Thursday, March 26, 2020

Mid-Day Grocery Store Check -- March 26, 2020

Think about this: by government order, all retail stores have been ordered closed except grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, and parks. There's usual a qualifier: "...and anything considered essential." But malls are closed and most non-grocery store retail are closed. Didn't that work out well that the following have huge non-grocery retail "connected to their grocery business:
  • Costco
  • Sam's 
  • Walmart
  • Target
If Sophia needs a new bicycle, I won't be able to go to our local "mom-and-pop" bike dealer. I will have to buy that bike from Walmart. Very, very interesting. I should be able to telephone my local "mom-and-pop" bike dealer and set up an appointment, just the two of us, which is allowed under state mandates (no gatherings greater than ten people).  

Grocery store check: Our neighborhood grocery store is the smallest and most "low end" in the immediate area. There are two grocery stores (including this one) in biking distance -- less than three minutes; another two high-end stores about five minutes away by car; and then several very high-end stores all within 20 minutes driving time.

Our neighborhood grocery store has restricted its hours to opening at 7:00 a.m. and closing at 10:00 p.m. I've been going once or twice daily just to check things out, even if I don't specifically need anything. Today the weather was so nice, I biked over for a mid-day check which I generally never do.

Wow, wow, wow. The store looked incredibly well-stocked. Yes, they were still out of cleaning supplies but everywhere else one could tell they had a shipment come in last night. Surprise, surprise. The last item -- actually the last two items -- I had not been able to find were in very limited stock: rice, both medium grain and long grain; and, Bush's beans, Sophia's favorite. The rice was still limited to one package only, but no restriction on the beans.

If this is their only shipment this week, it's bad, bad news, but it sure looks like things are turning around. There are a number of reasons for this which should be obvious so I will move on.

Getting back to normal: A reader sent me a link to an article reporting that Ford will re-open its plant in Louisville, KY.

I replied:
My hunch is that regardless of what Trump/CDC say at the national level, state governors will sort it out at the state level after early-, mid-April, and they might even break it down by community.

I do think there are ways to gradually get back to normal. For example, retail. All the malls are closed. That's where they sell diamond rings, jewelry, etc. If I want a diamond ring, I should be able to call for an appointment: then the proprietor and I are only two individuals.

If my car needs servicing, I call the Firestone dealer and arrange a time. There are a lot of ways to transition back to normalcy.
Faster testing and targeted quarantines should give governors and mayors more leeway.

Free delivery: Amazon changed the way American business "did" online by offering free delivery. Initially, free delivery required a minimum amount (generally $25, and 48-hour delivery).
With Prime, no minimum and next-day delivery. Now, with businesses shut down, we are seeing other changes. Most noticeable, Denny's is now waiving delivery fees. When things are back to normal, perhaps they will institute delivery fees, but once something is free, it's hard to start charging for it. Might they simply raise prices slightly and continue "free" delivery with minimum purchase? 

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