After my post on May 24 about the lack of inventory at Sam’s Club, I decided to take a look first-hand, so off I went to the city. While I was there, I got the oil changed in my wife’s car and did some other shopping. I also bought the first ammo I have purchased since last fall. The store had a limit of five boxes, so I bought three boxes of subsonic .300 blackout and two boxes of .22LR Mini-Mags which shoot well in all our .22s. This was the first time I had seen subsonic .300 blackout in stock in a physical store for more than two years.
Here’s my report on Sam’s Club.
Inventory Levels are Mixed
After not seeing any standard facial tissue from either Kleenex or Member’s Mark on my last in-person visit, I was determined to buy some this time. I was pleased to find both brands were in stock. In fact, my store had a large amount of paper products on hand, especially in their in-house Member’s Mark brand. For several aisles, the tops of the pallet racks were stacked with Member’s Mark paper towels. They actually shrink-wrapped two pallets together, so they stack one on top of the other to gain extra storage space.
We didn’t need toilet paper, but I picked up a box of 36 rolls of Scott tissue in any case. These may be thin, but they do the least damage to your septic system.
In perusing the food aisles, I found my local store appeared to have more in stock than my prior visit in late March. For example, many of the Member’s Mark nuts were back in stock, including several kinds of cashews. They had at least four kinds of crackers, instead of just one.
The shortage of pasta and Ramen continues, but they had restocked rice. The only inexpensive pasta left was macaroni. The pallet had less than 24 boxes, many of which were damaged.
There was also no Jif or Skippy peanut butter, but they had plenty of Members Mark peanut butter, which we have not yet tried. I am going to chalk this up in part to the recent recall of certain lots of Jif.
Good Meat Selection
I bought more than five pounds each of boneless, skinless chicken breasts and chicken thighs for $2.98 each. I thought it was strange that thighs cost as much as breasts. The drumsticks were the same price. After declining to pay $15 per pound for Lamb Chops. I bought three very large Ribeye steaks. They had dropped from $13 or more per pound to $10.98, and then the entire package was $5 off.
The thick cut bacon I like was still more than $27 for a four-pound package, but this time they marked the package down $5. Still expensive, but it is an improvement. (I have cut back on how many slices I eat at a time to save money.)
There were multiple bright yellow sale signs in the store, and I wonder if people refused to pay $6.84 per pound of back of $13.98 for a pound of steak leading Sam’s had to put them on sale to move the inventory.
Based on this trip to Sam’s Club, I think it is safe to say the food shortage is not here, but supply chain issues remain. We may see intermittent availability of some items as products sell out and do not get replenished for weeks or months. This may vary by supplier, brand, or store location. For example, there were cases of Campbell’s red-label soups in stock, but the Marie Calendar brand was almost sold out.
The ability to get whatever we want whenever we want it may well be a thing of the past as stores and manufacturers struggle to keep product in stock consistently. If you need a specific product, you have may have to shop around or order it online and pay more.
Overall, my trip showed that preppers who still need to buy more food still have the opportunity to do so. There were piles of canned meats, canned vegetables, and plenty of baking staples. You can still buy flour, rice, beans and Spam.
Topping off my Preps
Many of the things I bought on this trip were fresh foods to replenish our freezer. Things like cheese, Sam’s Club bagels, and the meats I mentioned above. I bought six jars of Ragu spaghetti sauce, avocado oil, and a six-pack of corned beef hash. The Ragu was in large jars and I expect it would be sufficient sauce for at least 12 pounds of pasta. That is lots of meals for just the two of us.
Because we have somewhere between 60 and 80 cans each of Spam, canned chicken, and corned beef hash, I have decided not to buy any more until we consume enough that drop back to less than 50 of each. With our normal consumption patterns, I would say I won’t be buying any more canned chicken for a year and it will probably be two years for the hash and Spam. Canned turkey, roast beef, and pork remain on my “OK to buy” list.
Having done a great deal to ramp up my food preps over the past two years, I am saying “enough is enough” and putting an end to my monthly top-offs at Walmart and Sam’s. I may still stock some extra dog food and chicken feed, but I am going to try limit myself to restocking things we consume unless I stumble upon a great sale or it looks like the you-know-what is just days away from hitting the fan.
A New Route
I consider prepping a journey. You ever reach the end, but sometimes your route changes. That’s what’s happening to me. I’m going to focus my efforts less on putting more food in my prepper pantry and more on what we can produce ourselves. That may mean more bees, chickens and gardening and fewer trips to Sam’s Club, but it won’t mean less prepping.