I was working in retail management back when “Just In Time” inventory management programs first began rolling out. Prior to that time, many stores had large stock rooms where they’d keep extra product, ready to roll out to the sales floor as needs warranted. As shipping times decreased as technology improved, it became unnecessary to keep such large inventories on hand. If a product sold out on a Monday, they could have it replenished by mid-afternoon the next day in many cases. Plus, retailers noted that these large stock rooms meant less square footage that could make money.
Over a period of just a few years, many retailers drastically reduced the size of those stock rooms, investing in massive remodeling efforts to expand the sales floor. The end result is a dramatic reduction in the total product on hand in a given store. For the most part, what you see on the store shelves is pretty much it.
Honestly, it makes good business sense.
For quite some time, prepper literature has focused on a three day limit on available product in stores. Meaning, the theory is the average grocery store or discount retailer has an average of about three days worth of product in the store at any given time, and that three day guideline is predicated upon “normal” shopping patterns.
The reality though is if there were a massive run on products, say in the face of a coming disaster, that three day guideline will be significantly reduced. How much reduced?
11 minutes or so.
That’s how long it took a Walmart in the area affected by Hurricane Katrina to get pretty much wiped out, from what I’m told.
So, if your plan is to hit the store one last time before disaster hits, think again.