Shortages in shops

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Tessa K
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Shortages in shops

Post by Tessa K » Mon Aug 09, 2021 10:25 am

Has anyone else in the UK (specifically London) noticed big gaps in the supermarket shelves? My Sainsbury's (quite a big one) has had shortages for a few weeks now, mostly its own-brand products. I'm assuming this is Brexit rather than Covid as they managed to keep the shelves stocked during the worst of the pandemic (after the initial panic buying was over).

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Re: Shortages in shops

Post by bagpuss » Mon Aug 09, 2021 10:40 am

I shop online with Ocado but I have noticed that some things suddenly go out of stock, sometimes going as far as saying "we don't sell this any more" only to suddenly be available again a couple of weeks later. And with Ocado, especially for fresh stuff, there are usually several alternatives so if a particular item is out of stock you can usually find a replacement, or if it is unexpectedly out of stock when your order is put together you just get subbed with a similar item or a different brand but recently it's been increasingly common for all the alternatives to be out of stock too, and for things not to get subbed at all. This has happened recently for certain salad items, for peaches, for chicken (although I don't think that's likely to be Brexit as a lot of the chicken is British) and I'm sure for some other things that I can't quite bring to mind at the moment. And other things that I order regularly that have never been out of stock in the past have suddenly gone out of stock for a couple of weeks here and there, though often with alternatives available.

I think it's a combination of Coronavirus, Brexit and a lack of HGV drivers (which, while very much exacerbated by Coronavirus and Brexit was apparently already becoming a bit of a concern before either hit us).

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Re: Shortages in shops

Post by lpm » Mon Aug 09, 2021 10:48 am

Sainsbury's is struggling for sure. No idea whether they've f.cked up something that other supermarkets have avoided.

But they've gone to the effort of producing special signs for their shops to place on the empty shelves - showing something's badly wrong.

Image

ETA: Sainsbury's even have a shortage of "We've got a shortage" signs

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Re: Shortages in shops

Post by Tessa K » Mon Aug 09, 2021 11:33 am

lpm wrote:
Mon Aug 09, 2021 10:48 am
Sainsbury's is struggling for sure. No idea whether they've f.cked up something that other supermarkets have avoided.

But they've gone to the effort of producing special signs for their shops to place on the empty shelves - showing something's badly wrong.

ETA: Sainsbury's even have a shortage of "We've got a shortage" signs
I'm not convinced there is high demand for things like turkey sausages, own-brand soya milk and pedal bin liners - three of the things I've failed to buy lately. Morrisons had own-brand soya milk. Fruit and veg seem mostly OK, possibly slightly down.

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Re: Shortages in shops

Post by Bird on a Fire » Mon Aug 09, 2021 11:41 am

This is due to the shortage of HGV drivers I expect, which is at least partly brexit related.

The solution will be drastically improved pay and conditions, and possibly shifting some of the training and licensing costs onto companies rather than individuals, as automation is a few years off maturity.
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Re: Shortages in shops

Post by bjn » Mon Aug 09, 2021 11:55 am

I've definitely noticed some empty shelves, it seems to be a bit random. Last week's shopping at the decent sized Satansbury's in Chiswick had most of the bottled water shelves completely bare.

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Re: Shortages in shops

Post by Martin Y » Mon Aug 09, 2021 11:59 am

Curious. I'm not a Sainsbury shopper usually, but can say that I've not seen any gaps in the shelves at our Tesco or the Asda near work.

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Re: Shortages in shops

Post by FlammableFlower » Mon Aug 09, 2021 12:19 pm

It'll be quite variable depending on the logistical infrastructure.

These shortages started quite a while ago - both our mid-sized local Co-op and the massive Sainsbury's have had shortages of veg (and salad in particular) for some time now - all the short shelf-life stuff that needs very regular deliveries. It's now spreading to other parts of the stores - Sainsbury's had no tonic water (seems everyone wants to be sure they've got enough G&T to drown their sorrows well into the future...).

A couple of weeks ago we were on holiday in the North York Moors - every supermarket there had shortages (Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's, Co-op).

