When Costco and Sam's Club "rationed" rice, there came upon some of us a vague sense of panic. Food was being rationed! We were going to have to do without! Buy it now, while you can, there isn't any more!
No, no, and no again. How many 20 pound bags of rice do you need? We've been told that the reason rice sales have been limited is that restaurants were buying against future prices, as the rice crop has failed in parts of the world. That make sense. If I were a restaurant owner, I'd be doing the same thing. But I'm not a restaurant owner, and neither are most of you. So what's the problem?
The problem is that if we all begin to hoard food - buying more than we need at regular prices - we're causing a problem. What might have been a normal week in rice sales went whacko because some large buyers increased their purchases, thus leaving the remaining suppplies low. We, collectively, can cause the same thing.
Hoarding is not nice. It leaves your neighbors and your friends without or paying even higher prices.
So how does this fit with the stocking up I'm always preaching? This way: When we stock up, we buy sales items - food at a lower price than usual, not food at the normal price. Food that's on sale is abundant, otherwise it wouldn't be on sale. It might not be abundant in the future; we can't know that and that's not the point. The only reason to stock up is to take advantage of sales and below normal prices.
In other words, let this be a lesson. Don't hoard. It only hurts us all in the long run.