Yesterday on my way to home, I heard on radio that some Costco stores in the California’s Bay area are setting limits on how much rice and flour a customer can purchase. According to Costco’s CEO, the limits were put in place after what he saw as “unusual demands” for basic items. And Costco is not alone. Today, a story in USA Today says that Costco’s rival, Sam’s Club, is also limiting the amount of rice its customers can buy.
So what’s the reason behind the action from warehouse clubs like Costco and Sam’s Club, which serve both individual shoppers and small business owners? Apparently, it has something to do with the recent surge of rice price, as well as the prices of corn and wheat. Increased media coverage on food shortage in some countries (UN’s World Food Program yesterday called the food crisis a “silent tsunami of hunger“) also fueled concerns among consumers in this country about supplies of food staples, though there’s no shortage here in the U.S.
Tonight, when I told my wife the stories I heard about Costco and Sam’s Club, she said maybe we should get a couple of bags of rice this weekend, just in case. Since a 20-lb bag of rice, which typically costs between $8 and $15, can last nearly two months in our house, I am far from in the panic mode. However, with food prices on the rise, groceries are taking a bigger and bigger share in our monthly expenses, just like gasoline.
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