WEEK #20 MAY 16th

Dear Customers,

We’ve been very patient.  That doesn’t mean we haven’t complained, griped and generally worried it like a dog with a bone but Winter was persistent this year.  Reference that sudden spring snow-storm the day(s) after Easter!  I had read somewhere back in early March that “Winter was going to hold on into April or even beyond” and I was a little skeptical.  Not anymore!

But actually, we’ve had a lot of practice being patient these past two years.  If anything, the covid pandemic has forced us to be more tolerant, even though we sometimes had to be dragged into it, kicking and screaming.  The hardest thing to learn to be patient about is out-of-stocks.

As Americans, we’re used to walking into a store, be it grocery, pharmacy, clothing or whatever and being faced with multiple choices.  It’s called “shopping”!  And if we don’t see what we want, or what we expected to find, we’re often more than a little miffed.  Imagine what it must be like for people in third-world countries who are faced with empty or nearly empty shelves on a daily basis.  At first it was paper products: toilet paper and paper towels most importantly.  But it soon spread to all areas of the store.

My manager is often asked while out in the aisle, “do you have any fill in the blank?  And when told that unfortunately we are out and have been for some time, he’s greeted in one of two ways.  Either they’re incredulous just unable to believe that we wouldn’t have that particular item, or they reply, “I can’t find it anywhere!”  Well, the reason you can’t find it anywhere else, either, is because it’s just not available!

Soon after the pandemic escalated, virtually every manufacturer was faced with rapidly diminishing work staffs.  Many people just elected to stay home!  Faced with the prospect of not being able to fill all their orders, they elected to prioritize their product lines and eliminate those items that were not their best sellers.  That didn’t mean that those items weren’t important to you, the customer, its just that they determined that they weren’t important to them – either by virtue of their total sales or profitability!  Here we are, more than two years later and we’re still fighting unavailability in many categories.  It’s frustrating to say the least . . . but at least you’ve learned how to be patient!