What I’m seeing in stores

Observations from the last few weeks, both at work and while shopping.

The grocery stores are well stocked on flour, well, untill you look closer. Lots of bread flour, all purpose flour, and bleached white. Some speciality flours (I actually found rye at my local grocery for the first time EVER), but NO whole wheat in any brand.

Is there a shortage of canned cat foods? Specifically Fancy Feast, which I’ve now seen to be short at several different stores, including one pet store, but also related sized cans in at least a couple brands (for all I know they’re all made by the same factories, I’ve been to lazy to check). Also, kitty litter seems to be short, it sold out when the original shut down happened, but recovered quickly. Now suddenly its short again.

Feminine sanitary products shortages. IE: tampons, pads etc. The grocery store I shop at the most, the one in the larger city near my work, has had less than full shelves since this all started back in March, but about Oct-ish I noticed the shelves were decidedly empty looking, and Nov-ish I noticed they cut the available shelf space in half. Now even that shelf space is looking pretty damn empty. I forgot to check at my local to home grocery last time I was in there.

Cleaning supplies are still fucked. Shelves only look full because of creative stocking and random brand availability, if you actually look close there’s ALOT of products still missing. Though I actually saw multi-surface 409 at work a couple weeks ago, it was one case, but it was the first I’ve seen since this started. In addition brands that we were able to get all summer are suddenly not available at all. Specific examples include Spray Nine and Greased Lightening. And I won’t discuss toilet bowl cleaners in any brand, lets just say that if you see it you’d better grab a bottle, cause god only knows when you’ll see it again.

Paper goods do seem to be recovering, though they’re still not back to normal levels.


Snowflake stars

A large part of what has kept me sane this year has been the discovery of chainmail.

Being able to create a whole and entire pretty little thing in the space of an hour or two makes me smile. Even though most days I can only get 2 or 3 such things done in a day before my hands throw a fit, it still makes me smile.

So I decided to spread the cheer a bit, and I mailed out a BUNCH of snowflake stars to friends and family this year.


Christmas Memes

If you follow me on FB or Twitter you’ve already seen these, but I thought I’d collect them all together for one meme dump here.

One question before I start. Is there interest in me continuing meme dumps into the new year? I’m still going strong on FB, and people there are definitely appreciative, and I know the smiles are welcome, and I appreciate knowing I made someone smile. Do you all want this to continue here?

Read moreChristmas Memes


Vaccine numbers, reality

If one more person tells me “omg, we have a vaccine, we can get back to normal!!!!”…..

Ok, numbers.

Pfizer’s vaccine requires two doses. Pfizer says it plans to produce 1,300,000,000 doses by the end of 2021. That’s 650,000,000 vaccinated people if everything goes smoothly and there’s no unexpected problems.

According to the US Census bureau there’s over 330,000,000 people in the USA. So IN THEORY Pfizer can vaccinate everyone in the USA by the end of 2021 no problem.

Of course, Pfizer is also sending some of that vaccine outside of the USA, (which makes sense, because if we don’t vaccinate the entire god-dammed world the virus is just going to spread and mutate to the point where who knows if the vaccine will work,) but hey, there’s other vaccines about to be on the market. Let’s assume (and as of right now that’s a hell of an assumption, but hey, we’ll run with it) Moderna can also produce enough vaccines to vaccinate 650,000,000 people by the end of 2021.

The same Census bureau link above says estimated world population is over 7,730,000,000. Assuming vaccine production as stated above, thats approx 1/7 of the world’s population vaccinated. But hey, Australia is also working on a vaccine, so another 650,000,000 people vaccinated (maybe, if we’re lucky). And while I’ve not been following TO closely I’m sure other countries are also trying to develop vaccines.

But 7.7 billion people is ALOT of doses of vaccine, even if all the other vaccines are single shots not doubles like Pfizer’s.

Assuming that nothing goes wrong with production or distribution. Hint, things are already trying to go wrong.

