August 14 Diary: The Shelves are Full Again

The canned soup aisle at Walmart.
The canned soup aisle at our Walmart has been restocked.

I was in Walmart earlier this week and I am happy to report that the vast majority of items that were out of stock are now available again. This includes:

  • Canned soup and most other foods
  • Toilet paper
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Cleansers

There were still some empty spaces in some departments, but for the most part, the entire shelf was not empty.  Also, many of the national brands were back in stock.  I found it surprising that there were still some noticeable outages in sewing notions.  Perhaps these come from China and have been delayed, or maybe they are just in high demand as people are doing more home sewing.

If you got caught short before, this is your chance. Stock up on canned goods, dried beans, crackers, chili, flour, yeast, and all those other staples that sold out in the blink of an eye.

Prepping to Move

We are continuing to prep for our move.  I delivered another truck load of goods to the local ReStore.  I also bought two new steel shelving units for the store room. My wife is concerned that we may not have enough storage space, and I can’t say I blame her.  This will be an additional 32 linear feet of shelving, or 64 square feet, so that will help.  Most importantly, we can stack seven cases of #10 cans on the two units, meaning we can store 21 cases when we stack them three deep. 

I have been working on the garage, packing things like bar and chain oil, spark plugs, gasoline preservative, Coleman fuel (white gas), and the many liquids associated with car maintenance.  These are other things that the moving company will not move.  I have accumulated an impressive amount of stuff over the years.  Much of it is still useful, but we are taking advantage of this transition to get rid of things we no longer need, which is why the repeated trips to places like ReStore and Goodwill to make donations.  We also have a big pile of stuff to take to the dump.

When you have lots of space, you tend to fill it because you can.

Small Businesses are Suffering

Earlier this week, my wife visited a store where she occasionally shops for clothes.  It was her first visit there since February.  She was the only customer.  She heard the owner on the phone with a vendor saying that she just didn’t have the money to pay an outstanding bill.  “More than 25 years in business, and I’ve never seen it so bad,” she said.

My wife bought several things from her sale racks, including a nice pair of shorts for $5.  Unless something changes, it will be tough for this store to keep going through year-end.  And there are countless other specialty stores, gift shops, boutiques, antique stores, and similar small retailers that are in the exact same situation.

Mourning Normal

I have become convinced that we will never see “normal” again.  Here are some personal examples of things I used to do that I probably won’t due again thanks to COVID-19

  • I was once a Gold level frequent flyer on US Air (OK, that was a while ago, before they were acquired).  I think it is safe to say I am unlikely to fly to Europe ever again.  In fact, while I used to fly three or four times a year, I may not board a plane again for years.
  • I used to subscribe to the NFL package on DirecTV to follow my out-of-state team, but I canceled that expensive package because I am unconvinced that this will be a real season.  I am certainly not going to be able to go to any sporting event in person.
  • We have not eaten in a restaurant for five months.  I think it will be at least a year before I dine in at a nice restaurant again, assuming any remain open in a year.
  • There are weeks now when I don’t leave the house.  I expect that there may be months where I don’t leave the house this coming winter. 
  • I don’t recall if we went to the movies at all in 2020.  Maybe once, back in January.  All I can tell you is that my Amazon FireStick is getting a good work out.  I expect it will years before I see another movie in a large multiplex.  Or visit performing arts center.  It may be years before I go to a rock and roll concert, which is what I will miss most. Live entertainment is changing.
  • I was never a fan of the crowds, but my wife liked going to the state or county fair.  They are canceled this year.
  • I used to go to a couple industry trade shows and conferences.  They’ve been canceled or moved online.  That’s another reason I won’t be flying.  No trade shows means no need to visit Las Vegas again.

Yeah, whatever the “new normal” is has yet to be determined, but I think it will be quite different than life as we used to know it.