Coronavirus Fears and Empty Supermarkets

This is the place for general and miscellaneous posts on topics which might extend past the boundaries of any specific region. No non-grocery posts.
Ohio Man
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Re: Coronavirus Fears and Empty Supermarkets

Post by Ohio Man » March 25th, 2020, 3:27 pm

[/quote]

Smiths still has a small ad that has obviously been abbreviated but looking at the ad they will probably have most/all of the stuff in the ad in stock, and Safeway NorCal has a usual large ad with probably numerous items they will not have in stock at least not early in the sale. Smiths ad has a photo of Kroger CEO in a Kroger Uniform.
[/quote]Ralphs has a smaller ad but Food 4 Less does not have any ad. Same picture of the Kroger CEO which will mean nothing to any Ralphs customer.
[/quote]




True, unlike the adepts on this board, most Ralphs shoppers know little and care less about who owns Ralphs.

There's a similar situation in Cincinnati, though not with Kroger, which operates stores in its own name in its home territory.
Local/regional chain Remke Markets, after over 100 years of local ownership,, sold out to Fresh Encounter about three years ago. Fresh Encounter operates a number of stores under names such as Needlers, Great Scot, Chief and others. This company is based in Findlay, Ohio, not far from where I want to school, so I was familiar with some of their stores, which didn't impress me. In any event, the CEO for Fresh Encounter (named Needler and wearing a Needlers shirt), posted the same video re: COVID-19 on the various social media sites for all of their stores. Most Remke shoppers would have no idea who he was.

steps
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Re: Coronavirus Fears and Empty Supermarkets

Post by steps » March 25th, 2020, 8:25 pm

I went to the VONS in Torrance last weekend (the former Pavilions Place) and they had the tape to mark everyone at 6ft away out side and at the registers. There was an employee at the door letting X number of people in as others exited at the other door.

The mood was quite somber in the store and very quiet. I went to the service deli as they were bringing out fresh baked and fried chicken for the hot case. The service salads were literally untouched and looked fresh. Not sure if they ran out previously but I was doubtful.

The employee that helped me washed her hands thoroughly but did NOT use gloves when helping me. I thought it was strange but she did wash her hands and assumed maybe gloves where not to be used (though I did see a box of the normal gloves behind her, however).

There was no paper product, no sanitizer /cleaning products, no eggs, very limited amount of meat, very limited amount of butter and bread but, a good amount of milk.

I went to the Ralphs near USC and the store was nearly fully stocked. Self serve meat as full as were eggs. Paper product was limited/sold out but much more than I've seen at any store recently.

It seemed like business as usual....They did have the 6ft apart tape at checkout but when I checked out, there were no lines. There did not seem to be a certain amount of people in the store at once but, as I was leaving, the store was getting very busy.

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Re: Coronavirus Fears and Empty Supermarkets

Post by cjd » March 25th, 2020, 8:47 pm

As long as there was no bare hand contact with the food, it probably wasn't an issue. I think in a lot of cases gloves are just a presentation thing to make things look sanitary to the customer, and actually don't get changed nearly enough. (And some people get the mis-idea that wearing gloves replace washing hands, which they don't. And also people who think of gloves are more to keep their hands clean, so touch things they shouldn't such as money or their nose and then don't change the gloves after.)

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Re: Coronavirus Fears and Empty Supermarkets

Post by arizonaguy » March 25th, 2020, 9:31 pm

Sam's Club seems to be doing very poorly with in stock items. I visited the one near my house and while the store seemed to be full of fresh items (such as bakery goods, rotisserie chickens, pre-made meals, fruit, vegetables) as well as bottled water and milk other items were out of stock including eggs, yogurt, many freezer items, paper products, rice, beans, etc.

Target also seems to be doing fairly poorly. Massive swaths of both dry, refrigerated, and frozen food are out of stock and many aisles are almost bare.

As far as traditional grocers in the area, Fry's tends to have most items in stock (except for paper products) and Safeway also seems to do well (although at both Fry's and Safeway there are limits on the number of items. Smart and Final was pretty painfully empty when I last visited.