That assumes that all vaccines are equally good at preventing people from getting sick, not all countries medical establishments are up to USA standards.

Or that they’ll actually stop the spread of the virus. Hint, last time I checked Pfizer’s vaccine stopped you from feeling the symptoms of Covid19, but they didn’t actually know if it stopped you from SPREADING the virus, which is a bit of a loophole since even if everyone in the world WANTED the vaccine there are people who CAN NOT get it.

And hell, they don’t actually know how many people, minimum, they have to vaccinate in order to ensure herd immunity. So while yes, they probably don’t actually have to vaccinate all 7.7 billion people in order to stop the spread, they have no way of knowing when they’ll hit that benchmark.

And that assumes everyone is willing and able to take the vaccine. As noted above there are people who are going to be medically advised NOT to take it. And polls are varying, by ALOT, of what percentage of people are going to be WILLING to take the vaccine, at least here in the USA. I’m seeing numbers saying between 30 to over 50% of people are either planning on refusing the vaccine, or are planning on waiting as long as possible because they worry about the side effects. Right or wrong it’s going to happen that people are going to refuse it, and it’s not going to be just the usual vaccine refusers either.

Covid19 isn’t going to go away any time soon. And if you think all the various businesses that keep being partially or fully shut down are going to last through another year of this mess you’re dreaming. Nor can our government afford to bail out the entire USA for another year, or years.

Nor are you going to get everyone to wear a mask, this is the USA, right or wrong our fight reflex is to strong. It’s not going to happen. Making people criminals for not wearing a mask, while releasing criminals because OMG they might get sick in prison, is counter productive.

Look, if you feel safer wearing a mask, wear it. If you feel safer keeping your kid out of school cause you’re worried about the school spread then do it (hint, more and more studies are showing remarkably little spread via in person schooling) then figure out a way to keep them properly educated and socialized from home. If you feel safer not getting your nails done, hair cut, or eating out, then do what you need to do to make you feel safe.

And I do think that the spread of hands free shopping, and deliveries, and curb-side pick-ups and the like is a good thing. As is the recognition that the general public is a filthy mass and maybe we should all be cleaning a bit more to stop the spread of things like the flu. And I’d definitely like to see a wider recognition that if you’re sick, even if it’s “just a cold”, then stay home.

But this screaming panic over this is doing SO MUCH MORE damage than the virus itself. Even if all the long term side effects of getting it turn out to be truly bad.

No, I don’t want your grandma to die of Covid so that the rest of us can have “normal” lives. But I don’t want your grandma dying of loneliness and despair in a nursing home because she hasn’t seen her family in person in months, or even touched another human being, either.

I don’t want women dying of breast cancer, or ovarian cancer, because they missed their annual checkup which would have found it and so it doesn’t get caught until to late. Or any one of another from a HUGE list of medical problems that preventive and voluntary medical procedures are meant to catch.

And I’m sick to hell already of watching small business after small business fail this year after their owners have struggled to keep them going.

And all that IS happening.

And maybe, just maybe, consider that the USA’s news cycle thrives on the negative, and that maybe, just maybe, you’re being fed deliberately bad news in order to hook you in. It’s not a conspiracy, it’s how they survive. I noticed it all the way back on 9/11/2001, so its not new.

So take a deep breath, step away from the news pages telling you how bad it is, and figure out how to live.

Edit:

shortly after posting the above I found THIS. *sarcasm* But hey, we’re protecting the children, so its all ok. */sarcasm*

And its not just the kids. Winter is a horrible time for depresion anyway, especially after the holidays. This year? Well, the holidays aren’t going to be very holiday-ish. I can guarantee that more and more adults are feeling depressed this year too. Between the fear of the virus, fear of job security, fear of loss of income, and how am I going to feed my family, on top of lack of socializing and interacting. I’ve certainly seen deteriorating interpersonal skills in my customers since this started. I’m sure the depression is right there with it. If you need additional help to get through this make sure you get it.

And yah, stay away from the news. Its not worth it.


