Baron Creek

Once Upon a Time

  
By:  Baron Creek  •  Nonsense and Ramblings  •  2 weeks ago  •  6 comments

Once Upon a Time
You know you're getting old when all the names in your black book have M. D. after them. - Harrison Ford

Trials and Tribulations of Grocery Shopping

It started out back in the beginning of this thing as some items were hard or nearly impossible to find. There was an easing of the situation and now it seems to be going in reverse. Granted I built up a bit of reserve in the interim and suspect I am not alone in that endeavor. So maybe it will ease up again without depleting the reserve.

Some items went from nothing on the shelves to in store only and finally to curbside. Local chat has the shelves back to the empty stage. Certainly, there is some hoarding, such as done by myself, but I genuinely believe the supply chain is still in disarray. Everything we consume, originates from the air, water, ground, etc. In this just-in-time age of inventory control, any disruption can have a ripple effect across the entire chain. Some of those items have lead times of 18+ months. Some of those items would take nearly that long to adjust with additional capital investment. Not something likely to happen giving the anticipated duration of this “thing”. Then there is the treated lumber shortage. Demand was expected to go down, not up.

Case in point…

There is currently a shortage of aluminum cans, so when you hear about the beverage industry discontinuing those “boutique” brands, understand what is really happening. Then there is the CO2 issue (carbonation). But gasoline consumption is starting to come back, so ethanol blending in is a bit of recovery. But can it offset the shift from bottled and tap products to product consumption in cans?

Once upon a time, manufacturers kept an abundant supply of materials on hand to withstand hiccups in the supply chain. That meant tying up investment dollars. Those days are gone as Just-in-time inventory has become the norm. Digital tracking using bar codes and scanners has really simplified the process.

Some companies do struggle with tracking

My freezer gave up the ghost in early March. I quickly ordered one from company A, only to find out it would be a couple of weeks. That time went by and after some heated phone calls, was given a very firm

date, as to when it would arrive. That date passed with no freezer and subsequent calls revealed they had no idea but expected sometime in August. I realize that shoplifting of items really messes with inventory control, but a freezer!!

I cancelled the order from A and ordered from Company B. It arrived a week later. Maybe B had pilfered from A. I do not know. It was the same model number and make.

I only bring this up as a caution related to any vaccine. The packaging, shipping and delivery of said vaccine to your doctor's office is not magical. The vaccine may be immune to covid-19, but not to supply chain disruptions. 

Commonization

Once upon a time, every company used different suppliers from their competitors and even different materials for each product. The suppliers were able to convince companies that using the same parts or components across multiple platforms/products would result in reduced cost per component. This led to many components being similar or same across competing companies.

I base this on my experience in the automotive field, but see it played out across many other fields. Therefore, I suspect the supply chain disruption is still in play, coupled with the disruption of end user spending habits. Yes, once upon a time I actually worked.

Economic news..

The 2nd Qtr GDP will be announced this week, as well as revisions for all past quarters. The outlook ranges from -14.7% annually to -34%. What is mystifying to me is the 3rd qtr expectation of 13.3% annually. I simply cannot see that happening without another round massive unemployment compensation. The national debt is now $26.5T, after being $22T one year ago. Debt to the public has risen from $16.2T to $20.6T.  

Lighter fare…

My crystal ball indicates Biden at 252 electoral votes and Trump with 126 at this point in time. There are still 160 EVs undetermined. Biden has a significant edge in the those, most notably… Michigan (16), Minnesota (10), and Pennsylvania (20).

My wife and I watch quite a bit of TV and a bit of that is national news. I would request the news media be a bit more mindful of some of their visual reporting. Showing scenes of crowded hospitals and dire messages of pending doom interspersed with hospital staff not wearing mask tends seems to be sending a mixed message. Granted some or all of those scenes are likely something called "b" roll, but I would think a better job of editing would be in order. Of course, sending mixed visual messages to further confuse and divide the public might be the real purpose. 

The governor of my state is expected to announce a roll back of openings, etc. come this week. As I use curbside for groceries and non contact restaurant delivery... not seeing it impacting me. I do need to fill up on gasoline, as the tank is getting low. I could put the mower gas in the tank, as rain has been in extremely short supply and nothing really in sight. My yardwork has been walking around the yard, weed-eating random weeds.

I recently read on a local message board where someone was looking for references to a good chiropractor of animals. Once upon a time (not long ago) I would have considered this a sign of a world going mad. How times have changed.

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Baron Creek
1  author  Baron Creek    2 weeks ago

Sitting around the house in my underwear, sure does reduce the frequency of laundry!!

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
1.1  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Baron Creek @1    2 weeks ago

Fully understandable - save on soap and water.  Until it got really hot here I spent most of my time in my pajamas because I almost never went out, but these days shorts and T-shirts are the rule. 

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
2  Vic Eldred    2 weeks ago

Let me put a positive spin on this. I remember those shortages and where I live, they are history. The worst part was when we thought there would be a shortage of meat, which was quickly prevented by someone I won't bother to name. I have used Walmart delivery throughout. At one point it was so bad that the delivery day could be weeks after the order and there were likely to be many out-of-stocks. Within the past 3 weeks or so, Walmart has returned to next day delivery and has gone one better - they now deliver (for an extra $10.) withing two hours of the order being placed!

 
 
 
Baron Creek
2.1  author  Baron Creek  replied to  Vic Eldred @2    2 weeks ago

I've gone exclusively with curbside, via Walmart and Kroger (no extra fees). I order Kroger first and then Walmart, each weekly. Hopefully, soon I will achieve targets on reserves and will then cut back to just stock replenishment. The refrigerator freezer and deep freeze are nearly full and I placed shelves in one room which still need to be filled in. I could go a few months as it stands now.

 
 
 
Krishna
3  Krishna    2 weeks ago

Speaking of shortages-- here's an interesting bit of trivia-- there's a severe shortage of-- Helium! (although it started long before the virus).

Probably most people will not be too worried about this (afterall, when was the last time you went to a store to buy some Helium-- and found it was out of stock?)

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
4  Trout Giggles    2 weeks ago

As long as I can still get TP, paper towels, and kleenex I will be ok