Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Local Color

1) Two people in this county were confirmed positive for Kung Flu today. Didn’t hear if they were the ones who came in our doors last week, or from somewhere else. Can’t decide which answer would be worse.

2) Did a tour of the local boutiques.

WallyWorld Megastore:

Bottled water: completely effing stripped to the bare floor.
Hand sanitizer: All gone. Dust bunnies on the empty shelves.
Masks: You missed that boat 2 weeks ago, and they’re never coming back.
MH freeze-drieds in the sporting goods aisle: bare wall.
Antiseptic wipes: Gone.
Nitrile gloves: a couple of boxes left.
Canned tuna: maybe 10 cans left, total.
Dinty Moore beef stew: ditto.
TP: Took a serious ass-raping, but some left. Bigger packs gone, smaller quantities still available.
Bleach: hammered, but a few bottles still available.
Isopropyl alcohol and Hydrogen peroxide: single digits of each left.
Curiously, the beer aisle and the ammo cabinets were still full; priorities, I guess. Also, even though the water was gone, there were tons of powdered Gatorade, lemonade, Kool-Aid, etc. For those who haven’t done it, drinking plain water day after day after day gets damned old, fast.

Hand sanitizer was totally gone from Target, Home Depot, Office Depot, and three large-chain drug stores. If Purrell was dynamite, you couldn’t find enough in the entire county to blow your nose. And as noted previously, masks of any variety are unobtanium.

HD had huge displays of disinfecting wipes, gloves, and bleach by the entrance.

Office Depot had a pallet of bottled water just sitting there. Costco and Target had none.

Batteries of all sizes plentiful most places. Ditto 1# propane cans.

Nobody appeared to be panic-buying at Costco, and things were average busy at dinnertime.

And from morning to evening, not a single clerk at any store had any idea that Italy has basically tapped out of Europe today. I had a hospital in-service during the day, and when I told the ER docs on duty, they about freaked out at the news, knowing that the shitball is just gaining momentum.

Anybody still betting on this being a nothingburger?
Just curious.


Anonymous said...

Had a paramedic tell me last night that the flu was more deadly than the Wuflu. I am giving up on people. They see but for the most part do not comprehend even though they have training and education. The Surgeon General, the CDC, my state DOH, all are playing this like Floyd from Mayberry.

Aesop said...

I would have said Goober.

Or maybe Eb from Hooterville.

Anonymous said...

I did Costco in SW Oregon late last week. Panic hadn't set in at that time.

Tuesday, in South Central Oregon, signs of stress. Minor outages at the obvious places to get stuff, but the restaurant supply place (open to the public, because Gov Kate F'n Brown hasn't been able to get a sales tax passed) had ordinary buyers stocking up. We topped off our staples, and I noticed that the 50 pound sack of pinto beans went up $4 from last week.

OTOH, they had a large quantity of disinfecting bleach in stock. Worth noting that new residents and Californians don't always realize it is open to the public. I saw one restauranteer restocking; looked like his normal load. At least for this week.

Unknownsailor said...

I can report that my local Safeway pretty much mirrors what you saw. Damned odd but conspicuous holes in the stock (Frozen waffles? Really?), but otherwise everything else was at normal levels of stock.

I personally ordered my preparedness food on line mid February, and the last of it arrived today. I also hit the local WinCo last week and dropped $200 on food.
I'm in my last quarter of college, and I'm praying shit holds together for the next 13 days so I can finish my degree and go home to bug in for about the next 2 months. I've got food and water there already; I could probably go 6 months at this point if I had to, since it is just me.

carolinaTURTLE said...

i am reminded of the tsunami/nuc-meltdown of Japan in 2011...specifically - after Fukushima exploded and started spewing radiation (10x normal levels in Tokyo...said the media) i was stationed in Yokosuka Japan at that time (@40 miles south of Tokyo, @200 miles south of Fukushima) and "higher-ups" said to be prepared for a mandatory evacuation order *BUT* voluntary evacuation was being arranged for family/dependents who wanted to leave.

