Quiet frenzy for essentials

Line at Trader Joe's in Brookline

Trader Joe's in Coolidge Corner may be trying to fool us into thinking it's summer with that Red Sox banner the week before the Super Bowl, but it's no use - Louise Miller found long lines there this afternoon.

Meanwhile, up at the Chelsea Market Basket, Dan O'Brien found a store with check-out lines backing up into aisles - and not a single shopping cart to be had:

Chelsea Market Basket

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boy

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I am glad I went yesterday morning to the Chelsea Market Basket.. in and hour in about an hour at 5am!

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they are

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but because the Chelsea store is so busy they make exceptions on weekends... they open early. No Deli, Fish, Meat, Markets Kitchen, or Checkouts until six.

Honestly they could keep that store 24-7 and it would stay busy. I can imagine alot of late shift people wanting to shop there after midnight.

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All MB Stores to open at 6am tomorrow

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In case you didn't make it tonight where they were open till 8 (instead of their normal 7pm on Sunday)

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No Panic In Allston

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Went to Star Market on Comm Ave earlier today and it seemed like a normal Sunday.

Except the big boxes of Cheerios were all gone... :(
Buying two smaller boxes is not as economical.

But plenty of bread, milk, and eggs and such.

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I got back from there about

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I got back from there about an hour ago, and it was mobbed. I think the rush must've just started though because there were still plenty of french toast fixings to be had. Apparently BU students have delayed reactions to severe weather alerts.

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Star Market in WR surprisingly was packed too!

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haven't seen the lot that full in years. There were no carriages available...customers were waiting for others to finish loading their cars to grab the next available.

And in what was a stupid move; Star Market deli no longer uses the number/ticket system. Today was a day they should have pulled that sucker out of moth balls. There is always that one customer......

Interestingly, there is a lot of empty space in Star between the produce and deli area. My niece (who works there) said deliveries are trimmed down a bit too. Employees are anxious about the status of the store.

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Market Basket on Somerville Ave

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After getting the situation report from my neighbor (they ran out of shopping carts!), decided to visit my little Stah on Beacon Street. It was about as busy there as Market Basket on a normal, late weekday afternoon. All the shelves looked seriously picked-over, too. Got what I needed (no bread, milk or eggs; more soup ingredients), along with a bit more social interaction than I'm used to dealing with while shopping.

Something that I found really interesting was the number of people with multiple cases of bottled water. It's not like the NWS's predicting a water main break or anything...is this the new addition to the panic-buying grocery list?

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Yeah, I don't get it either

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Until the Great Water Main Break Boil Order of 2010, I'd never seen anyone buy bottled water for a snowstorm. It doesn't make sense, because I've yet to live through a snowstorm that affected the water supply of a major metropolitan city.

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Are people blindly buying

Are people blindly buying bottled water because they remember how many people in Manhattan lost water after Sandy? Yes, if you live in a 6-story or higher building in NYC you are dependent upon a pump system to get the water circulating in your building.

That's the only time I can think of a serious, wide-spread water outage in the Northeast. I don't know if such a situation could happen in Boston/Cambridge. NYC's water system is gravity fed, but I think Boston's is pump dependent. So, are those pumps on back-up power? (FTR: I have never bought bottled water in anticipation of a snowstorm. Booze, yes.)

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There was an incident a few years back - in Weston.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_Boston_water_emergency

The surrounding area all had water emergencies. Though Camb gets their water from a different reservoir than the rest of the Boston area, I remember having had to cancel a dinner date, due to the restaurants being closed there over the situation.

There was at least one fight breaking out in parking lots over cases of Poland Springs, if I remember correctly.

Here, we were just boiling water and (well, snort) drinking more red wine for the antioxidants.

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That could happen any time, though.

Storms don't usually interrupt water around here. The Aquapocolypse was a special event and very non-predictable. I remember that was one time that I got caught out without a reserve (reservoir) of drinking water.

We were pretty much the first draw off of Spot Pond going south, and our water looked like some sort of green algae drink from Whole Foods or something! Boil it, and it was like Brussels sprout tea - sulfurous and nasty. Possibly safe, but pretty much undrinkable (and we wondered how it might interfere with a family member's medication, too).

I had failed to replace what we used after the previous camping trip. A day or so in, my sons were whooping like they scored a touch down - they decided to search the garage and found a case of selzer. We had to send kids to the trucks to get a case of water.

Now? I usually keep some large bottles around on reserve. We take them camping and on supported bike tours and donate them to events, and buy more to rotate them out.

