Saturday, April 18, 2020

You learn a lot about supply chains I guess......



I think we are officially in the "this is getting old" phase. Every shopping experience is like a scavenger hunt. You often have to stop by four stores to get the things you need. Or want.

So.... I was in my normal store today and noticed the produce section was getting really thin. When I asked one of the produce guys about it he tells me that everyone was coming over from Safeway. Their produce section is stripped. I was a little shocked because the last time I was out (three days ago) the stores seemed to be getting more back to normal.

Of course I had to stop by and see if it was true. And it pretty much was. Usually Safeway has produce filled as tall as I am. Apples and such. Obviously I'm a little freaked because you know it's coming. Who is out picking the fields?! I'm thinking - I guess we have reached the next stage of supply disruptions.

Finally I'm at another store in the town next to me and I mention it to the checker and she goes - Oh.... have you heard the news? At this stage I tense up every time I hear this, because it's never good. She says the distribution center in Tracy is infected and someone died. I had heard about this, but  didn't realize it would trickle to this area. I guess is creating a trickle affect.



At yet another store I was looking to see if there were any paper products and I see this sitting on the shelf. It's pretty hilarious to see what people WONT buy. And who even knew they created a product for dudes - AND DUDES DON'T EVEN WANT IT!





8 comments:

  1. Capital of Texas RefugeeSaturday, April 18, 2020 11:24:00 PM

    C'mon ... dude wipes, seriously, the jokes write themselves.

    "I'm thinking -- I guess we have reached the next stage of supply disruptions ..."

    That ignorance is so cute ... BUT IT'S WRONG!

    *says this like a certain military figure in Ren & Stimpy*

    *sends you off to peel potatoes so they can be fed to the food dehydrator* :-)

    So here's some more shit you can expect.

    Smithfield's plant in Sioux Falls has been shut down because of The Rona, and while they were going to shut down for a quick three days for cleaning and get back to packing pork products, South Dakota's governor convinced them to stay shut down for a little longer.

    So now it's indefinitely, and that's around 5% of the US pork product processing capacity right there in that one packing plant.

    Then there's beef, which is even more adversely affected, especially up in Canada where they may see production cuts as deep as 35% fairly soon, but it might already be as deep as 25% in the US.

    Expect cheap cuts of beef to disappear first.

    Get your pocket book out and buy those pricey grass-fed steaks now if you want them.

    Does Walmart still have "American Fake Wagyu" beef at silly prices?

    Get it while it's fresh.

    Since I do not have ass loads of storage space here for frozen and refrigerated stuff, I've had to make other arrangements which include going back to how things used to be.

    As an emergency step, I can go back to being quasi-vegetarian, because stuff like TVP in huge chunks not only stores well, but also takes up less space and lasts longer.

    And so I now have buckets of big chunk TVP from India sitting in the living room, ready for me to repackage them into smaller heat-sealed bags with oxygen absorber packets in them.

    I am also now the somewhat annoyed and irritated owner of roughly eighty more cases of mostly curry-based MREs.

    By the time this shit is over, I will be so fucking tired of curry that I'll probably re-embrace Swedish minimalist cooking, but for now if it isn't spicy enough, it gets more spice just to make sure whatever might be in it will get killed off.

    I have at least two gallons of Tabasco on hand now, just in the regular flavor alone, and I may need more.

    We probably will not run completely out of food, but supply chains are about to get fucked hard, and so expect more of this shit where stores don't have what you want.

    All of this could put a lot of pressure in a lot of places and kick off The Global Boogaloo O'Clock and not just some local or national ones.

    In the event that I got diagnosed with The Rona, I bought enough supplies on top of what I already had to be bunkered up for at least four months, provided that electric and water don't somehow get fucked up with all of this.

    The consumer supply chain's fucked, but let's see if the restaurant and other wholesale chains open up a bit more to deliver bulk goods.

    So why have I bought so much in terms of bulk dry goods?

    Up in Georgia, the Vogtle nuclear power plant's been working on a long-delayed expansion project, but they just had to cancel work on it and send two thousand people home.

    Absenteeism plus The Rona meant they couldn't get anything done.

    So how long until the operations staff of the working parts of the nuke plant get affected?

    Now imagine that sort of shit in your backyard with PG&E's "I don't wanna offend any enviro-whackos with cutting down trees" bullshit that now happens yearly.

