I went to Costco like I usually do, about once a week. This was back a couple of weeks ago. Costco is one of those giant warehouse stores where you can buy items in bulk quantities. All looked pretty normal at first glance.
I was looking eye level and below — things appeared to be fully stocked. From a distance, however, it was a different story, as you can see here. The second and third level shelving, usually full, was sparse indeed. With renewed scrutiny, I also discovered that the floor was full of repeated items that would normally be contained on a single pallet. It was obvious that any holes in inventory were being filled with other goods.
Costco wasn’t the only place with lower than normal inventory. The HEB supermarket, which I talked about a couple of days ago, as well as the Trader Joe’s, were equally picked over. It was mid-March 2020, and suburban prepping was in full force. It was a fascinating observation of herd instinct. Luckily, the outage didn’t last long, and supplies were restocked on subsequent days.
While the news of the coronavirus is frightening worldwide, the local Austin ramp of cases is gradual. Hopefully, the slow case ramp is something people will get used to — a new normal that won’t cause truly panicked buying. Of course, the virus tends to move exponentially, so this may just be the calm before the storm.
I’m returning to my regularly scheduled programming after today’s post — the less serious stuff and fun with photographic gear. I know we can all use a diversion and a sense of normality.
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