The ridiculously bad photo above depicts the meat aisle in Olives R Us — and about that? How does Bossy manage to both underexpose and overexpose within the same photograph?
Back to the meat aisle: lately, many of the stores Bossy frequents have been mysteriously empty of inventory. It is not uncommon these days to walk into a Trader Joe’s and find half the shelves empty — not to mention roomier aisles because things like vegetable bins and other product containers have been rolled away due to lack of inventory.
It’s a new phenomenon, and it’s spooky.
Bossy always asks the store manager what’s up, and the defensiveness begins, usually in the form of, “Our truck didn’t come,” — but just maybe it represents a larger collapse in the economic chain.
Has anyone else experienced this in their local markets? Keep your eyes peeled open.
Lin saysJune 11, 2009 at 7:29 am
I honestly thought it was just here in the worst state of the nation, Louisiana. I guess not. That’s both sad and reassuring
sugarpie saysJune 11, 2009 at 7:41 am
I asked one store manager if they were closing and therefore just letting the stock dwindle down. Hatefull stares.
I do get a little spooked when driving by the really expensive stores and seeing the parking lots only half or 1/3 full. Last year they would have been jammed.
Philly saysJune 11, 2009 at 7:52 am
I do not do the food shopping but I have noticed it in at least 3 different Targets. The first target I went into , I chalked it up to the Target just opening a week prior. I then proceeded to 2 other targets and the shelves were bare!!!
delilah saysJune 11, 2009 at 7:52 am
Our shelves are full, but the prices are insane. You can’t even get a package of chicken legs for under $3.99. I think they must be using very high-class chickens, like the ones with pom-poms on their feet.
MariaV saysJune 11, 2009 at 8:10 am
One of the stores I frequent have been fully stocked, but the prices have been ridiculously high.
The other three stores are periodically empty. Some of the empty shelves can be attributed to sale items. I guess my idea of buying only what is on sale or what could be bought in bulk wasn’t original.
I think the stores are ordering/stocking less because consumers are purchasing less. Damn economy!
bossy's friend martha saysJune 11, 2009 at 8:12 am
I was just thinking about this as I fell asleep last night. The Home Depot is usually bustling every hour of the day this time of year and there has barely been a line even on the weekend.
Kathy from NJ saysJune 11, 2009 at 8:21 am
I know someone who works for Lido Fray, the junk food company. I often see him at our local market at 7 am when he is stocking shelves and pulling outdated inventory – he has more than twice as much outdated stuff – the only time his product does well is when it’s on sale.
cartoongoddess saysJune 11, 2009 at 8:36 am
Same thing going on here. I too received the, “Our truck didn’t show up” line when I inquired at my fave supe in Woodbridge, NJ. Other stores in this area feature similar, money-saving, empty shelves. If it’s not there, I can’t buy it, which, I suppose is their new way help consumers save money?
joie saysJune 11, 2009 at 9:01 am
Haven’t seen the same thing here outside of D.C. Was in Houston for a month and didn’t see it there, either. I think some areas are not hurting quite as much as others. Houston because of the energy market, D.C because of federal employees (thank God my husband stayed with the fed and didn’t go to PriceWaterhouseCoopers or we’d be out on the street)
leslie saysJune 11, 2009 at 9:11 am
Have not noticed it around Tulsa and surrounding communties–the stores are still packed and the lots are full in spite of all the lay offs we see in the news for our area. I keep wondering are people actually buying or just pretend shopping.
kd saysJune 11, 2009 at 9:15 am
We have a new Trader Joe’s in Virginia Beach and some of the shelves are picked clean. The employees blame desperate locals who waited YEARS for the store to come to town. Hmmmm. Wonder if something else is going on…
kidsmom saysJune 11, 2009 at 9:16 am
It’s a conspiracy.
Not June Cleaver saysJune 11, 2009 at 9:16 am
Our Trader Joe’s had the same issue a couple of weeks ago. They had signs up all over the store apologizing for the empty shelves. They told me that their distribution center was moving warehouses and something went wrong. It seems to be back to normal lately.
carson saysJune 11, 2009 at 9:18 am
Reporting from the Walmart in the middle of nowhere, New Mexico, I haven’t noticed any lack of inventory. But if somebody can explain to me why Yoplait yogurt is 73 cents in Walmart A and 52 cents in Walmart B 60 miles down the road, I’m listening.
