Friday, March 27, 2020

Waiting in Vain? Tucsonans Line Up Early to Buy Groceries

Posted By on Fri, Mar 27, 2020 at 11:30 AM

click to enlarge AUSTIN COUNTS
  • Austin Counts
Dozens of Tucsonans waited outside Fry's Grocery Store at Grant Road and Swan Road at 6 A.M. to be the first to procure necessity items like eggs, milk, bread and toilet paper once the doors open at 7 A.M.

Recently the grocery store changed their hours to open for seniors at 6 A.M. Monday through Thursday, and then to the general public at 7 A.M. On Fridays, however, the store opens to everyone at 7 A.M. Young and old line up about a shopping cart's distance to wait the hour before the doors open to see which items have been restocked.

70-year-old Don Reister said this is his second time coming the grocery store this week. He came to Fry's early yesterday morning and waited, but they were out of what he needed once. He hopes today they'll have cheese, yogurt and blueberries in stock.

"I'm a little annoyed because I think people are getting out of hand with this," Reister said while waiting in the bitterly crisp morning air. "I just went yesterday and they didn't have anything."

At the front of the line is an employee of the store named Kevin (declined to give his last name). He is here on his day off to buy groceries for the week - and find out if he can pick up a few more shifts. Kevin has a hunch that out of stock items like toilet paper, bleach and paper towels were restocked the night before and will be on the shelves this morning.

"On these days, I'm just like any other customer," Kevin said waiting for his fellow employees to unlock the doors. "I like to start on (the toilet paper) aisle and work my way across. I hope a shipment came because I don't have much toilet paper at home."

Even though Kevin works at the store, he said he still has trouble getting his necessities like frozen dinners, cat litter, toothpaste and basic groceries. He believes the shortages are directly related to people hoarding during the coronavirus pandemic. 

"People are hoarding and over-buying stuff," Kevin said. "You don't know how long this is going to last before the virus is curtailed. People are just being crazy."

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