News & Politics

'Experts' Float Trial Balloon: Hey, What if We Closed Grocery Stores While We're at It?

Empty shelves for disinfectant wipes wait for restocking, as concerns grow around COVID-19, Tuesday March 3, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

Earlier today after I made my coffee I noticed we were a little low on milk. So I timed my grocery store run to a point in the day I figured the local HEB would be less crowded, and I went for it. The store was well-stocked, everyone was friendly and observing distance and mask requirements, and I got what I needed and got home. But what if I couldn’t do that? Today I’d have had coffee black, which isn’t a huge deal, but in a few days I’d have less and less to eat for myself and my family. A hungry writer is an unhappy writer.

Now multiply that unhappiness across the entire country.

What if families with infants couldn’t make a run to get diapers, formula or whatever else they need to keep the kids fed? What if “experts” from someplace get to tell grocery stores nationwide that it’s time to shut the doors and force everyone to use online ordering and curbside or delivery to get what we need to survive?

It’s a scary thought. And it begs the question: Why even consider it at this point?

Have we bent the curve or not? If you look at the chart the White House released last week, downstate New York has the most coronavirus cases by far and the rest of the U.S. is doing ok as things are.

Matt did a great job breaking out the numbers showing just how badly that part of New York is suffering, and how its caseload skews the national numbers. In his last two or three virus briefings, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo even said they’re making great progress with current restrictions there.

So why float the idea of closing off grocery stores to foot traffic? That’s what CNN and its “experts” are doing.

It just might break the one bit of normal we have left right now. And it’s a really good way to create even more unrest across the whole country.

Screenshot from CNN story

If you read the actual story, the “experts” pushing for closing grocery stores to foot traffic are mostly labor union reps, a professor, and owners of small boutique grocery stores.

The large chains know this can’t be done and it’s a terrible idea.

A Trader Joe’s representative said that while “we understand that during this time customers would appreciate a delivery or pick up service,” the grocer’s “systems are not set up in a way that would allow us to be able to offer these services, and at the same time maintain our commitment to offering value to our customers.”
Switching to online pickup and delivery may also burden low-income customers who can’t afford fees that often come with these orders, customers without internet access and food stamp recipients. Most food stamp recipients are ineligible to use their assistance to purchase groceries online, although the Department of Agriculture has doubled the number of states that allow food recipients to order online in the past few weeks.
And converting to online-only may not completely solve the safety problem either because an influx of gig workers would have to be in the store to pick and fulfill all of the orders.
Nope, it won’t solve that problem at all. And it would be a problem. Currently I can go to the local store and get whatever I need most of the time. Whoever is keeping HEB’s supply line going ought to be advising the White House because they’re doing very well even after a month of disruption. But online orders from the same store are now delayed seven days. That’s a staff issue. To fix that, grocery stores would have to hire far more staff just to fill all the orders, plus it would be dealing with far more Instacart-type gig shoppers and drivers who would do the delivery side. The stores would hire more staff, and then feel a pinch in their own narrow operational profit margins. And the unions would demand concessions for the new workers that the stores cannot afford. It’s a recipe for yet another disaster, only in our food supply. So it’s pretty important.
And if you think people are protesting now, wait until they can’t feed themselves and their families because stores that have food won’t let them in to buy it.
Most Americans can’t pick up a rifle, head off to the woods and take down a deer to put on the dinner table. Michigan’s power-mad governor won’t even let people buy seeds to grow their own food. And so-called experts want to keep people from grocery shopping? When we’re apparently doing better in the virus war, even in New York?
All those grocery stores will need to arm up like Fort Knox if they do that.
So they really ought not do that.
Editor’s Note: Want to support PJ Media so we can keep telling the truth about China and the virus they unleashed on the world? Join PJ Media VIP and use the promo code WUHAN to get 25% off your VIP membership.