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Panic Shortage Vs. Actual Shortage – Operation Lockdown

Italian wanted to make pizza few days ago. I was instructed to pick up the ingredients (vegetables, cheese, pepperoni) on my excursion to the store. “Oh, and yeast packets!”, he messaged me after I already left. “The ones we have are expired, so I threw them out.”

As I go through our new “line up in front of the store, enter one by one, wash my hands, follow the green arrows on the floor, get what you need if the store has it, look down, don’t smile because smiling can transmit the virus” grocery shopping experience…. no yeast. No flour. No yeast. My entire town is finally learning the ancient art of making bread, and we are all doing that at the same time – in between episodes of Tiger King.

Yeah, we dug out those packets out of the garbage can. Yeah, they worked. (Five minute rule?)

Few weeks ago, when the crazy-ass news just started hitting us here in Canada, and the first toilet paper memes started circulating on the internetz, I did a little test walk-through. I dropped by my local grocery store, and my local bulk store to see what exactly was sold out.

My findings were both depressing AND encouraging.

Depressing, because this was the first time in my 20+ years in this country that I have seen empty shelves in a store. Because the non-perishable staples like sugar, flour, beans were gone. Because there was a gaping black hole where certain cleaning products, and yes, toilet paper, used to be.

But, also encouraging. Encouraging, because, while there was no white sugar anywhere, you could find plenty of brown sugar, yellow sugar, organic cane sugar, agave syrup, honey, and maple syrup on the neighboring shelves. No all-purpose flour, but plenty of whole wheat flour, pastry flour and buckwheat flour. No black beans, but lots of lima beans. No antibacterial soap, there was plenty of … soap. Because there was no shortage of tampons, and, for anyone who’s ever been caught without toilet paper AND tampons, you know which one is harder to replace.

Encouraging, because all of this is pointing to panic shortage, not actual shortage. Not yet. I keep reminding myself that panic buying is how some folks express fear. Heck, I’m scared too.

And yeah, actually running out of toilet paper is pretty inconvenient right now. Although if that happens to my household, I trust in our creativity and resilience. We will brainstorm. We will problem solve. We will buy tissues instead. We will use baby wipes. We will use – gasp! – soap and water. We WILL pull through.

Hugs, SOLO


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