I am not an economist. I don’t even keep a checkbook register any longer since I write about one check a year. Of course, there is money coming out of my checking account all the time since I autopay almost all of my bills. I’ve had a bank account of some sort since I was 14 years old. After 50-some years, I have decided to trust my bank that they are keeping accurate track of my millions. Well, hundreds. Well, the few linty pennies I find at the bottom of my purse.
Perhaps it’s because I’m not an economist that this whole dearth of goods is flummoxing me. Every night when I turn on the news, I hear that the fact that no one wants a job any more is the cause of random blank spaces on grocery shelves. Dems blame it on COVID, Republicans blame it on Dems. I don’t know who to blame, but I sure would like to buy cotton balls when I need cotton balls.
Cotton balls. That was the item a few weeks ago that I couldn’t find anywhere. It wasn’t from a lack of trying, I assure you. I tried King Soopers; I tried Walmart; I tried Target. The cotton balls had apparently gotten rotten and so they couldn’t pick a-very much cotton.
I use one cotton ball a day, so it’s not like I have the need for a plethora of cotton balls. A bag of 300 cotton balls lasts me almost a year. Well, 65 days short of a year except on a Leap Year in which I need one more cotton ball. I use a cotton ball to clean my face. When I get down to about 25 cotton balls remaining, I go to the grocery store and buy a 300-count bag of cotton balls. Except there were no cotton balls.
So I did what anyone with a brain and a smart phone would do: I went on Amazon. A bag of 300 cotton balls was $12. I wasn’t about to pay twelve bucks for cotton balls, so I decided I could use tissues until the cotton ball ship came in. And then I thought about Walmart online.
Eurika. They had cotton balls available online for $1.88 for a 300-count bag. They would ship to the store, so no cost of shipping. I put a bag of cotton balls in my shopping cart and got ready to click the order button. And then I decided I was too embarrassed to go to a Walmart store, give them my name, and have the clerk walk all the way to the back of the store, dig through the orders, and find that the nutcase up front ordered one bag of cotton balls. They might be so frustrated that they will quit their job and we will be one clerk shorter on the work front.
I ordered three.
Any given day, I am unprepared for what I can’t find. The other day I went to Trader Joe’s to buy cool Trader Joe’s stuff, most of which is frozen. Bill was at boxing, but it was not a big problem that I was buying frozen food because I would also buy one of their cool insulated bags to keep the food cold until we got home. Except when I got to the cashier and asked for one of their cool insulated bags, the woman sighed, looked forlornly at the spot where insulated bags would normally be kept, and told me dolefully that she had ordered insulated bags, but they were floating on a ship somewhere in the Pacific Ocean because there were no dockworkers to unload the Trader Joe’s bags (and likely other things).
Yesterday, I was at the grocery store, and the missing food item was chicken thighs. There were chicken breasts galore. There were drumsticks and wings. Alas, there wasn’t a thigh to be had. There was a gap where there should have been thighs. I don’t quite understand this phenomenon. Are there chickens who have drumsticks going directly to their breasts? Why are there breasts and legs, but no thighs?
I know that this, too, shall pass. In the meantime, I am going hoard cotton balls like they are toilet paper!