    Eric can imagine what would happen if the Tennessee Valley Authority has serious problems getting enough staff to keep their hydro dams open across the Southeast, because he's right there in Sevier County.

    Another thought: if enviro-whackos are also vegetarians, does that mean quasi-vegetarians can eat them in a Donner Party scenario? :-)

    I'm all for being flexible when it comes to my diet over the next few months.

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  2. Here (upstate NY):

    paper goods are SLOWLY showing back up on the shelves. My work has actually been able to keep both toilet paper and paper towels on the shelves for more than a day at a time for over a week now. The grocery stores are still stripped though. No idea what Walmart or Target looks like.

    Sanitizing sprays, and sanitizing wipes, are still non-existent. My work has gotten in a few cases and they've sold as soon as the doors open.

    Dust masks of any kind are non-existent as well. If you need a mask and can't sew your best bet is a bandana or to cut up a tshirt. Don't worry about looking like a bandit at the store with a bandana on your face, everyone else is already doing it and no one will blink. (the actual thieves who normally try to use different techniques to make themselves look different are delighted by the masking trends, and yes, they're still out there working the stores)

    Produce actually looks pretty good by me, and most of the meat departments are also looking ok, though selections aren't quite back to normal what they have is well stocked. Milk and eggs are back to normal. Dried cereal and granola bars are well stocked. Frozen prepackaged stuff is still sparse. Peanut butter is still hard to find, especially if you're picky.

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  3. Supply chain issues.

    I can't speak for the perishable grocery store supply chain, but at the base level agriculture is suffering. When this first hit I was optimistic, but as its continued that has shattered. If current trends continue there WILL be food shortages by fall. And not just on the grocery store end (which is what we're seeing now). Its only partially a people-staffing issue too.

    On the larger box store side of things, Home Depot, Lowes, and likely to some degree Walmart and Target (the non- perishable grocery store side of things anyway). Shipments to stores from warehouses are planned out over a month in advance. They KNOW how much of X and Y product they're likely to sell in any given week and have planned out shipments to keep things full. Some space is left on the trucks to accommodate additions due to a sudden burst of buying of things, but the base shipment, and most of the truck space, has been planned out for weeks, and that can't really be adjusted in a hurry or the warehouse won't have space for the shipments of new goods that need to come in.

    If the shortages were confined to a single state/region extra emergency shipments can be done to fill in needed products (this is frequently done in the winter to ship in truckloads of snowblowers, ice melt, shovels etc, or in the case of a weather disaster to ship in generators or the like). But since this was/is literally a country wide problem, and the truckers are at high risk for being exposed to this, its not so easy to fix. So, stores like Home Depot are only just this past week or so been able to even TRY to get proper shipments of paper goods and the like out to stores.

    This is also likely part of the problem for the paper goods supplies at the grocery stores. Paper goods are a high bulk product, they take up a TON of space, and so no one stocked exceptionally high numbers of them above and beyond what could be expected to be sold in X span of time, plus a little extra for a cushion. If the problem had been regional it could have been fixed in a week. But country wide is just to big to fix quickly.

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  4. My upbringing was different than most since I was home schooled on a ranch. This has really helped me to feel ahead of this one because I am acutely aware of how the chain works and that the family farm does not exist anymore. Quite simply, one cannot grow food profitably or without giving up all of their time, unless it's done in bulk and because it's done in bulk, it requires massive amounts of labor usually paid under the table with horrendous working conditions. If you drive south you can see the feed lots and the chicken ranches by the side of the freeway. They are a crime against nature and are a big part of why our food now makes us sick. They are also unsustainable in an environment where mass labor will not exist. In 12 months are food production capabilities will be 25% of what it was. Tracy has a population of 80,000 and the food already can't make it further, the United States of Amazon also has a huge warehouse there. People who live in oakland, SF, the peninsula are going to have to get more and more creative to maintain their standards of living and are about to receive a very rude awakening. Many will not have enough grit to make it through this transition. If you haven't seen the biggest littlest farm yet, you should watch it. It provides a blueprint into how the farms of the future will have to adapt in order for all of us to be fed. If I was in charge, I would be taking federal land, dividing it into 5 acre homesteads, investing massively in water and would be giving away homesteads to anyone who is a citizen and wants to move. I think that there will never be a vaccine and that year after year it will repeat like the cold. If I'm right then the high popu!nations will move to small towns a d the small towns will flee to the hills. Locally our popu!action of 5k already wants to setup roadblocks In and out with testing to protect from ST techies. It won't ever happen and it won't stop the spread, but there is a backlash that will result when the city and country folks meet in all of this. DF

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  5. A product for 'man-bros' and 'metro-males'
    No real man would buy that emasculating crap.