Essentially it's the problems of Brexit that have been drastically accelerated by COVID. If we didn't have the pandemic, then I still think we'd have these problems (companies are never as pro-active as they could be or people think they might be), but they would have been longer drawn out and there would be the potential opportunity for "the market" to start to make corrections (pay, training etc) to mitigate a bit.

The gov and pro-Brexit types will be desperately trying to put all the blame on COVID/pingdemic, but this was predicted by people before we reached this stage.

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Re: Shortages in shops

Post by Brightonian » Mon Aug 09, 2021 1:11 pm

One could perhaps blame Brexit for the "pingdemic"/Covid contributions because Boris allowed Delta to spread more easily because he didn't want to close the door to India because he was holding out for a trade deal.

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Re: Shortages in shops

Post by dyqik » Mon Aug 09, 2021 1:37 pm

Martin Y wrote:
Mon Aug 09, 2021 11:59 am
Curious. I'm not a Sainsbury shopper usually, but can say that I've not seen any gaps in the shelves at our Tesco or the Asda near work.
Stores have been using things like large packs of bottled water or crisp multipacks to make gaps less obvious by spreading large items out along shelves for other products. Depending on how often you go in and how familiar you are with the layout, gaps may not be so obvious.

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Re: Shortages in shops

Post by Fishnut » Mon Aug 09, 2021 1:47 pm

dyqik wrote:
Mon Aug 09, 2021 1:37 pm
Martin Y wrote:
Mon Aug 09, 2021 11:59 am
Curious. I'm not a Sainsbury shopper usually, but can say that I've not seen any gaps in the shelves at our Tesco or the Asda near work.
Stores have been using things like large packs of bottled water or crisp multipacks to make gaps less obvious by spreading large items out along shelves for other products. Depending on how often you go in and how familiar you are with the layout, gaps may not be so obvious.
They've been using Thatchers cider in some Sainsbury's round here.
Credit Tristan Cork @TristanCorkPost.jpg
Credit Tristan Cork @TristanCorkPost.jpg (439.32 KiB) Viewed 708 times
it's okay to say "I don't know"

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Re: Shortages in shops

Post by Martin Y » Mon Aug 09, 2021 1:52 pm

On reflection, yes I think Tesco might have had some end of aisle shelves with spaced out products like that.

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Re: Shortages in shops

Post by tom p » Mon Aug 09, 2021 2:32 pm

Fishnut wrote:
Mon Aug 09, 2021 1:47 pm
dyqik wrote:
Mon Aug 09, 2021 1:37 pm
Martin Y wrote:
Mon Aug 09, 2021 11:59 am
Curious. I'm not a Sainsbury shopper usually, but can say that I've not seen any gaps in the shelves at our Tesco or the Asda near work.
Stores have been using things like large packs of bottled water or crisp multipacks to make gaps less obvious by spreading large items out along shelves for other products. Depending on how often you go in and how familiar you are with the layout, gaps may not be so obvious.
They've been using Thatchers cider in some Sainsbury's round here.

Credit Tristan Cork @TristanCorkPost.jpg
Good job I'm not a customer there, or I would have cleared out that shelf as soon as look at it!

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Re: Shortages in shops

Post by Trinucleus » Mon Aug 09, 2021 2:38 pm

bjn wrote:
Mon Aug 09, 2021 11:55 am
I've definitely noticed some empty shelves, it seems to be a bit random. Last week's shopping at the decent sized Satansbury's in Chiswick had most of the bottled water shelves completely bare.
Oh no, what are we going to drink??.

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Re: Shortages in shops

Post by Woodchopper » Mon Aug 09, 2021 3:02 pm

Tessa K wrote:
Mon Aug 09, 2021 10:25 am
I'm assuming this is Brexit rather than Covid as they managed to keep the shelves stocked during the worst of the pandemic (after the initial panic buying was over).
There's an international shortage of building materials.

But I haven't heard of any shortages of groceries outside the UK. So it looks like a Brexit thing.

