Chaika 3 (on redscale film) – Queue by Jaroslav A. Polak is in the public domain (CC0 1.0). Lines like this outside a grocery store were normative in the Soviet Union.

In the Soviet Union and Venezuela, grocery shopping involved/involves listening for rumors of which store got a shipment overnight, standing in line for hours, looking at lots of empty shelves, and going to the store daily to see if what you need might actually be on the shelf today.

If you have been awake the last seven days, you know that is what grocery shopping looks like in the U.S. today.

The difference between the Evil Empire and the worker’s paradise of Venezuela on one hand and the United States on the other hand is that the supply chain in the U.S. is still stocking the shelves and in a week or two or three will have them filled up.

Based on this morning’s outing to our favorite store, I’ll guess they got several tractor trailers filled with stuff last night.  The line out the door, fifteen minutes after they opened, went about 70 feet (my guess) down the sidewalk, turned into the parking lot and snaked across the front of the shopping center another 150 feet (my guess).  Everyone had a shopping cart so they were keeping good distance.

That was too much of a wait for what I’m looking for so went to the nearest store to us.

I was a few minutes too late for toilet paper, but scored one 6-pack of off-brand paper towel. The “welcome customers, please remember there is a limit of two paper products, only one paper towel and one toilet paper, thank you” announcement was given twice while I was in the store.  Also scored some disinfectant spray.

As is usual these days, the milk, eggs, toilet paper, and pasta sections were stripped bare in the store I visited.  There were just a few cans of soup, half a dozen paper towels, a few packs of sandwich buns (no bread!), and a minimal amount of fresh meat still in stock. Lots of other areas had visibly lower stock than usual.

Oh yeah, long lines at check out too.

If you didn’t know better, after vising a grocery store in the last few days you’d think you were in the old Soviet Union or present day Venezuela.

The difference is our shelves will get restocked. Soon.

If you think socialism is a good thing, imagine the way grocery stores look today as being a permanent fixture of life, day after day, year in and year out, for the rest of your life.  I am not able to comprehend why anyone would wish for such things.


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