So, this isn't something you should buy before a storm - I found out the hard way that it is something you should just have.

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Agreed, and yet...

I was responding to the particular assertion that a massive systemic failure of the regional water supply was unthinkable. It is, and yet it happened anyway.

FWIW, I grew up in Hurricane Alley, and my GF is a Katrina evacuee who has gone native. We always have an emergency supply of bottled water, dried beans and rice, and some Sterno, in the back of the pantry. We couldn't quite feed Coxey's Army with no notice, but we could come close.

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Bottled Water

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In 2010, I just boiled water and stored it in sterile containers. If worse came to worst, I'd probably have added a cap ful of bleach to things.

I always keep a bottle of bleach and a bunch of glass bottles around, in case of things. Don't know if this is the best of ideas, but, figure that it's better than nothing.

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Bottled Water at Star/Shaws

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Poland Spring was $2.99/24pk as part of the 3 day sale.

I got some, but it was on my regular shopping list. The pending storm had nothing to do with buying bottled water.

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Hmm.

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People were stocking entire carts with both the small bottle packs and the larger containers. Is that a normal thing during a sale? (Just looked it up. Saw that the sale was only on the 24 packs, and they were limited to 3).

I saw that the seltzer water racks were cleared, as well. That kind of annoyed me, as I was craving a bit of the Polar Clementine Cranberry.

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I can only imagine what the

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I can only imagine what the normally nightmarish parking lot at the Coolidge Corner TJs is like!

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Cringe. Ooch.

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Housemate was talking about going to the TJ in Alewife to pick up some cheese, nuts and smoked salmon.

Must've been channeling my dearly missed Babcha, who, coincidentally, would have been 102 yesterday, when I blurted out "Are You On Drugs?!"

Coolidge Corner's parking lot would have to be like Alewife's, though Going to Eleven.

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Alewife TJs

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The parking lot was actually less nightmarish than I've found it on some Sunday afternoons.

I did have to wait for a cart though, and they were out of Tuscan pane, canned tomatoes, sweet potatoes and the Mexican four-cheese blend. For whatever any of that info is worth.

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TJ = The tenth circle of HELL

Honestly, I went there to stock up on work snacks for the upcoming week. The place was a disaster area in the making. From what I could tell, Shaws on Sprint Street in WR was no better.

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Just back from Roche Bros.

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Not bad at all - maybe because they had all the register lines open. Plenty of milk, eggs and bread, but for some reason, there'd been a run on broth.

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Broth.

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It's a soup week, maybe. After the storm, it's supposed to get really cold.

Tonight, I'm making a caldo verde. That'll see us through tomorrow.

After that, we'll be having split pea soup. Then, a sort of Minestrone / Gumbo sort of thing.

Breakfasts are probably going to be a sort of North African chorba, with an egg cracked into the bowl.

I can't imagine much more comforting than a bowl of soup (or stew) on rough, midwinter days. Particularly when one has to get up super early to shovel, then get ready for work, and head out to work extra early due to traffic issues.

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Isn't it amazing how much

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Isn't it amazing how much less traumatic and fraught these storms are, if you're used to cooking from scratch?

Making bread tomorrow,

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Sigh.

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My housemate is one of those Paleo sorts. We're having soups and I'm going to sneak bake a banana bread for me, as I made a major score of overripe nanners at my local store.

I generally work at home, and am very lucky for that. This week's schedule is to turn the last of the clementines into jam, to turn a head of cabbage into sauerkraut, and to make a few fruit breads to freeze for gifts.

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What this story really needs

A Boston Globe article on how people who work over the weekend and get Monday off are doing their pre-storm shopping on Monday morning.

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And?

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I'm not getting the drift.

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Fortunately,

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I did some pre-storm shopping this afternoon, at the Star Market across the way from where I live. It was busy, but not bad, thank heavens.

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BJs on the Watertown/Waltham

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BJs on the Watertown/Waltham border was like that too with no carts in sight...

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">https://www.youtube.com

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">https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vhz9r_v-wqA[/youtube]

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Batten down the hatches!

I took the T to the Whole Foods by Mass General to get groceries like I do pretty much every Sunday and it was no more or less chaotic and crowded than any other Sunday afternoon. I stocked up on booze yesterday & checked out a few books from BPL. I went to South Bay Target the other day and got plenty of salt for my sidewalk. I more or less feel like I'm all set for the big bad blizzzzzzzz. Good luck everybody!

