cheese to melt over the French onion soup they're going to make for the first time in a decade. They want frozen pizza, toilet paper, flashlights and loads of those big honking D-cell batteries to fuel them. That was last Thursday. And again Tuesday.
The second lesson in the grocery business is this: Most shoppers hibernate during the worst of the storm. Then, once they begin to dig out, comes the second rush when shelves are again picked clean
. That was last Sunday. Now, grocers are bracing for a brisk day Thursday and into the weekend as even more snow is predicted for Monday.