Retail

Grocery Stores Decimated In Preparation For Hurricane Matthew

While most people think “milk, bread and eggs” when stocking up for a disaster, the run-up to Hurricane Matthew in South Florida has been marked by people stocking up on the three Bs: batteries, bottled water and booze.

That’s the reporting out of CNN this morning, as home improvement and grocery stores in Eastern Florida and South Carolina have been set upon en masse by those looking to stock up to prepare for the storm.

But even that is a bit misleading, as it turns out residents in the Southeastern U.S. have been stocking up on a bit of everything as they raced to get prepared for the hurricane that is battering the coast of Florida today (Oct. 7).

“I stocked my grocery cart with Gatorade because, when you don’t have electricity for a week, you’re sweating, you’re dehydrated and water just isn’t enough. You need the potassium and electrolytes to keep you going. And when you can’t wash dishes because you have no running water, you need paper everything, so we bought paper plates, paper cups and plastic cutlery. I’m a huge coffee drinker, but with no electricity, you can’t make coffee, so we bought soda as backup,” a Floridian pushing a laden cart told CNN.

By close of business on Thursday, Floridian grocery, big-box, wholesale and home improvement stores were largely picked clean of various storm essentials — bottled water, batteries, propane, first aid supplies — and not so essentials. Hostess snack cakes were reportedly particularly popular.

A little further north, South Carolinians were ramping up their preparation, with various residents telling media outlets they were trying to avoid the devastation of the region’s last major storm, Hurricane Hugo.

“Basically, water was the main thing,” a man said. “And we had to travel towns over for food.”

“Batteries, bleach, paper towels — other goods people don’t think about,” Save A Lot General Manager Paul Nicholas said. “Canned goods, tuna, little Vienna sausages, canned meat — anything they can use or eat if we do lose power for several days.”

And store managers are rushing to keep up with crowds.

“We don’t even worry about trying to keep the shelves filled,” Lynn Willard, owner of Lowcountry Grocers and Piggly Wiggly, said. “We just stack it out here. It sells so fast you can’t keep up with the shelves.”

In five minutes, full shelves in both of Willard’s stores were empty, according to reports.

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