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Adlen Robinson: It’s interesting to see what people are hoarding

When this whole pandemic began, I didn’t rush out to buy food or other supplies. I had just made a pretty big grocery run, so I didn’t see the need to go shopping. When I did venture out, actually needing to restock our toilet paper supply and other things, guess what? Yep. No toilet paper or paper towels anywhere. 

We don’t drink bottled water (we have filters on the sink and the refrigerator), but I noticed there seemed to be a run on bottled water. Curious, I thought.

I began observing what items were being bought up quickly. Toilet paper, paper towels, Lysol and hand wipes were at the top of the list. 

Adlen Robinson
- photo by Adlen Robinson
Even now, when you do find these items, you feel like you won the lottery. But flour? That seemed odd to me. All I could reason was that people were all home baking. 

 One shopping trip I needed beans for chili and was surprised all of the canned beans were gone. No worries, I thought. I will just get dried beans. Nope. They were sold out too. That really surprised me — who would have ever thought all of the dried beans would sell out?

When I needed peroxide, I asked the grocery store worker where it was. She looked at me incredulously and said they couldn’t keep it on the shelves. What? What were people hoarding peroxide for?

Another shopping trip I needed some frozen edamame for an Asian dinner. There was none. I went to three stores and they were all sold out of frozen edamame. Ditto for tofu. That was a first, for sure. I never thought I would see the day when tofu was a commodity.

I noticed there were slim pickings for frozen pizza. Actually, several times I saw frozen vegetables of all sorts were gone. Pasta and spaghetti sauce have definitely been flying off of the shelves.

Our son who lives in Nashville said he noticed there was often only grass fed beef and organic chicken instead of regular beef and chicken. Locally, we found that Leonard’s Farmers Market was always well stocked with beef and chicken — as well as lots of other things. Speaking of Leonard’s, I so hope everybody supports our awesome local businesses whenever possible.

 I asked some of my friends what odd things they had trouble finding these strange past weeks. One said there was no nail polish remover. Perhaps that is because the nail salons were closed for weeks. 

Another friend said she needed baking soda to bake a birthday cake for her husband and she had to go to several stores to find some. I noticed yeast was also sold out a few times. One friend said the entire baking aisle at her grocery store has been consistently empty. I guess we have all become bakers during this time.

While many things have been scarce, for the most part, grocery stores did an awesome job staying stocked. We are all blessed to live in a country where you can find food when you need it. Most of us can’t imagine dealing with rations and barren shelves — something that is sadly the reality for millions of people around the globe. 

My hopes and prayers remain strong for our readers to stay strong and healthy. As always, I love hearing from you. Please email me your thoughts!  

South Forsyth resident Adlen Robinson is author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” Email her at