Report from Louisiana: Shortages

Posted: April 4, 2022 by Pat Austin in Uncategorized
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Photo by John Cameron on Unsplash

By: Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – I miss the days when I could get my grocery list at one store.

I am one of those people who go to the grocery store several times a week; I plan a meal and then I go get what I need. I avoid canned vegetables when I can and buy fresh whenever possible. For the most part, I buy meat when it’s on sale and stock the freezer. I seldom keep milk (unless I’m on a rare cereal binge) but we always have eggs.

So, I’m in a grocery store several times a week depending on what is going on in my kitchen. As threats of food shortages loom, I am one of those people that will have to readjust my shopping habits.  And you know, the strangest things end up being absent from the shelves. There is no rhyme or reason to it, as a rule.

Is this regional? Nationwide? I mean, are saltines missing all over the country, or just where I am? A couple of weeks ago it was pasta; no egg noodles were to be found at any store in town. For the longest time I couldn’t get Powerade. It’s just weird. And not that I buy them, but my store is always out of Ramen noodles. Huge bare gaps in the shelves where Ramen used to be plentiful.

Now I am hearing about an egg shortage, and it makes me wish I kept chickens.

Not really.

I don’t want chickens.

But again: changing shopping habits. As this weird shortage thing continues, we may even have to change eating habits, too.

Food prices are also changing how we all shop. I’ve never been a coupon clipper; I tried it years ago. I would hear about women that saved 75% of their grocery bill using coupons and taking advantage of rebates, but I could never achieve that. I would forget my coupons, or I would resent having to purchase three bottles of ketchup to save twenty-five cents and so I’d just buy one bottle when I needed it. Coupon clipping never worked for me.

That being said, I do find myself checking the sale papers now and when things I actually use are on sale I will stock up and buy extra. I’ve never done that before and I don’t have a lot of storage room in my kitchen.

I say all of this not because anyone on the planet cares about my shopping habits, but I do have concern about where all of this shortage business will end, and I worry about how prices will go. Reportedly, food prices will rise at least another ten percent in coming days. I don’t know how struggling families will manage these higher fuel and food prices.

I’m no economist by any means but even I can see that it is the working middle class that is getting hammered. Those people who don’t qualify for SNAP benefits and who are working multiple jobs just to hang on – these are the people that are suffering.


I have set out a couple of tomato plants and I wish I had room for a full-blown garden. Maybe we all need to go back to neighborhood Victory gardens

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport and at Medium; she is the author of Cane River Bohemia: Cammie Henry and her Circle at Melrose Plantation. Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25 and Twitter @paustin110.

  1. Pod Hamp says:

    Got a chuckle reading your post about grocery shopping. I went this afternoon for our weekly stock up. Since my wife likes grocery shopping about as much as I like clothes shopping, I generally go alone. It’s always an adventure to find out what is there and what is out of stock. Jugs of water are back in stock after a long absence, but the pasta section is a disaster area. Easter candy is bountiful, but the sliced cheese was not. I was able to find everything on the list and picked a little extra to squirrel away in the basement. Picked up the food storage habit from Mormon neighbors and relatives, and it has served us well. Even if the items I buy would get me frowned at by the Bishop. Anyway, from my reading I gather that things will get worse before they get better, so I ought to take it seriously. Maybe I will wait until after Easter and stock up on chocolate bunnies in the clearance baskets! ;o)