Grocery store shortages spread as covid, snow, trucking issues block deliveries

The pandemic driven shortages of 2020 are back, and this time it's not just toilet paper. At many grocery stores, you can get toilet paper but many juices are out of stock. Dairy cases which normally have seemingly endless supplies are now entirely empty in many places. Those who eat meat and eggs are seeing half-empty shelves as of Jan 11. Until deliveries get going again, this will spread to more stores and more products

Those who can prepare and eat a wide variety of foods are so far not dealing with an overall shortage of food, but rather with shortages of specific items. These are not just spot shortages because the same item will usually be out of stock in most stores, rather than say, no beans in one store and no corn in another store from a different chain. Those who are dependent on any item that has disappeared are as of now in potential trouble.

As spot shortages appear in many parts of the continent, fascists and notably Jack Posobiec have been exploiting the situation, attempting to blame Biden (promoting a #bareshelvesbiden hashtag) for something the White House has little control over. The President of the US has no authority over weather that shuts down I-95 and halts trucking for days on end. The famous runs on toilet paper in 2020 were under Trump, but he too was not responsibe for that one. The actual cause was that with nobody working in offices, there was no market for office toilet paper while residential toilet paper use soared. Office and residential TP are made in different factories to different standards, and nobody tried to put the office toilet paper on grocer's shelves when no other could be found.

Now we have a different set of problems. Last week's snowstorm blocked some grocery store deliveries. Meanwhile, so many grocery store and warehouse workers have been forced to call out sick that there is not enough staff left to handle the workload, which includes restocking shelves. Finally, truck drivers are quitting in droves due to the stubborn and outrageous refusal of employers to pay them for waiting time. On top of that, the continuing drug testing for cannabis for CDL (commerical driver license) holders is deterring new entrants to truck driving now that marijuana is legal in many places. There has been estimated to be a US-wide shortage of 70,000 truck drivers.

As a result, as truck drivers retire or quit in disgust about working for peanuts, the rest of the continent could end up losing a truckload of weight. Where there are no truck drivers, food rots in warehouses while grocer's shelves are stripped as bare as a field in ancient Egypt plundered by locusts. There are only a few things you can put in your mouth that have never ridden in a truck, unless of course you have your own farm or garden. None of these will produce a harvest in a mid-Atlantic January, nor can you plant today and eat the results tomorrow. Snowcones anyone?

Even if managers take to the road to drive the trucks (do 70,000 trucking company managers and bosses even exist?) the next problem is that covid is again spreading in food processing plants. The bosses can and do ignore all safety precautions but covid hits many people so hard they can't go back to work in 5 days no matter what the bosses and the CDC say. Meatpacking and egg plants, already known for biosafety issues, have again been hit especially hard as they were in early 2020. In the end, this could be the first rumblings of a long-forecasted breakdown of modern industrialized food production. Plague has come in ahead of climate change, but as we see in the DC area weather too is already emptying grocery shelves.

Right now it is possible in some stores to buy several months worth of toilet paper, only to find you can't use it because you don't shit as much when there's nothing to eat. Many food products (even many produce items) simply do not keep the way the endless hoards of toilet paper the few rounded up in March 2020 did. You cannot eat a toilet paper and "peanut butter" sandwitch!

Empty shelves in an area grocery store

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