One impression that i was left with, was that the evacuation operation was practically a semi-live *EXERCISE* -that is- it did not absolutely NEED to be done at that point, but hey, let's see if we can do it, in case we *REALLY* have to do it!

So this seems similar to our corona-virus situation in that Aesop (and others) have mentioned how the *deadly* factor is much less...(compared to Ebola)...and world governments and the mainstream media seemingly are both generating panic, as well as playing "let's see if we can do it" quarantine/hunger games (like the voluntary evacuation i mentioned from 2011)

And as i type (and re-consider) i imagine there might be a virus that spreads like covid-19, but kills like Ebola...and then where would we be? If you have a decent religion, i dare say it's win-win (either you get divine protection, or you die and go to a better place) hmm...what was that song...this one, i think? (Nirvana's "Lake of Fire")

whew...perhaps that was a barely comprehendable rambling...

JNorth said...

Up here in the Great White North there doesn't seem to be much panic buying. Hand sanitize is a bit low, especially the small travel size ones. Costco does have a limit on how many cases of water you can get but they still have lots of pallets of it so I'm figuring corporate is telling them all to limit purchases. The disposable masks at HD are gone but the ones with replaceable filters are still plentiful (along with the filters). Still lots of boxes of MH at Costco, I'll check Fred's and a couple of the outdoor stores later this week, most people I know have cases of that anyhow, so many people use it for camping.

There is a nasty crud going around but it's just a bad cold, only really an issues since so many of my coworkers have kids in school, damn disease factories. Not worried about anything surviving on surfaces outside, nothing lives too long unprotected below -30.

Anonymous said...

Still filling some gaps in the preps; normal "consumeable" things that need augmentation. Have some folks on standby to possibly attend the 90 day sleepover and fill out the watchbill. We're pretty particular about potential roomies but port-and-starboard gets a whole lot older than drinking plain water.
Boat Guy

Hawkin'Gal said...

I have been shopping nearly every day for a week, especially at Costco. Except for hand sanitizer and gloves, no noticeable shortages until Monday--toilet paper. Today they had toilet paper, but no paper towels. Also, they put an employee at the entrance handing out disinfecting towelettes. At Kroger on Monday, powdered milk was the only bare spot I saw.

Most people's carts reflected regular shopping, and many I spoke with thought concerns were "overblown." Found hand sanitizer at Autozone, where the clerk lectured me on how Covid19 only affected the elderly and infants.

When I built my Tiny House, I didn't bother with a TV antennae or dish and there's no WiFi. Thankfully, I usually go to the trouble of firing up my hot spot to read this blog.

I will spend the next few days filling any other gaps in Items 1-6, and update my training on same. I might just make it. Hawking season was about done anyway... Thank you, Aesop.

'Ware the Ides of March...

Hawkin'Gal said...

Sorry, should've mentioned that I'm in Southeast Michigan, not nearly far enough away from Detroit.

Anonymous said...


Had unconfirmed report that 1 of the patients was at Foothill Pres & another at Huntington. It is now very real & danger close to me.

If in need of some stores, Winco in Pomona was still is very well stocked as of yesterday and no significant price changes from weeks ago. Even had hand sanitizer and 2 small boxes of alc swabs. Did some topping off yesterday and was there over the weekend too, no big changes *yet*. Expecting rapid change in mindsets after today's LaCO & LAC declaration. Loved the part about "Homes should be stocked with the same essentials needed in case of a natural disaster situation" & "Plans need to be made for how to handle the possibility of school, business or work closures, as well as changes in or cancellations of public events." Costco San Dimas was def picking up speed & volume by late morning Monday, would expect to see similar basics out now like you observed.

