Americans are spoiled. Almost nowhere else in the world can someone go nearly an entire lifetime without seeing empty grocery store shelves first-hand.
Sure, we’ve seen them on TV plenty of times. Especially in areas where a hurricane is approaching. Or a major tornado just hit.
And those of us who have experienced extreme weather events have seen empty shelves in our local stores.
But for the most part, grocery stores have been pretty well stocked for a vast majority of our lives. Until 2020, that is.
Phasing Out or Ramping Up?
Today I want to talk about specific items that sold out quickly last year due to the pandemic. Or were in very limited supply. Because we’re fooling ourselves if we think it was a once-in-a-lifetime event.
Yes, the number of new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. has been dropping recently. Hopefully that will continue.
But some medical experts say it could come back again with a vengeance this fall. Especially if we let our guard down.
And even if this pandemic dies out this year, who’s to say another one won’t come along? And perhaps do even worse damage. Obviously, preparedness is the key. More on that in a moment.
Toilet Paper Got Wiped Out
Very early in the pandemic, a woman in a grocery store was standing in front of me in the cashier line. Her cart was overflowing with large quantities of toilet paper.
I thought, “Wow, either she has a really big family or she knows something I don’t know.”
Well, it wasn’t long until there were signs in the toilet paper aisle. They read, “One per customer.” Shortly after that, the shelves underneath that same sign were bare.
Toilet paper was one of the first casualties of the pandemic. Folks who normally shopped once a week were going to the store several times per week to see if they could get some. Others were trying to purchase it online.
Paper Towels Rolled Away
Another paper product that disappeared quickly from a variety of stores was paper towels.
One of the reasons for this was a recommendation from the CDC. They suggested people use paper towels for hand drying. Rather than cloth towels. And they recommended paper towels for cleaning and disinfecting homes.
Napkins and tissues were also in high demand. When people couldn’t find paper towels, napkins were the next best choice.
Tissues were scooped up as well. Especially by those who wanted to be prepared in case they or a family member got sick.
Disinfectants, Sanitizers, Soap Cleaned Out
Other items that flew off the shelves included disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer. As well as disinfectant sprays.
Back when the CDC was trying to figure out how the virus spread, they recommended wiping down everything we brought into our houses.
Including each item we brought home from the store. Plus boxes delivered to our front porches, and their contents.
We were also told that hand sanitizers must contain at least 60 percent alcohol to be effective. And it was challenging to find them anywhere for a while. Even some hand soaps were scarce.
On the medical side of things, everybody wanted to be as prepared as possible to deal with coronavirus symptoms.
So we saw serious runs on a variety of pain relievers. Such as Tylenol, Motrin, Advil and Aleve. As well as on cold and flu medicines.
Thermometers quickly became another popular item. Fevers are associated with the virus, so folks wanted to keep tabs on their temperatures.
Same with nausea. That meant the devouring of products dealing with upset stomachs. Including Pepto Bismol.
From the Home Office to the Home Gym
Once the pandemic really started to kick into gear, it was obvious many companies were going to have to rethink the way they were doing business.
Where possible, many people started working from home. Most of them had never done so. As a result, people started buying more computers, monitors and printers.
Desks and office chairs were also in demand. As were webcams and file cabinets. Interestingly, loungewear sold out while folks’ work clothes collected dust in their closets.
Gyms began shutting down, so home fitness equipment took off. Such as dumbbells, resistance bands, kettlebells and yoga mats.
Entertainment to Dye For
All this meant people were going to spend a lot less time commuting to and from the office, the gym, restaurants, etc.
To fill some of that newfound time, many people took up new hobbies or returned to old ones. Including sewing, which caused a run on sewing machines.
Many filled leisure time with board games and jigsaw puzzles that gained new popularity. As well as video games.
Another item that flew off shelves, especially after many salons closed, was hair dye. Some wanted to preserve their chosen hair color. Others were just bored.
Memorial Day Event You Have to See to Believe
I purposely saved food for last. I didn’t want to short-change the single most important item to have in a crisis. Not surprisingly, it’s one of the first things to sell out.
We all saw food shortages in 2020. And again this year. The problem wasn’t so much the production of food as it was with the supply chain. When workers got sick, the process slowed down. Many stores wound up limiting customers to one meat item per visit.
It could happen again. But you won’t have to worry if you have the 4Patriots 3-Month Survival Food Kit. It’s our #1 most-requested Kit and it’s finally BACK IN STOCK. Better yet, it features new recipes, more food and more calories.
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