As we watch March disappear in our rear-view mirror, I’m always struck with relief. The worst quarter of the year, weather-wise is now in the books. April looms on the horizon and even when you consider the old adage, “April showers bring May flowers”, rain and mud is preferable to ice and snow at least in my book. It may not be apparent on April first, but I know that I’ll be mowing the lawn before this month is out! There’s something very comforting in that. The sound of lawnmowers all over the neighborhood and the smell of freshly cut grass is definitely a cause to celebrate.
As retailers, we’ve been in the throes of this world-wide pandemic for over two years now, much the same as you yourselves have been. It started out innocently enough with a few “hard-to-get” items. Then whole categories became affected. Remember the great toilet paper shortage of 2020? As days and weeks morphed into months and years, the list of things in short supply continued to grow. Manufacturers, faced with labor, transportation and distribution problems, began eliminating any product they deemed to be “expendable”. Virtually every company pared down their offerings and gradually this shortage began to manifest itself on your grocer’s shelves.
For instance, we have entire sections of the store that have been empty for months: McCain’s fries, canned and bagged cat food, soups, juice pouches, to name just a few – and the list continues to grow. We’ve always been a store that prided itself on keeping neat, clean, fully stocked shelves and it’s frustrating and irritating to not be able to do that any longer.
It’s a daily occurrence for our staff to be approached in the aisle with the question, “how come you don’t have . . . ? You can fill in the blank. Our warehouse sends deliveries to us 4 out of 7 days of every week. The out-of-stocks, though, continue to outstrip the in-stocks! So if you’re looking for a particular item that you just can’t seem to find anywhere, chances are it’s been temporarily discontinued, gone “dark” or just eliminated entirely. For our part, unless we’ve been notified otherwise, we will continue to order all the empty spots on our shelves and gradually, we hope to see more and more of them being filled in the hopes that one day we will be able to offer a fully stocked store!