Our immediate fam panic is going to be having to deal with getting a baclofen pump changeout completed in the next 2-3 month before batts expire. In discussion w/ CHOC NS to get thing going pronto. Hell, when you got a spotted zebra for a kid, what else should you expect.

For bonus round: have a local quakey set SoCal off, or even mo betta, have SA rip from Salton to the Bay. Ain't seeing any novels written about that yet. Let's triage AND move quarantined patients outside. Good times indeed.

And for shits 'n giggles, throw in a good Santa Ana and some firestorms with some FD's that can't even deploy regular shifts due to the **ahem** flu.

Gotta connect sometime.

North of the Orange Curtain, Gateway to the IE

Avalanche said...

Hawkin’Gal: "Costco... put an employee at the entrance handing out disinfecting towelettes"

I was amazed and disgusted these last two times I went to my Costco; they have an employee with a SINGLE towel, wiping down the hand rails of the carts as you bring one in. Cart after cart after cart.. SAME rag! Oh for the love-of-God!!

I pointed out to the fellow (whom I see regularly, so we chat) that he was making things worse -- if he wiped down a handrail that was contaminated, he was then spreading it onto EVERY SINGLE SUBSEQUENT CART! Blank look.

So, I used one of the multiple wipes in my jacket pocket to wipe down the handrail!

Bear Claw Chris Lapp said...

Was at sams yesterday in flyover. A few asians and burka pushed carts full of cases of water. Made me think they might have communicated with family back home.

Unknown said...

Rapid City, SD... local Wally world is barely keeping the water stocked. Lysol and the like, trashbags and bleach shelves are bare. Water filters(they'd been stocking Lifestraw and Sawyer) are GONE as are the blue water jugs. N95 masks are gone/ on backorder and have been so for a couple of weeks already. Doesn't look like anyone is really staying home yet, though. About at a point, we can disengage at a moment's notice ourselves. REALLY happy I work from home- slight buffer in the wait for it to appear here

Anonymous said...

What happens to all the employees working in the service industries when this hits hard?
All those restaurants, theaters, bars, gyms, malls, and retail stores are shutdown? For weeks or months?
Look at Wuhan. Hell, look at ITALY. Everything, stores, restaurants, offices, EVERYTHING is shut down, and they aren't paying employees to not work.

How will all those formerly working and decent employees keep themselves fed and with a roof over their heads when they suddenly have no paycheck coming in? I remember my College Years. Hand to Mouth was the way I lived for two years. There are millions of people living that way because they are young, and don't have squat. There are tens of millions dead broke because that is the way they have always lived as working poor. What happens when they get hungry? When the Sheriff is at the door with the eviction notice?

I am not talking about the EBT crowd. They will get along fine as they continue to suck on the government teat. I am taliking about the people that have a job, and are barely making it now.

Anonymous said...

The slowdown is already hitting Seattle,

"Since the coronavirus outbreak began, Lyon has been losing money most days. So has Francisco. Lyon and her husband make up a little money on the weekends, but every day seems to bring fewer and fewer customers. As a result, Lyon, who has owned her business for 47 years, is turning to social media to entice customers. But even that comes with a caveat, she said."

nick flandrey said...

If they're not prepped, then they will be desperate.

That's the unfortunate truth. Unlike China, where they were welding apartment gates shut, we've got guns. The mobs will take to the streets, and the burning will start long before people are too weak from hunger to fight back.

The only solution to that is snipe anyone with fire, or Don't Be There (tm)


Smoker78 said...

Here in the people’s republic of Virginia, it’s slowly starting. No hand sanitizer to be found. I got the last two cans of Lysol spray at wallyworld yesterday. I went stock shopping earlier in the week and people looked at me strange. Now stuff is beginning to disappear. Being in Hampton Roads, as soon a one sailor is diagnosed with this, the panic will begin. These idiots quarantine of 14 days for ships in 6th fleet is inadequate. Even if they kept them out for a month it wouldn’t be effective since high ranking officials are flying back and forth all the time. Hell my boss just got back from a world tour and wouldn’t you know it, Japan, South Korea, and Italy were a few of his stops.