Fiona Picklebottom saysJune 11, 2009 at 9:29 am
The store is always out of whatever it is *I* need at that particular moment. Also, they never have the new chocolate mini- frosted mini-wheats (I used mini- twice on purpose, because they are extra small), which are FANTASTIC and make you feel like even though you are eating sweet yumminess, you are being healthy. Which may be true if you only eat a servings-worth, but somehow I think eating the entire box negates the relative healthiness of a high-fiber treat. Also, it may wreak havoc on your digestive system. Um, but yeah, stores are out of shit.
The Domestic Goddess saysJune 11, 2009 at 9:33 am
People just aren’t spending money. They cannot justify stocking if they can’t sell it, I guess.
Yes, TJ’s truck “didn’t come”. Scary.
MIdLifeMama saysJune 11, 2009 at 9:49 am
I am fascinated that Philly doesn’t food shop. Peapod? A significant other who likes to food shop? You are a vampire and don’t eat food? I have not noticed this kind of empty shelf phenomenon, but I don’t shop at Olive’sRUs. I am a Costco gal. They had a special food table recently with nothing BUT fancy olives. I thought of Bossy.
Audubon Ron saysJune 11, 2009 at 10:09 am
No shortage of meat here. Of course, we shoot dinner. Maybe Midlfe is right, maybe the big box are dominating the market. And then maybe there was an outbreak of some strain of something last week and they had to remove the meat and didn’t tell anyone and gosh, you and especially Bossy’s friend Martha can come down to Mississippi and live with me until this thing blows over. We can watch DVDs together. I’ll show you my Mr. Bean DVD collection. 🙂
Ree (the other one) saysJune 11, 2009 at 10:22 am
I think what I’ve noticed is that the SALE items are always gone. It’s like a bait and switch thing.
Philly saysJune 11, 2009 at 10:28 am
MidLifeMama——My hub has always done the food shopping, has been for 23 years and can I tell you it’s a beautiful thing!
Cindy Z saysJune 11, 2009 at 10:38 am
Here in Illinois too. For awhile I thought I was crazy, then I realized that while I probably am crazy the stores are not stocking like they used to and the variety is much less. I have been shopping for an older neighbor for a couple of months now and she has some pretty specific things on the list that I am not finding in three stores I shop at.
marn saysJune 11, 2009 at 10:41 am
Hmmm…haven’t noticed any less stock in the stores here in Kalamazoo, Michigan, either in the big chain stores or in the smaller local groceries. Maybe it’s because we’re fat midwesterners! I think I’d be a bit freaked if I went into my local Meijer or Harding’s and saw a meat counter wasteland like that.
Liz C saysJune 11, 2009 at 11:17 am
I’m with MariaV- I think stores are ordering less, keeping less inventory, because sales are down. I noticed our WMart has cut back on the number of different brands of stuff, particularly food. Instead of four brands of canned pinto beans, there are now two, etc. I don’t buy meat so I don’t check those shelves, but that is a very graphic illustration of what’s going on.
Tracy (Oklahoma) saysJune 11, 2009 at 11:25 am
Hmmm…..haven’t noticed it here in Tulsa area….but it would be spooky! I can’t imagine walking into Sam’s here and seeing that.
Mindy saysJune 11, 2009 at 11:27 am
The nearby big box store that gets much of my grocery money began making “improvements” over a year ago. The upper tiers of shelving were removed, and I noticed for the first time in twelve years of frequenting the place that I could see all the walls unobstructed. Then the aisles were made wider and departments were shuffled in order to disguise the lack of merchandise. Friends began to mention that items they regularly purchased were no longer offered or the choices were reduced. I’m spending much more for a typical grocery gathering trip and having to haunt different stores for stuff I normally bought in one place. It’s maddening.
Lisa saysJune 11, 2009 at 12:04 pm
It beginning to start here in California. I was at Walmart last week and I was asking the checker why the shelves are so empty. She said that they have cut down on inventory and the time to shop is the morning after they stock the shelves at night. I just wonder when the economy was good, how much food at the markets was wasted by overstocking. That would be a good project for someone to look into…..
NaysWay saysJune 11, 2009 at 12:09 pm
We’ve had local marts just all out say they’re shutting down due to the economy. No defensiveness. No excuses. Just empty shelves, then gone. It’s very sad.
Little Miss Sunshine State saysJune 11, 2009 at 12:10 pm
I haven’t noticed any empty shelves in the Sunshine State. What I do notice is that the stores are giving away a TON of stuff with the Buy1 Get 1 offers.. This week I got free steak, popcorn, a pound of cheddar cheese, 2 boxes of pasta and a two pound can of baked beans.
