Friday, April 25, 2008

Of Supply and Rice

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.


  1. Why isn't the voice of reason, such as yours, being heard? I, too, stock up - but, only what we normally use and in quantities we will use in about 2-3 months and, of course, purchased on sale. I use a price book to track prices and sales.

    Here, in SW Florida, the Post Office is requesting snowbirds to donate unopened foodstuffs they would normally toss when they leave. One neighbor had 15 lbs of flour, 10 boxes of mac & cheese, etc. She's 76, widowed and rarely cooks. Her reason - food shortages and she didn't want to be without!!

  2. I agree with you on that Pat. We need to use common sense in this economy we are all in. The ride could be a very long one!

  3. I think the "voice of reason" is being ignored because people are afraid. Pass on the common sense wherever you can.

    So much flour is reasonable only if you bake quite a bit and IF you buy it on sale. :)

    nanniereese, I think you're right; this ride could be a very long one.

  4. You are so right. We do need the voice of reason. I buy my rice every sping when it goes on sale for Chinese New Years. I budget for it. I get 1 20 lb. bag ( or equivalent), this year there was no sale, but I still got my supply. I will buy again next spring. Also, I will use other items when one is more expensive. However when I bought my rice it wasn't high, but if it had been I'd have cooked potatoes instead, or macaroni or what ever I had. On things I can store well, I try to keep 1 year ahead. I try not to make trips to town and come summer I try and go even less. I will use my garden for all my fresh items and eat what is in season. I think for most of us that is a far more reasonable way to go. ( and more fun).

    T'Other Pat in Kitchener