Unknownsailor said...

Smoker78, if the Navy was serious about keeping this off the ships, they should have sent every ship able to sail out early last month, and kept them there through the end of March at least. No personnel on or off, only UNREPs for contact with severe decontamination measures in place to ensure no transmission.

Plans like this are beyond the admiralty. Selection for advancement to flag rank has favored administrators over war fighters for so long it is a self replicating loop now.

Charles in VA said...

Bird flu, swine flu, SARS, MERS...this one has a different feel to it all together.

I didn't take any of those seriously and I made it through just fine.

I ask myself where we'll all be this time next year and I don't like the answer one bit.

Hard times make hard men...the ones that make it, that is.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 0604: Its not just 'poor' people living paycheck-to-paycheck. There are a good number of high salary people (6 figures) who still manage to blow it all. Something like 60% of US population is a number I recall. Can you say fugly?

chewbacca said...

In Ontario, same here. No panic, no empty shelves. Cold with vomit/diarrhea going around.

chewbacca said...

If we can make it to warmer weather, there may be a reprieve until November/December, than wave 2. A la Spanish flu, which was the deadliest one.

The Freeholder said...

I haven't bet on this being a nothngburger since the first week of February. And so I got there when all those items were on the store shelves. Now they are on my shelves. If you're going to panic, panic early.

Of course if my wife had listened to reason years ago, there'd have been no reason to panic. This event may (may, mind you) have changed her way of thinking.

Ominous Cowherd said...

If we can make it to warmer weather, there may be a reprieve until November/December, than wave 2.
Singapore has warmer weather year 'round, and that hasn't saved them, has it?

A Texan said...

I've been going to Sam's and Wallyworld (same parking lot) for things every day for the last week. Haven't seen an ounce of hand sanitizer, except some sitting on the counter at the pharmacy section for use by employees there and customers. Water started to be rationed yesterday to 5 cases/day/account. I bought 4 yesterday (I have at least 10, and that's before I fill up a couple dozen empty gallon-sized ones this weekend with a few drops of bleach in each). Bought 3 more today for shits & giggles.

Speaking of shits...I have never seen more toilet paper in one place in my life than today in Sam's. It's like they were expecting everyone to be getting IV Ex-Lax for a couple of weeks. If there weren't at least 1,000 packages of the 45-roll Sam's product, there wasn't one.

They still have all foodstuffs except the 50-pound bags of rice. Strangely, tons of bagged beans were available - what, everyone's going to just eat rice, without the beans to complete the protein? Meanwhile, I've got enough rice and beans at home to last until just about all of that toilet paper is gone. :>)

Gloves still available - I may pick up more tomorrow. I'm not too worried, but everyone coming out of Sam's apparent has been for the last couple of days - the carts are all full of water.

Unknown said...

A friend of mine said that the local BJs (bulk item store around here) was mobbed by the local Hindu population and stripped most bulk food items to the bare shelves. I don't know about Walmart yet. I plan on making it my Friday night after work. I spent the day today taking Dad to his cancer treatment and doing an inventory of my supplies before I go out. I felt like I needed a specific target before I go out and spend money on things I might have "enough" of while missing something I'm blind to.

Work is another story. My director of nursing is clueless and our "N95 response plan" is essentially a lesson in cross contamination with extra steps. My fellow nurses and I have figured out that there basically is no holding this thing back, and once it gets into this facility were going to have a use for all those body bags in storage. They are about five years behind the power curve on this thing and oblivious to reality.

Otherwise I'm looking forward to spring planting. I'm thinking I might be able to turn another couple hundred square feet into growing space by April. I just hope this next season is better than last. If we have a repeat of No Plant '19 we're all going to be hurting.

Smoker78 said...

No argument there.