Monday, April 6, 2020

Grocery Shopping During a Pandemic

I've been alternating between ordering groceries online from our local grocery store, HEB, and from Blue Baker, who is expanding their grocery offerings all the time.  Drive-thru for BB, curbside delivery for HEB.  Haha I just realized BB and HEB both end in B.  YES I AM THAT BORED.

Anyway.  Ordering groceries, especially in advance from HEB, is like playing a game of grocery roulette - you never know what you're going to get.  Or maybe more like Forrest Gump with his box of chocolates.  I put things on my list, hoping to get most of them.  It really wasn't a problem when I started doing this last summer, when I couldn't get to the store because my back was so bad.  I might have one or two items that were out of stock, but if I couldn't get one brand of pasta I could always get another.  Now?  No pasta.  At all.  Isn't that wild?

I probably could do better with getting things if I went into the stores, but I'm being overly-cautious.  I don't want to mingle with people and I know that try as they might, it's impossible to keep a decent distance from others at the store.  I've read that people are lining up outside of the grocery stores before they open, and it's like that old game show, Supermarket Sweep, except that instead of the meat bins, everyone makes a mad dash for the paper goods aisle.  Toilet paper has become the new meat.  

Back to chocolate.  Of all the temporary closings of businesses, I was crushed most when See's Candies announced that they had stopped production and online ordering.  Candy, especially chocolate, is what's getting me through this!  What's more, I'd sent each of my kadults a See's Easter basket several weeks ago, just to give them some sweetness during the early days of isolation.  I'd planned on placing an order for us later on, but that turned out to be a no go.  What that tells me is that I should never be without some backup See's Candies in my pantry.  As Bob is my witness (Rugrats), I'll never go chocolate-less again!

We have plenty of food plus Jeff has tried his hand at making pasta once more.  When he first got interested in doing it, he made several batches but then decided it was more effort than it was worth, so he concentrated on making his homemade sauces and we used store-bought pasta.  Luckily we still have his special 00 pasta flour so he's set.  Have I mentioned that Jeff is half Italian?  Hence the need for pasta.

We are cooking so much more than ever; along with the craziness of the outside world, we're a little concerned about money so even though a lot of restaurants in town are doing curbside pickup and/or delivery, we're choosing to only order once in a great while, and that's from Blue Baker.  We figure we can't keep every restaurant in business during this pandemic, but at least we can try with our favorite one, so BB it is.

 How are you guys doing?  Still good with TP?  Pasta?  CHOCOLATE?

19 comments:

  1. Ordering online is definitely a crapshoot! First there's trying to even get a spot! Then if you do get a spot, finding things... I cannot find tofu anywhere. Eggs are limited to one carton per shopper.

    Chocolate? I love Hershey's milk chocolate nuggets. Nothing else will do!

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    1. We are still nearly a week out for ordering online! I read that they are going to start limiting the number of shoppers in grocery-type stores now (finally, it was still ridiculous how many families went shopping together), so I bet online ordering will be even more delayed.

      I love the Hershey's milk chocolate foil wrapped eggs at Easter - none for us this year, sadly.

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  2. Our stores here are starting to kind of get back to normal with inventory - when I went on Friday the only things I couldn't find were cous cous and brown rice, both of which I think people were buying in lieu of stuff like white rice and maybe even pasta. I even saw TP in peoples' carts for once!

    I was recently thinking about the fact that I have a pasta maker that I never use, but I have no idea if I'd be able to find the right flour for that! This seems like a good time to make it homemade, if there ever was one :)

    Did you see on the See's website that you can still order through Oriental Trading Co? It looks like that's still in stock. We buy Ghiradelli squares, which thankfully no one has been hoarding (no chocolate and no coffee would both be brutal right now!)

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    1. For a lot of people I bet cous cous and brown rice are sad seconds when they can't get white rice, but when it's always available normally, it's odd to see it gone, right?

      I did get the email from See's over the weekend and rushed to OTC to check it out, but sadly they don't do cold pack shipping, and our weather is going to be all over the place, even in the 90s, and I couldn't take the (expensive) chance on opening a sad blog of melted chocolate. :(

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  3. Oh gosh! I am so glad you got the See's out to the kadults but wish there was some there for you too! :( A few weeks ago I had Steven buy me two dark chocolate with orange bars - we definitely need chocolate right now!

    Hearing what's going on at everyone's stores is so interesting! I have heard a lot of similar things about ordering - you just don't know what you are going to get. I placed an order a few weeks ago that I should get Wednesday. It's mostly vegan stuff so I think I might get most of it, but who knows - maybe people are desperate and buying that now?! You do seem to have better luck if you go in, but I am only trying to go in for produce at Aldi.

    I heard some stores are going to only allow a certain amount of people in at a time, and have directional signs in the aisles (ha, wonder if people will follow them as well as they do the ones in the parking lot). I think that will help, but that people will be very made they have to wait. Sigh.

    To answer your question, we have TP, pasta, and chocolate! We've been lucky so far and I am grateful to find what we want. I hope you do too <3

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    1. They've finally started limiting the amount of people in our stores, which was much needed. I'm surprised that you have the three things that are scarce in our area - it's so interesting to hear what's not available all over the country and how different it is.