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Re: Shortages in shops

Post by Bird on a Fire » Mon Aug 09, 2021 4:00 pm

Trinucleus wrote:
Mon Aug 09, 2021 2:38 pm
bjn wrote:
Mon Aug 09, 2021 11:55 am
I've definitely noticed some empty shelves, it seems to be a bit random. Last week's shopping at the decent sized Satansbury's in Chiswick had most of the bottled water shelves completely bare.
Oh no, what are we going to drink??.
Thatcher's cider, apparently.
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Re: Shortages in shops

Post by Bird on a Fire » Mon Aug 09, 2021 4:01 pm

Woodchopper wrote:
Mon Aug 09, 2021 3:02 pm
Tessa K wrote:
Mon Aug 09, 2021 10:25 am
I'm assuming this is Brexit rather than Covid as they managed to keep the shelves stocked during the worst of the pandemic (after the initial panic buying was over).
There's an international shortage of building materials.

But I haven't heard of any shortages of groceries outside the UK. So it looks like a Brexit thing.
Those crates of Thatcher's cider look sturdy enough to build things.
He has the grace of a swan, the wisdom of an owl, and the eye of an eagle—ladies and gentlemen, this man is for the birds!

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Re: Shortages in shops

Post by dyqik » Mon Aug 09, 2021 6:07 pm

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Mon Aug 09, 2021 4:01 pm
Woodchopper wrote:
Mon Aug 09, 2021 3:02 pm
Tessa K wrote:
Mon Aug 09, 2021 10:25 am
I'm assuming this is Brexit rather than Covid as they managed to keep the shelves stocked during the worst of the pandemic (after the initial panic buying was over).
There's an international shortage of building materials.

But I haven't heard of any shortages of groceries outside the UK. So it looks like a Brexit thing.
Those crates of Thatcher's cider look sturdy enough to build things.
Like the West Country version of an Earthship?

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Re: Shortages in shops

Post by Bird on a Fire » Mon Aug 09, 2021 7:03 pm

I like those things. Saw a bunch near Taos, NM.

Don't think aluminium cans have the same insulating properties though ;)
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Re: Shortages in shops

Post by jdc » Mon Aug 09, 2021 8:12 pm

Woodchopper wrote:
Mon Aug 09, 2021 3:02 pm
Tessa K wrote:
Mon Aug 09, 2021 10:25 am
I'm assuming this is Brexit rather than Covid as they managed to keep the shelves stocked during the worst of the pandemic (after the initial panic buying was over).
There's an international shortage of building materials.

But I haven't heard of any shortages of groceries outside the UK. So it looks like a Brexit thing.
I've been following this on twitter over the last few weeks and in response to the Brexiteers claiming it's due to covid there's been a ton of people posting from abroad pointing out that funnily enough the country they're in is also riddled with covid yet there are no shortages.

I did also come across this from a Polish freelance journo/blogger who's also worked as driver: https://orynski.eu/20-reasons-why-there ... in-the-uk/

Of his 20 reasons, number 1 is Brexit, 2 is Brexit's red tape, and 5 is Brexit again. (But he does also complain about our appalling response to covid, our low wages, and our endemic racism etc.)

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Re: Shortages in shops

Post by veravista » Mon Aug 09, 2021 9:28 pm

Thought this was funny
234754571_10157991268002750_1261868439713815194_n.jpg
234754571_10157991268002750_1261868439713815194_n.jpg (10.8 KiB) Viewed 526 times

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Re: Shortages in shops

Post by dyqik » Mon Aug 09, 2021 9:32 pm

jdc wrote:
Mon Aug 09, 2021 8:12 pm
Woodchopper wrote:
Mon Aug 09, 2021 3:02 pm
Tessa K wrote:
Mon Aug 09, 2021 10:25 am
I'm assuming this is Brexit rather than Covid as they managed to keep the shelves stocked during the worst of the pandemic (after the initial panic buying was over).
There's an international shortage of building materials.

But I haven't heard of any shortages of groceries outside the UK. So it looks like a Brexit thing.
I've been following this on twitter over the last few weeks and in response to the Brexiteers claiming it's due to covid there's been a ton of people posting from abroad pointing out that funnily enough the country they're in is also riddled with covid yet there are no shortages.