No No No No!

Ran across this article yesterday.

Shutting down businesses and paying people for lost wages for four to six weeks could help keep the coronavirus pandemic in check and get the economy on track until a vaccine is approved and distributed, said Dr. Michael Osterholm, a coronavirus advisor to President-elect Joe Biden.

…….

“We could pay for a package right now to cover all of the wages, lost wages for individual workers for losses to small companies to medium-sized companies or city, state, county governments. We could do all of that,” he said. “If we did that, then we could lockdown for four-to-six weeks.”

…….

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/11/11/biden-covid-advisor-says-us-lockdown-of-4-to-6-weeks-could-control-pandemic-and-revive-economy.html

Ok, first of all, where the hell do you plan to GET that much money?? Oh I know, you’ll borrow it. Nice, that’ll TOTALLY solve the economy problem…..And what about those of us who work for big sized companies? I mean, sure, my job is actually pretty secure, but not ALL big sized companies are. And if THEY start failing……that’s a hell of a trigger point there.

Then there’s the little fact that the economy is about more than just money. Money is only good for buying things. If you shut everything down again there won’t be anything to buy you moron! All the stimulus paychecks in the world won’t solve THAT.

You DO recall what happened in March when things shut down right? Despite frantic attempts to keep SOMETHING on the store shelves just about every store that was able to remain open ended up with empty shelves. Canned foods? Nope. Milk? Nope. Paper goods? Nope. Peanut butter? Nope. Disinfecting cleaning supplies? Nope. And while some of that was the result of people panicking and buying whatever they could get their hands on, not all of it was. Manufacturers are currently HOPING they’ll be able to be back to normal schedules at some point in 2021. HOPING! They are NOT caught up. Not even Kinda. Another 6 week shutdown, before they’re caught up? No, no, no, no…..

Oh, but the grocery shelves are back to normal! Right? No, no they aren’t. And neither are the cleaning supplies. Or, or, or…..the stores have just become really creative at how they stock the shelves. But if you know what you’re looking for? Yah, its really really obvious. Look, I’ve mentioned before that I have a wholesale foods account. The pricelist from the wholesaler back in March was 30 pages long, single column. Their current price list? 2 pages, double column. There’s SO MUCH stuff they can’t get right now. And what they can get, quantities still aren’t back to normal. And cleaning supplies? Look, I personally sell those at my work. There are entire brand lines of products that I haven’t seen even a single case of since this started.

And don’t get me started on Christmas. I hate to advocate buying your Christmas decor early. But this year? Buy it now. Or it won’t be there when you do go to the store. The ONLY thing we have plenty of stock of is pre-lit trees. We have NO backstock of ornaments. Barely any backstock of yard decor and blowups. No where NEAR enough backstock of lights. And the stock we do have? The selection isn’t near as wide as usual.

And then there’s the fact that the shutdown literally killed people. An awful lot of those “non-essential” medical treatments are only non-essential because the thing they treat was caught early enough to keep it from being an emergency. Or because they’re preventative, to keep things from becoming an emergency. Take away the availability of those treatments and suddenly there’s a lot more things that end up being emergencies, or that aren’t caught at all until it’s to late. And the lack of contact for seniors and the disabled stuck in assisted living and nursing homes? Yah, that killed some of them too, and set others back drastically.

Not to mention that all that assumes that we’ll HAVE a functional, GOOD, vaccine by the end of that 6 weeks. And yes, I know, it looks like we might. But might is not 100%. And no, I won’t be taking a vaccine that was rushed through trials that way. I WILL claim religious exemption if I need to. I’m not anti vaccine, they’re good things. But one that was rushed through like this? That we have NO CLUE what the long term outlook of it is? Fuck no. And I’m not the only one feeling twitchy at the way they’re rushing this vaccine through.

Look I get it. Nasty scary virus we don’t understand completely. But if the “cure” is doing more damage than the bug there’s a hell of a problem in how you’re doing it.