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Grocery madness
Grocery - Super Rama.jpg
Super Rama manager Keith Hollingsworth shows where shoppers have wiped out the toilet paper aisle, buying every package in the store. He said Monday was probably the busiest day the store has ever had.

If Americans continue their maddening pace of grocery shopping, shortages on some items could be expected.

Truckloads are still arriving at area stores, but buying is outpacing inventory.

“The warehouses have limited what we can receive to 20 percent above our normal purchasing history,” said Keith Hollingsworth, manager of Super Rama on Morford Street. “Right now we’re selling 200 percent above normal. It started Friday and continued all weekend. Monday was probably the biggest day we’ve ever had. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen anything like this and I’ve been in the grocery business for 35 years.”

Hollingsworth says meat is being purchased as quickly as it is set in coolers. He was hoping to get 100 cases of toilet paper on Monday and only 30 cases arrived. Those sold almost immediately, he said.

“It will probably be early April before any hand sanitizer gets here,” said Hollingsworth. “For some products it might turn into a case of buying them when they’re available.”

With grocery stores becoming epicenters of activity, Hollingsworth is concerned about the health of his employees.

“What are we going to do if the people at grocery stores get sick?” he said. “I’m not sure how this is going to play out.”

Across town at Northgate Center, the same story is being told at Save-A-Lot.

“This has been like a souped-up snowstorm scare,” said Save-A-Lot manager Jeff Ashford on Monday. “We did almost three times what we normally do on Friday and Saturday. Sunday was pretty busy but not as bad. Today it’s getting more controllable. It feels like it might be tapering off but news could break tonight that would pick it right back up.”

Ashford said customers have been buying canned goods by the cases and buying in much larger quantities than usual. So what’s been selling?

“Water and toilet paper are the top two items,” said Ashford. “We’ve been ordering extra trucks and have more of everything on the way. The only thing we can’t order more of right now is toilet paper. It’s out of stock.”

Ashford said staples like bread, milk and eggs have been top sellers.