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Re: Coronavirus Fears and Empty Supermarkets

Post by CalItalian » March 25th, 2020, 10:17 pm

Bagels wrote:
March 25th, 2020, 12:48 pm
We got abbreviated ads for Stater Bros. and Wholesome Choice Market. We didn't receive ads from Albertsons/Vons, Pavilions (yes, we get them both now), Ralphs or Smart & Final; 99 Ranch and Grocery Outlet as well, but it's random when we do get them (and I never pay attention to them anyway).

Kroger typically runs the same sales for two to three weeks, only a handful of items change weekly. Just a guess on my end that soda will be on sale this week:

Image

And that's the dairy department. Plenty more is scattered throughout the store. But hey, at least Coke and Pepsi and making sure that water-based beverages are plentiful!
I got the Vons/Albertsons and Pavilions ads in my snail mail on Tuesday. I requested to have the Pavilions ad specifically mailed to me when I moved from West L.A. to Riverside County last summer and I still received this week. I didn't get a Ralphs ad - first time ever since I moved - but it is up online. Smart & Final doesn't have an ad this week. Didn't get anything from Grocery Outlet or Aldi, either, but Aldi has one online and they had it in-store today, too.

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Re: Coronavirus Fears and Empty Supermarkets

Post by CalItalian » March 25th, 2020, 10:56 pm

I was in Aldi in Menifee (Riverside County), California about 5:30 PM tonight. This store has almost completely recovered. Store hours have been restored, too, back to 9 AM to 9 PM. What really got me is how few customers were in the store. I walked right up to the cashier (only one open) after grabbing a few items. Staff was busy stocking. Aldi has, unfortunately in my view, used the coronavirus to raise staples prices. Large eggs, which were regular priced for many weeks $1.19/dozen, are now $1.59. 2% milk gallon which was fluctuating between $2.38 & $2.47 is now $2.73. Butter 1 lb. went up from $2.47 to $2.95. Sour cream 16 oz. was still $1.25 and 13 oz. whipped cream can $2.89. They did have a big display right as you entered the store with a managers special - hot dog/hamburger buns for .45 cents and 1 lb. loaf of bread for .95 (and fully stocked).

I also went to Winco in Perris (Riverside County) about 6 PM. I won't be back during the virus. In the parking lot, they have a wide area - 3 parking lanes - in front of the entrance where cars would normally travel coned off & some Winco employees watching everyone going in or out of the store. In the store, most items were limit 2 (all canned and packaged goods) or 1 per person (such as bleach or sanitizing products). They were out of almost every cleaning product (I came to keep up my stock of bleach which they were totally out of). Frozen hardly any. No pasta products whatsoever, to list some. There were a few people restocking. What really got me was no in-store muzak but every once in a while a store employee would get on the store sound system and tell everyone to stay 6 feet apart. They also closed off the main aisle leading into the checkout area, actually blocked it with both a gate and tables stacked with bakery goods. Seemed like a fire code violation to me. If you wanted to go to self-checkout, you had to go down one aisle to the far right side of the store and double back down an adjacent aisle (other aisles were also being block off) and you couldn't get to the regular checkstands (as they had them blocked off from self-checkout). If you wanted to go to the regular checkstands, you had to go to the far left of the store and around. I found all of this to be ridiculous. The Winco in Henderson, Nevada I was at one week ago did nothing like this. While I was at Perris Winco the crowd in the store was the smallest I have ever seen in a Winco but I may be seeing a pattern that people just aren't shopping late afternoon/early evening so much anymore.

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Re: Coronavirus Fears and Empty Supermarkets

Post by storewanderer » March 25th, 2020, 11:22 pm

Wow- that Perris WinCo sounds like literal hell. But I've never heard music in a WinCo before...

Nothing like this at the Reno WinCo as of Saturday night when I last went in there. What were the employees in the parking lot watching for? People running out with carts un-paid for? With the bag ban, who even knows if they paid for it or not or just didn't pay the bag fee.

I am noticing price increases across the board on staple food items all over the place. Enjoy couponing and ad shopping now because I am expecting a dry spell immediately. Then I am expecting a glut of deals due to the hording of certain items which will make sales on those items plummet over the coming months. I guess you are already having a dry spell in SoCal with not all stores running ads. Up here in Reno, everyone still has an ad, and in most cases these ads are pretty good still. Raleys has no $5 Monday this week and Smiths ad is a lot smaller than usual, though.

