Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Run on Rice

I don't generally buy apocalyptic scenarios -- I think the future, even if dire, will be much more interesting than that -- but if I did, today's news that Sam's Club and Costco are limiting rice sales would be the third paragraph of the first chapter of any novel I were to write on the coming apocalypse, if I were to write one. It'd be that one little detail that came to importance in chapter 4.

I don't know what's worse news, that some customers feel they have to hoard grain or that the greedy merchants of capitalism can't sell it all to them.

It just makes you think. If the grocery stores were to close, it'd take me about three days -- maybe five -- until I had to become a rampaging thief.

The line it really quite thin, and getting even a tiny glimpse of it makes you think.

1 comment:

John Mashey said...

Nice article in SciAm this month (I assume that's you), but on this one, it might be more complicated.

Not to minimize food costs [as an old farmboy, I *don't* think food just appears in markets], BUT:

There was a quick mention on the radio (KQED, so might actually be NPR) today:

If Costco and Sam's Club were usual supermarkets, they'd just raise prices.

But since they are membership clubs that a) get money for memberships and
b) try to keep prices low, they'd rather use limits than raise prices a lot.

At least, the theory of the show was that they thought the limit would bother customers less than big price jumps.