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  4. Raley's, where I usually order food for my mom, is just not delivering. So I have to go down there with a boatload of groceries. See's being closed is making me sad! I try to just cook my own food. Simple but tasty.

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    1. That's rough for your mom AND for you. It's not like she lives right around the corner! We've been cooking so much - the big change is how full our dishwasher is. We have to run it just about every single day. I joked to Jeff that if I'd known we were having a pandemic, I'd have stocked up on paper plates, LOL.

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  5. Grocery shopping up here in DFW is...challenging. Our local HEB is a tiny size store. The "waiting list" for pickup is currently 2-3 weeks out. Trying to shop inside is a crapshoot - lots of empty shelf space and randomness to what is available. One trip I can find meat, the next time there will be plenty of dairy. No bread, flour, sugar or other staples, and no cleaning supplies yet. This HEB is literally the only grocery store in our area aside from WalMart, which is in the same condition. Two stores serving thousands of housholds in our county. They are doing the best they can to keep all of us stocked with food.

    I did an online order/pickup to a larger grocery store an hour south of here. Worth the drive just to get some fresh produce.

    I had JUST restocked paper goods a week before the lockdown, so we're good on t.p. for a while.

    One super strange POSITIVE note - have you seen the price of gasoline?? OMGosh - It's $1.19 a gallon here! Haven't seen prices like this in decades!

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    1. A dollar nineteen?? That's incredible!! I was impressed with $1.65 here. Guess it's a good thing since you have to drive so far to get produce. And 2-3 weeks out for online ordering is wild. I've only done it twice but we are no more than a week out. Who knows, it may get worse since they are now limiting the amount of people who can be in the store at one time.

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  6. I've been going in to the grocery store still and as many have said, it is so interesting to see what might be missing from shelves one week to the next. It's a fascinating sociology experiment, really. We are fine on TP, once my brave husband went out at 5:30am a couple of weeks back to catch the delivery trucks arrival times. Fine on pasta as well, since we try not to eat a lot of it. I do admit, when the comfort-food bug bites, though, pasta is definitely a go-to cure! Fine on chocolate as well. Again, we don't eat a lot, but hubby likes to keep a bag of the Lindor Truffles in the freezer, and dang if they weren't out of them this past week. He had to settle for Hershey's minis, which isn't a bad way to go :-) This week I actually scored some bleach, and there was TP on the shelves, though not a lot. Still can't find yeast, and for some reason I've had trouble finding the big bottles of LaCroix? I wonder if the shippers are using valuable truck space for things that are more necessary to survival than my preferred brand of flavored sparkling water...you mean it's NOT all about ME? LOL Stay safe & healthy!

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    1. Interesting point about the delivery trucks saving room for higher priority items, although at this point getting your favorite drink is necessary, all things considered, right?

      Our stores have all changed their hours to 8-8; that gives them more time to restock the shelves. What a time to work at a grocery store. I heard that HEB increased everyone's pay $2/hr because of this.

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  7. We haven’t tried online ordering/shopping yet...but have mentioned possibly having to try it sooner or later.

    Pasta...our organic store remains pretty well stocked...even with pasta!

    TP supply is looking good in my closet! I had the foresight to buy an extra container before the world went crazy. Yes...before the board even began I told jason ‘it’s gonna get nuts like a snowstorm is coming...let’s have some emergency supplies...so we are good on TP...if only I had thought to buy masks! ~sigh~. Back to hand sewing our masks (which I predict will eventually be mandatory...so I’m just getting prepared..and yes I own a machine...it is in storage 50 miles away!!!)

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    1. Originally I likened the mass buying to a hurricane, when you know it's going to be crazy for a few days. But this is like nothing we've experienced. Good on ya for laying in the TP!

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  8. I was bummed about Sees too. Best chocolate ever! It is a CA staple and I had a hard time getting over that one. We buy meat in bulk at Costco so we always have a full freezer. We don't eat a lot of carbs so that is a must for me. No pasta for me and the hubs but the kidults (as you call them) that still live with us do. I just finished cooking several pounds of chicken sausage varieties and that will hold us for a few days. Hubs will smoke a tri-tip today as well. Stay safe and well!

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    1. I grew up in California and it was always such a treat to get See's - it's so odd to not be able to get it now! Also, tri-tip was what we had at our wedding reception...again, a California staple. A yummy, yummy staple.

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  9. We have been averaging 50% or so of online grocery order being filled. And as you said, no predicting what will be unavailable.

    So I diversify as much as I can. And I order twice as much. So I order 1-2 each of the organic vegetables and I get about half. On the day the store is fully stocked and I get it all, will be so many groceries.

    I remember my grandmothers making noodles. Rolled out on board and cut with a knife. I don’t think I have ever made them.

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    1. Same here, I order more than I'd like because I know I won't get everything.

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  10. Three videos on this site with great mask information:
    http://www.fabricpatch.net/face-masks-for-covid-19-relief.htm

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