I did also come across this from a Polish freelance journo/blogger who's also worked as driver: https://orynski.eu/20-reasons-why-there ... in-the-uk/

Of his 20 reasons, number 1 is Brexit, 2 is Brexit's red tape, and 5 is Brexit again. (But he does also complain about our appalling response to covid, our low wages, and our endemic racism etc.)
Two of those parenthetical three are at least related to Brexit, if not caused by it directly.

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Re: Shortages in shops

Post by jimbob » Wed Aug 11, 2021 7:56 am

veravista wrote:
Mon Aug 09, 2021 9:28 pm
Thought this was funny

234754571_10157991268002750_1261868439713815194_n.jpg
Happy Toast has some good ones.

And some good silly ones like wind up Priti Patel
Have you considered stupidity as an explanation

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Re: Shortages in shops

Post by IvanV » Thu Aug 12, 2021 9:42 am

I went to a local Waitrose which had empty frozen dessert freezers, which is not explained by recent weather. Meanwhile my father went to his local Waitrose and found they had no breakfast cereal. So pretty random.

I once had the great joy, as part of my job, to interview a Waitrose/John Lewis distribution depot about their distribution methods. The aim of the project was to try and understand what impact various road use policies in London might have on the distribution sector (which includes both own-operated distribution like what the supermarkets do, and third party distribution like the logistics companies) and what policies might nudge the distribution sector in the direction of more efficient use of road-space.

What was really interesting (to a sad git like me) was how they kept down the cost of distribution given the joint requirement of distributing both short shelf-life food that requires up to daily distribution (Eg for fresh sandwiches), and longer shelf-life stock. The short shelf-life stuff has variable quantity needs by day of week, by time of year, weather, and so forth. What they do is use a van that is larger than necessary for just the fresh food, and fill it up with long-life shelf stock, whose restocking can be relocated in time more easily. Then they can run some extra long shelf life vans from time to time to even up the stock of that. In this fashion, they run full or nearly full vans nearly all the time, and maximise efficiency by using larger vans and reducing van miles.

When you consider the impact of a shortage of drivers on a business operating in such a fashion, it becomes easy to understand why random bits empty shelf can ensue. Especially if they are having difficulties predicting when there will be a lorry with no driver. Plainly they have to prioritise moving the short shelf-life stuff. So it is trucks with longer shelf life stuff that is left stuck at the depot without a driver. And then also they can have similar random no-shows for arrivals at the depot.

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Re: Shortages in shops

Post by Tessa K » Thu Aug 12, 2021 10:51 am

IvanV wrote:
Thu Aug 12, 2021 9:42 am
I went to a local Waitrose which had empty frozen dessert freezers, which is not explained by recent weather. Meanwhile my father went to his local Waitrose and found they had no breakfast cereal. So pretty random.

I once had the great joy, as part of my job, to interview a Waitrose/John Lewis distribution depot about their distribution methods. The aim of the project was to try and understand what impact various road use policies in London might have on the distribution sector (which includes both own-operated distribution like what the supermarkets do, and third party distribution like the logistics companies) and what policies might nudge the distribution sector in the direction of more efficient use of road-space.

What was really interesting (to a sad git like me) was how they kept down the cost of distribution given the joint requirement of distributing both short shelf-life food that requires up to daily distribution (Eg for fresh sandwiches), and longer shelf-life stock. The short shelf-life stuff has variable quantity needs by day of week, by time of year, weather, and so forth. What they do is use a van that is larger than necessary for just the fresh food, and fill it up with long-life shelf stock, whose restocking can be relocated in time more easily. Then they can run some extra long shelf life vans from time to time to even up the stock of that. In this fashion, they run full or nearly full vans nearly all the time, and maximise efficiency by using larger vans and reducing van miles.

When you consider the impact of a shortage of drivers on a business operating in such a fashion, it becomes easy to understand why random bits empty shelf can ensue. Especially if they are having difficulties predicting when there will be a lorry with no driver. Plainly they have to prioritise moving the short shelf-life stuff. So it is trucks with longer shelf life stuff that is left stuck at the depot without a driver. And then also they can have similar random no-shows for arrivals at the depot.

That makes sense and explains why there are far fewer gaps in the fresh produce than in other areas.

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