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January 17, 2021

First World Problem – Random Covid-Era Shortages Of Favorite Grocery Items
[Buck Throckmorton]

The crisis is over – for the first time in almost two months I had Grape Nuts for breakfast today. Meanwhile, my stock of Hormel Bacon Bits continues to shrink, with none on any store shelves. The composition of my nightly salad could be facing a shakeup if Bacon Bits don’t return to the shelves soon.

Almost a year after our economy was turned upside down by economic illiterates, seemingly random grocery items still disappear from store shelves for extended periods. And then human nature kicks in – people stock up on products they use but which have gone scarce. When paper towels and toilet paper became scarce, I aggressively increased my household inventory of those products lest they become unavailable again. Which, of course, compounded the scarcity problem.

I recently asked a stocker at a grocery store why Grape Nuts are so hard to come by. She said that shipments have become infrequent, and when some finally shows up, people quickly buy it in bulk. Who knows - perhaps Grape Nuts will become a post-apocalyptic currency. I finally saw two boxes on the shelf this week. With great restraint I only bought one.

I know that as some of you read this, your main take-away will be “Buck eats Grape Nuts? WTH?” Well for starters, they’re wife-proof. Mrs. Throckmorton might go after my Raisin Bran in a midnight raid on the pantry, but she has no patience or interest while half-asleep in trying to make Grape-Nuts edible. In addition, I’ve liked the product since I was a child.

Unlike Ace’s childhood trauma with Kaboom cereal, I wasn’t denied premium-priced cereal as a kid. We had the good stuff. The only trouble was that it was the “good stuff” for adults. Grape Nuts, Shredded Wheat, Special K. The definition of “children’s cereal” in our house was “adult cereal with lots of sugar added.” And even the sugar was often in adult form – sugar cubes - which were on hand just in case guests wanted to sweeten their coffee. I recall adding crusty old sugar cubes to my Shredded Wheat or Grape Nuts. And I liked it. To this day, I’ll argue that a milky, half-melted sugar cube is preferable to a marshmallow in cereal.

By the way, whatever happened to sugar cubes? I better stock up on them too if I see some.

What random product shortages (outside of paper & cleaning) are you dealing with?

Thanks for letting me fill in this afternoon, but now I need to run to the store. Snow may be coming this way, so I need to run out and buy a couple gallons of milk and a dozen loaves of bread. Just to be safe.

(buck.throckmorton at gmail.com)


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