Yesterday, we drove 90 minutes to a large city to have lunch with friends. Not wanting to waste a trip to the city, we went to Sam’s Club afterwards. It was the first time I had been since December. Note that this is not the Sam’s Club where we normally shop. In fact, it’s in a different state. Here are a few things I observed that might interest preppers:
There was almost no rice in stock. There was no Jasmine rice to be seen. The basmati rice had apparently sold out that day, as you can see in the photo above. Only 50-pound bags of long-grain rice were still available. There were just a few 12-pound bags of pinto beans on the nearby shelf. So while it remains possible to go to this Sam’s Club and stock up on rice and beans, I don’t have confidence that this will be the case next weekend unless they get resupplied.
The pasta aisle was also very empty. Three months ago, I could buy six pounds of pasta for less than five dollars at Sam’s. Not anymore. They still had macaroni and cheese boxes and a broad selection of ramen, but only one variety of pasta. Adding insult to injury, and the price was higher than I wanted to pay.
I have to wonder, where has all the rice and pasta gone? Are mom and Pop Chinese food places buying up the rice because their suppliers are out of stock or more expensive? Is the rice sitting on container ships waiting to be unloaded? Are all the new preppers stocking up on noodles? Are people hearing about a grain shortage because of the war in Ukraine, so they ran out and bought rice and pasta? This low inventory of prepper staples is of concern. I consider it a warning sign. We may soon reach the point where it is too late to prepare effectively due to a lack of available food.
Supply Chain Issues
My guess is the reason these items are out of stock is supply chain issues. When your grocery store or Walmart has no pasta, there’s a large empty spot in the aisle. Sam’s Club and Costco are used to getting in new items and discontinuing older ones. It is easier for them to hide out of stock items without leaving a big hole in the aisle. They just bring down a couple of extra pallets of paper towels, sodas or crackers to fill the space and casual shoppers are none the wiser.
Those of who pay attention, however, see the shortages. We know that it bodes ill for the future. Supply chain issues and inflation will combine to make food harder to find and more expensive when we do find it.
I am grateful to be fully prepped. Yes, I top things off and I rotate and replace what we eat, but I am not at that place where I am spending hundreds or thousands building my food storage. Instead, I am at that place where I buy 10 or 20 things a month, more if I come across a good sale.
Yes, prices were higher on many items, especially meat. Four pounds of thick-cut bacon was $22.97. I remember when it was about $12. That means it jumped from $3 per pound to $5.75, or 92 percent.
They still had chicken thighs and drum sticks with bone and skin for 99 cents per pound, which was nice to see. They did not have skinless/boneless chicken wings and there were limited breasts, although there were 10-pound bags of chicken breasts in the freezer section.
We bought two 6-packs of canned black beans for 5.98 each. That’s an 11 percent increase over what we have paid per can before. Just like we will be baking our own bread to save money, I think we may start pressure canning dry beans.
The Member’s Mark Pancake mix is still an excellent buy at $6.14 for 10 pounds, but that’s up from $5.48. And yes, the canned chicken was $15.48, up from 9.98 a year ago. This is the first time in memory I went to Sam’s and did not buy canned chicken or Spam.
Gasoline Prices Soar
While we were out, we noticed that gas price has jumped 20 cents per gallon since Russia invaded Ukraine. Interestingly, the price had not yet risen when we got back to our small town. Even more interesting, the price differential between unleaded and premium was higher than I had ever seen it.
I’ve got some projects here at home, so I’m going to be staying in for the next week or 10 days. That should save some gas and some money.