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Stock Levels
Saturday, March 28, 2020, around noon
[Another plane jets overhead at 12:40 P.M., apparently passing Portland by or going into a holding pattern.]
It has been raining here steady for 2 days.
A murder of crows flew by squawking in the clouds an hour ago.
In the Dollar Tree, which, since the estrogendemic has always had one dedicated stock clerk, one cashier and one swing clerk, the selection of food items in dry grocery is at 60%, with stock level at about 20%. Refrigerated and frozen food products are maintaining at normal. Hand cleaners are coming back into stock. Paper is out but they sell plenty of hand towels and my host has a washer and drier.
Something to remember about the previous weeks’ panic, is that much of it was based on our being spoiled. Most of us will refuse to eat most healthy food, based purely on the fact that we view food as a pleasure and not a necessity.
Much of the unhealthy food choices—these being grains and sugars—maintain high volume due to their addicting qualities. Healthy food though, produce for instance, was never even dented in any market I know of. Through this entire thing pallets of potatoes, citrus, cabbage and apples have sat on the sidewalk at the Portland Produce Company where I buy produce. Every trip into the Safeway has shown a produce department at peak prosperity levels. People pretty much left cabbage, turnips and potatoes and carrots—classic anti-famine foods—alone.
As such our panic about stock levels, and even the opinion of grocers like myself that stores will not be able to be maintained by the small crews of clerks, needs to be qualified.
They will not and have not been maintained at pre pandemic levels.
However, those levels are peak prosperity levels, and the wheezing degenerate beast known as Western Civilization is far past its peak.
Across the board amongst active grocers I know, I am hearing that:
-Stock levels are at 70%
-Orders are rationed to prevent sharp grocers to buy what the dull grocers realize too late they need and maintain chain-wide balance.
-Wages are up 30% in a job market that has had steady wage decreases for three decades.
-Volume has doubled.
This touches on a crux dispute I always had with the two stupid, rich whores I worked for in the grocery business. They were posh scions of deep suburban bliss and to them a supermarket was a promise that you would always enter as a soft, dainty lady and be able to lay your undeserving hands on whatever item that turned your fancy. Indeed, this promise is implicit in standard Grocery operations since the 1960s, that you can get everything here. That resulted in a workplace environment in which, if I sold out of Hanover Broccoli Florets any day of the week as a frozen foods clerk, that I would get chewed out by the boss and threatened with disciplinary action.
On top of this promise, of having 20,000-plus items stocked at 60-100% of shelf capacity, is the impulse buy. Once all of these promises have been made, then you begin wowing the browsing hominid mind with displays of plenty, spilling cornucopias in produce, towering canned good displaces, soda and chip displays shaped like an NFL stadium, grape Koolaid packets hanging from strips next to the Sugar section, anything you can do to scrape and claw for that extra 5% of volume even as you nick your payroll down to bare minimum to try and get from .5 profit to 1.5% creating a toxic work environment.
While these stupid bitches were thrilled that I increased their volume by 10% overnight, just by building real displays, then by another 10% by creative and aggressive sideline buying, they would flip if a single item sold out and I would patiently have to say, “The idea is to sell out. None of these clerks we have rotate the stock. Besides, volume fixes everything. You want to sell out of these dollar granola bars today so that they [the customers] will come back tomorrow, the ones that missed out and the ones that stocked up, the first group to get their deal and the second to be first on the next deal.”
The way I bought and displayed, I created panic buying amongst regular customers in times of plenty.
And right now we have not even touched on the insanity of collective brand loyalty. Yesterday, in the kitchen, my host and I drank coffee and I had him, with his powers of division, which I lack, determine if the espresso I got from the dollar store was cheaper than the name brand he got in the 2-pound can, and it was. So I went and bought a few pounds today, as the taste was identical.
This discussion, that will save him $10 a month and give business to the store staffed by his neighbors instead of the store in another neighborhood, would have not been had without our perceived, yet false dearth.
As a grocery auditor, who has found trees growing out of 15-year old granola boxes and 26-year old cans of soup, and have discovered beverages out of which the liquid had all evaporated leaving a vacuum, I can tell you that 90% stock levels are wasteful, cause product damage, stress employee health, increase management desire to depress employee pay rates and results in waste.
I was pleased at the Dollar Tree today.
They were out of most lines of beans, but had four varieties, one dry and 3 canned.
Of six hot sauce varieties, three were out of stock.
They were “write your ass up for a non-ordering slacker” low on all of their canned tomato products, but were not out of a single one.
It’s not the end of the world, but it might possible be the beginning of the end of universal sloth.
[Another plane jets out of Portland at 1:09 P.M., as I write this and another at 1:19 as I edit it.]
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Add Comment
NCApril 1, 2020 11:52 PM UTC

Family member works in this industry, now all OT is 2X vs 1.5 and management can't get enough of it from the workers. This one is smarter than the rest and sacks 6 x 12 and 1 off until the faucet shuts off.