Wanna Be Rice-Buyer: This Is Ridiculous

21 04 2008

Well, here is a taste of it: Food Rationing Confronts Breadbasket of the World

Many parts of America, long considered the breadbasket of the world, are now confronting a once unthinkable phenomenon: food rationing. Major retailers in New York, in areas of New England, and on the West Coast are limiting purchases of flour, rice, and cooking oil as demand outstrips supply. There are also anecdotal reports that some consumers are hoarding grain stocks.

At a Costco Warehouse in Mountain View, Calif., yesterday, shoppers grew frustrated and occasionally uttered expletives as they searched in vain for the large sacks of rice they usually buy.

“Where’s the rice?” an engineer from Palo Alto, Calif., Yajun Liu, said. “You should be able to buy something like rice. This is ridiculous.”

Well, let’s see. First grow rice and engineers over there, then send away all your engineers, then not so much rice. That’s the Asian method.

Over here, import engineers and grow corn, government subsidize corn for engineers to make ethanol, then not so much food of any type as more acreage is artificially pushed into indirect ethanol production and corn becomes artificially scarce because the government is paying people to make ethanol with it. Finally, complain about rest of the world’s inability to send us affordable rice. That’s the American method.

The bustling store in the heart of Silicon Valley usually sells four or five varieties of rice to a clientele largely of Asian immigrants, but only about half a pallet of Indian-grown Basmati rice was left in stock. A 20-pound bag was selling for $15.99.

“You can’t eat this every day. It’s too heavy,” a health care executive from Palo Alto, Sharad Patel, grumbled as his son loaded two sacks of the Basmati into a shopping cart. “We only need one bag but I’m getting two in case a neighbor or a friend needs it,” the elder man said.

The Patels seemed headed for disappointment, as most Costco members were being allowed to buy only one bag. Moments earlier, a clerk dropped two sacks back on the stack after taking them from another customer who tried to exceed the one-bag cap.

“Due to the limited availability of rice, we are limiting rice purchases based on your prior purchasing history,” a sign above the dwindling supply said.

Hey – who’s laughing at my 5-gallon pails of rice now? Huh? That’s what I thought.




One response

23 04 2008
Your Best Investment - Stocking the Pantry « Floyd’s

[…] Best Investment – Stocking the Pantry Jump to Comments I know I just posted about the rise in food prices the other day, but today the Wall Street Journal ran a piece called Load Up the Pantry which explains how much […]

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