It’s prime growing season here. At the farm, Baby Watermelons were $1.50, plums were 76 cents/lb, new potatoes were 89 cents/lb, GIANT canteloupe (picked that morning) were under $2.
The German Bakery was selling HUGE loaves of day-old organic sourdough Italian bread for $1.50.
I spend far less on groceries here than when I lived in New England.
andrea saysJune 11, 2009 at 12:32 pm
yes, I’ve noticed the same thing in the area of Texas that we are in. Just yesterday I commented to a friend that it looked like Staples was closing because some of the shelves were empty….
anne marie in philly saysJune 11, 2009 at 12:37 pm
I shop at aldi’s and redner’s – no shortages at either store!
and the prices are better than genuardi’s, giant, acme, shoprite, etc. in my neighborhood.
low price stores rock!
V. saysJune 11, 2009 at 12:37 pm
Our shelves are full here in California but the state’s about to go bankrupt. Can we move to Bossys former farm, please?
Elissa in MA saysJune 11, 2009 at 1:01 pm
Ya know, I noticed this in Dec. Our Target barely had any christmas lights! I just wanted plain white 100 strands and I had to dig around for them. That is NOT a good sign. And we’re losing stores close to my home. Parking lots are empty cause 1/2 the stores are gone. Very sad and scary.
~annie saysJune 11, 2009 at 1:05 pm
K-mart here has always looked like something out of Communist Russia. Other places here seem OK. Hopefully not some kind of calm before the storm…
Amelia saysJune 11, 2009 at 1:13 pm
I live in the town where Wal-Mart is headquartered (Bentonville, Arkansas) and the Wal-Mart’s and Sam’s Clubs around here are fully stocked. I figure it’s because so many people here work for that corporation, so everyone shops there in an effort to keep it going. After the major layoff they did a few months ago, I think we all realized that no one is safe, not even us here in the little economic bubble that is Northwest Arkansas. However, I have noticed this at the local K-Mart (only one left in the area), Target, and at the smaller hometown grocers. Several other stores (not grocers but other retailers) have gone out of business in the area as well.
reen saysJune 11, 2009 at 1:49 pm
Here around Austin I’ve noticed that grocery store shelves are full, but with fewer selections of the same type of stuff, like Liz C’s experiencing at Walmart. The best sellers, not the specialty/organic/expensive versions. Prices haven’t gone up much recently, though, and we just had a huge new Target and JC Penney open.
Then again, this is Texas which is pretty much its own sovereign nation with its own meat, produce, and energy industries, so we’re kind of insulated from the worst of this stuff.
SherylW saysJune 11, 2009 at 4:43 pm
haven’t noticed any of that in Missouri or in Kansas ( I live on the border)….
Erin saysJune 11, 2009 at 5:40 pm
Our Jewel is almost always out of something random. One week it was boneless, skinless chicken breasts. One week it was cans of chickpeas. One week it was my favorite English muffins. Drives me crazy!
Oh, The Joys saysJune 11, 2009 at 9:45 pm
There is no corn at the farmer’s market. WTF?
David saysJune 12, 2009 at 11:53 am
Have not noticed.
But can you please explain where this photo is both under-exposed and over-exposed because I honestly don’t see it. Looks like a normal photo to me.
Brava97 saysJune 13, 2009 at 2:09 pm
No changes in western Washington stores. My brother-in-law came to visit from upstate New York and said you’d never know there was a recession going on from the way things looked in our area. We found a good place to ride it out.
Shelley saysJune 15, 2009 at 8:23 am
I haven’t noticed this in the Phoenix area at all, but I mainly shop Fry’s (Kroger), and not the fancy Trader Joe’s. However, as of tomorrow I will be living in Colorado. I wonder if things are different there?
Michelle in SF saysJune 15, 2009 at 2:48 pm
The only thing I’ve noticed missing from my usual TJ’s is toilet paper…I asked what was up and they told me they’d get more in on Monday. It was Friday, and I was completely out at home 🙁
I have to say, if my store’s meat section looked like yours I’d prolly forgo meat for a while…you hear all those terrible stories about butchers bleaching and then repacking old meat with new dates in order to avoid waste…blech!
Madame x saysJune 15, 2009 at 4:31 pm
This part of California is still plentiful
anything the heart desires
and the pocketbook can stand
Gretchen saysJune 15, 2009 at 8:48 pm
The regular markets are the same here. Our TJ’s (outside of Los Angeles) has taken out a whole section of shelves. And done away with some important things I use often. I heard that my local pharmacist can’t keep Xanax in stock either…..