What you describe of WinCo checkout, is what the Wal Mart near me did on Black Friday with caution tape and clothing racks, in an effort to get people to "form one line around the store." It is absolutely a fire hazard. The irony is traffic was very light and no line around the store ever formed, it was just confusing and a mess of traffic.

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Re: Coronavirus Fears and Empty Supermarkets

Post by babs » March 25th, 2020, 11:30 pm

CalItalian wrote:
March 25th, 2020, 10:56 pm
Aldi has, unfortunately in my view, used the coronavirus to raise staples prices. Large eggs, which were regular priced for many weeks $1.19/dozen, are now $1.59.
There is an egg shortage driving up prices: https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/25/business ... index.html

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Re: Coronavirus Fears and Empty Supermarkets

Post by storewanderer » March 25th, 2020, 11:39 pm

babs wrote:
March 25th, 2020, 11:30 pm
CalItalian wrote:
March 25th, 2020, 10:56 pm
Aldi has, unfortunately in my view, used the coronavirus to raise staples prices. Large eggs, which were regular priced for many weeks $1.19/dozen, are now $1.59.
There is an egg shortage driving up prices: https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/25/business ... index.html
What about the pasta shortage, rice shortage, toilet paper shortage, hand sanitizer shortage, rubbing alcohol shortage, bleach wipe shortage, ...

I noticed in Reno WinCo and Wal Mart both had dozen eggs .90 in South Reno for a long time (WinCo had a limit on it of 2- no limit at Wal Mart) and the price is now up to 1.53. Still a pretty good deal in my opinion. Target nearby had also been .99 so I wonder if they went up too. Safeway is still 1.39 for dozen eggs in Reno (probably 2.99 in CA) matching Smiths price from months ago which has since increased to 1.59 or 1.79.

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Re: Coronavirus Fears and Empty Supermarkets

Post by Bagels » March 25th, 2020, 11:59 pm

babs wrote:
March 25th, 2020, 11:30 pm
CalItalian wrote:
March 25th, 2020, 10:56 pm
Aldi has, unfortunately in my view, used the coronavirus to raise staples prices. Large eggs, which were regular priced for many weeks $1.19/dozen, are now $1.59.
There is an egg shortage driving up prices: https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/25/business ... index.html
$1.59 is well below cost. Wholesale prices of large eggs jumped 79c week over week in Southern California. Even before the hysteria, retailers were paying over $1.59 wholesale. California (and Southern California in particular) pays the highest wholesale prices for eggs, given that voters approved a humane, cage free law that increased supply cost. It applies to chickens for consumption soon, so goodbye 99c/lb. chicken breast meat, and hello $5/lb. But anyway, I'm surprised Aldi is still offering such a huge loss leader. Walmart (Irvine) hiked its price (large dozen) up to $2.29, and Albertsons wants a ridiculous $4.49. But... people are buying them as fast as they're stocking them.

https://www.ams.usda.gov/mnreports/pybshellegg.pdf

I stopped by the Albertsons in LF tonight, just out of curiosity. They had signs posted on the entrance and near each impacted item indicating that 'we plan our ads weeks in advance ... we did our best to pull them but some customers still received one ... please note that due to supply issues, we were unable to secure savings on the following items.' It was just the meat and butter, for the most part. There were other small changes, like the pasta limit was lowered from 6 to 2. (Interesting word choice blaming suppliers, given the butter on sale is Albertsons-produced Lucerne). The LF location had quite a bit of pasta available as well, but it was going fast, and neither location I was in today advertised the J4U pricing.

About a year ago, Albertsons ran an ad that included a half-dozen free items available to everybody using J4U. Of course, these stores saw so little foot traffic that even on the last day of the sale, plenty of stock remained. Man, I miss those times, although this ensures the chain will stick around much longer. On the note of J4U, we have two accounts. I've noticed that if you 'clip' an offer on both accounts, redeem it on one, and try to redeem it on the other using the same credit card, the savings definitely do not come off. This started happening a couple months ago, so they're getting smarter.

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