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  6. Capital of Texas RefugeeSunday, April 19, 2020 8:38:00 PM

    DF: I don't particularly buy the types of scenarios peddled by such people as James Howard Kunstler and his whole "world made by hand" collapse drama.

    But I could see the rise of a new Civilian Conservation Corps full of both city and country denizens who are getting to learn about the supply side of farm economics up close and personal.

    Waiters and waitresses were already spending a lot of time on their feet, so there's really not much change going on there except for those intense ab workouts ... *shrug*

    DJ Trump may yet get his Enabling Act, and while this might be shades of 1929 and the Dust Bowl years in the making, it's not too far off until it's 1933 all over again.

    After all, he's just shown everyone with that wealth redistribution trick he just pulled that he's still a New York Liberal at heart.

    Nearly everyone's acting like socialists right now anyway.

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  7. "I am also now the somewhat annoyed and irritated owner of roughly eighty more cases of mostly curry-based MREs."

    I am sincerely confused about all the buying of MRE's. Has no one cooked over a campfire? There are about a million things I would buy over MRE's. I'm not going down that way.

    "paper goods are SLOWLY showing back up on the shelves. My work has actually been able to keep both toilet paper and paper towels on the shelves for more than a day at a time for over a week now. The grocery stores are still stripped though. No idea what Walmart or Target looks like."

    Here the only thing that has come back with some reliability is tissues. Every once in a while you can find paper towels. TP they are now selling in individual rolls old timey office style.

    I haven't stepped foot into a Target because they are limiting people inside and there is a line. The only thing I'm willing to wait in line for is Home Depot. They are also limiting people. But I was able to get paint last week. Although that does take a chunk out of your day because it takes a very long time.

    "If I'm right then the high popu!nations will move to small towns a d the small towns will flee to the hills. Locally our popu!action of 5k already wants to setup roadblocks In and out with testing to protect from ST techies. It won't ever happen and it won't stop the spread, but there is a backlash that will result when the city and country folks meet in all of this."

    While I agree the burbs will again be more desirable - what you are missing is that people still need to make money. This is not 1930's world. Your burb has the luxury of limiting people. You live in a wine region. Even so.... how are you guys going to make money now?

    I know about the stock yards in Modesto. They have always been there and they used to be MUCH groser and larger. But in my next of Green Acres we have happy cows roaming the hillsides. Not all of our food comes from those and we have tons of land. We still have tons of beef. The food supply adapts.

    But I do enjoy that people think field work is dehumanizing. Which it sort of is. So.... you are all on board robots then.... right?

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  8. Capital of Texas RefugeeThursday, April 23, 2020 11:09:00 PM

    "I am sincerely confused about all the buying of MRE's."

    These have reasonably long shelf life and they're easy to prepare.

    It's also easier to prepare them off-land, which is one motivation for buying them. These don't have nearly as much shelf life as American MREs, but at up to eighteen months, they're not bad and they cost a hell of a lot less per unit.

    On a cents per hundred calories basis, they are a lot more economical than dealing with American MREs as well.

    There are also plenty of situations where you just want to eat something now because you've been working on stuff pretty hard.

    You can boil these particular MREs in a pot full of ocean water, and so you don't need to draw down on fresh water just to cook them.

    There are several brands, some better than others, but the brand with the longest shelf life is MTR, with typical prices in the US being anywhere from $1.50 to $2.25 per pack, which is also pretty much the pricing in India.

    Try the muttar paneer packs, they're not bad even though I think they need a little more spice once they're done cooking.

    Keep in mind one scenario I've mapped out is the one that puts me, my gear, and a lot of supplies in the van again so I can meet up with Yacht Guy on the Atlantic coast.

    Also, I like curry most of the time.

    After all, I did drive a bit out of the way in bad weather to hit that Indian restaurant over by Mount Rushmore. :-)

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