Friday, April 24, 2020

Pandemic Grocery Shopping Plus!

Grocery shopping during the Covid-19 pandemic can be interesting…and challenging too!  What follows is a tour of our local Food Lion Grocery Store showing some key product displays…

The first shortage we noticed was baking potatoes.  There were only a few small potatoes left.  They have a great shelf life so that’s probably why they were almost out of stock.

The bacon display at Food Lion is usually packed with multiple choices for customers to peruse.  While it wasn’t wiped out, some brands were out of stock or close to it.  I wonder if the fact that Smithfield’s Covid-19 reported plant infections and the resulting publicity has hurt their sales…or is it because the brand is owned by a company based in China… They were still in stock here!

There were still enough steaks and other cuts of beef on hand, but you can see that available product in the cooler is somewhat lacking. 

No surprise here!  Given all the negative publicity regarding Covid-19 at Smithfield’s big pork processing plant in South Dakota and the fact that it supplies such a large portion of the United States pork for grocery stores, I expected a ‘run’ on pork.  The cooler looks fairly full but while there were plenty of pre-cooked pork ribs and pork roasts (far more than usual for either product) they were being used as display ‘fillers’ for the missing chops, pork steaks and other smaller cuts that were basically gone!   

We weren’t looking for instant meals…but it’s a good thing we weren’t!  Ramen noodles, instant lunches and other inexpensive bowl style foods were just about wiped out.  I hadn’t thought about this category but it makes sense.  In our area a lot of workers are still building homes, landscaping, etc. and all their usual lunch spots are closed down…so perhaps this was one of the solutions they migrated to.  Alternatively, some local retirees don't like to cook and the restaurants are closed!

This was another section of the store that sort of blew my mind.  The bulk rice was wiped out!  It is cheap food with a great shelf life and perhaps that’s why the shelves were bare.

I wasn’t too surprised to see that many of the Mexican/Hispanic basic items had been snatched up by shoppers.  We do have a large population of Hispanics living in the area who work in food processing, construction, landscaping and other industries.

No surprise here either!  This is where the hand sanitizer and disinfectant hand soaps would normally be displayed.  I think that it will be at least August before we once again see hand sanitizer on the shelves of our grocery stores.

Spray disinfectants and sanitizing wipes that kill bacteria and viruses are almost as hard to find as hand sanitizers.  Thankfully, we had a couple of spray cans of disinfectant on hand when the panic set in and store stocks were decimated!  We keep a can at the ready to spray down any deliveries we receive from Amazon…

No big surprise that these shelves are completely empty of their normal products…but those Kleenex Multicare multipurpose wipes are a poor stand-in for toilet paper!  I guess that if one is desperate enough, these wipes are better than nothing.  The problem would be that where we live, we’re not supposed to flush any paper products other than the real thing.

Good news for us though!  On the same day, we made a second trip to the grocery store, this time the Ingles in Lenoir City Tennessee.  They were more in stock on most products…and we even came across 7 packs of TP and we bought 2 of them!

Food City vs. Ingles stocking levels may be the result of three factors.  One would be when the last trucks or truck replenished any particular store.  The second factor is store size and probable sales volume.  The Food Lion stores are smaller than the Ingles stores.  The third factor is the supply chain itself.  Food Lion has 6 stores spread out over a wide area around Knoxville.  Ingles, with larger stores, has 9 stores in the area.  Food Lion has over 1,000 stores in the Eastern USA while Ingles has only 212 stores in the Southeastern part of the country.

Now for a bit of happiness!

This is our friend Norm, who by the way is a fellow Michigan State grad!  You might be able to tell that Norm is a frustrated but dedicated golfer who also has a nice creative streak going for him.  Love that face mask!

…and just because we’re so proud of our two handsome and accomplished grandsons, this is a recent photo of the quarantined pair at home in Omaha Nebraska.  Maybe some day we'll see them face to face again! (Here they were picking up some take-out for dinner)
Emmett Lee on the left is frustrated by his inability to play team sports and having to take high school classes on line.  This is the time of the year that he’d be running track and he’s already missed the remainder of the basketball season.  As for David III, he’s stuck at home, taking his New York University courses long distance/on-line.  He’s missing what was the exciting and energizing environment he enjoyed while attending college in New York City.  Nevertheless, we’re glad that both boys are home with their parents and everyone is staying safe…

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Stay Safe and Take Care, Big Daddy 


  1. I made a trip to Food City on Tuesday and found it to be in pretty good shape except for the pork and rice I was looking for. The fish and high end beef case was especially well stocked. I didn't look at the paper goods however.

  2. Hi Dave, and nice to find another comment on my blog. If it's OK with you I would like to include a link to your blog on my sidebar as it makes it easier for return visits. WOW on those Food Lion shortages and we have seen some similar empty shelves here in Nashua, NH. Baking products and canned soups and ready made goods in short supply. Thankfully, we prefer using real ingredients when we cook at home which we have been doing and hardly ordering take-out. We shopped at a Food Lion store the entire time we lived on the VA Eastern Shore as it was the sole grocery store in the town we lived in with a pop. of 500+

  3. Also not sure if I mentioned in a previous comment forgot to mention that on our blog, Beatrice & Grenville, are aliases. We chose them when we first started the blog in VA and those were the names of Boyds Bears figurines we owned. In reality, we are Dorothy & Patrick; nice to meet you.