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Whole Foods Medford

My husband just returned with cheese and eggs and various baking items requested by the offspring who bakes things (and now has big baking plans, which we encourage).

He biked there, so didn't have to contend with the Namaste/Coexist bumperstickered Subaru and Prius rodeo, and they had shoveled out the bike rack. Inside was a madhouse (normally quite quiet at this time on Sunday) and a lot of racks were picked clean. They did have the eggs, though, and some good cheddar sales as well. He seems to have emerged unscathed.

On the other end of the parking lot, if you could get there, Sav-Mor seemed to be collecting WF customers for other "necessities".

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That's the civilized WF.

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On nice days, when I have the time, it's nice to take the wander along the Mystic up to that store for lunch. That Sav-Mor next door was the first place I ever encountered West County Cider, so generally worth the trip.

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ALDI Sud. ALDI Nord.

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ALDI Sud setup an ALDI Food Market in Wellington Circle Plaza Shopping Center Medford. It's okay today for folks trying to get through quick. Avocados .69 cents each, Bananas .39 cents/pound. A kind shopper handed out extra recycled shopping bags for passersby in the aisles because there aren't free shopping bags at ALDI !
https://www.aldi.us/en/new-to-aldi/shopping-at-aldi/

ALDI Nord setup the Trader Joe's Market Specialty Foods stores.

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It was a surprise to learn that the Aldi holding had bought TJ's

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My thought would have been that, given the high quality of frozen goods, among other things, it would have been someplace like Picard (French equivalent). Or Lidl.

Speaking of Lidl - aren't they the stores owned by another branch of Aldi? It's so hard to keep this stuff straight. I like Lidl a lot, and miss them terribly.

Aldi isn't my favorite place, as I hate those turnstiles to get in and out of the stores (don't know if it's the same at Wellington; they were a real pain in the rear in other stores). I'm glad that at Wellington, they were giving out bags, anyway. What do they normally charge for shopping bags?

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Yes, surprising to see that

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Yes, surprising to see that happen back in 1979, when it happened. Weird.

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Just got home

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Just got home from the Stop & Shop in Allston, where they called me in for some "emergency" overtime. From noontime to about 6 pm, they had all ten regular registers staffed, as well as all six self-scans...and lines were still backing up into the aisles.

Luckily someone seems to be on the ball in the logistics department there...I was told they are getting what's called a forced allocation of bread and milk before the storm is expected to hit on Monday.

No word on whether they are getting anything like shovels or rocksalt in.

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Never mind bread and milk...

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...what about shovels and car brushes? I remember one snowy winter when even the most stubborn car-condo-having South End residents were eventually faced with the necessity of getting a shovel, only to find that there were none to be had in the city.

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We got one

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Decided to buy a decent shovel to replace our mini one this morning, although we only use it to get the car out of its alley spot. Got it at Back Bay Hardware. Then went to the Boylston Street TJs around noon and it was surprisingly unpacked, with the line ending around the chips and pretzel shelves. Often the line on a Sunday afternoon goes most of the way around the store. I bet things got crazier later.

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Shovels in stock at Job Lot in Medford

At least they were at 4:00 pm when we left there. They seemed to have a huge supply of shovels and snow brushes, so we grabbed a shovel (broke two old ones over the weekend).

They have pretty much everything, including deicer, windshield wash, mittens, and polar fleece pants for that after-shovel sloth time.

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I had to scoot up to the Hess

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I had to scoot up to the Hess on the Dedham t/L since the Center location had a line up the street. It reminded me of gas rationing in the 1970s..I was very young though :)

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Thanks for that reminder!

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The little speed racer was on about 1/8 a tank. Housemate ran down the hill to fill 'im up - Cumby's on Somerville / Elm. No problems there. He was back in like 15 min.

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Thanks for that reminder!

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The little speed racer was on about 1/8 a tank. Housemate ran down the hill to fill 'im up - Cumby's on Somerville / Elm. No problems there. He was back in like 15 min.

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bah humbug...

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manufactured bourgeois panic...
most people can live for weeks on what they have in their cupboards...d'ya think we could make it to Thursday?

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Most people, yes

If you have two active adults plus teenage boys who are expected to shovel? We can't store enough food to get through more than a week. I laid in a few extra supplies in the garage, which stays at fridge temps.

I just keep the house stocked in winter to avoid last minute insanity.

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Buy in bulk. That's what my

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Buy in bulk. That's what my brother does... 2 boys and a girl, all three extremely active. You just have to plan accordingly. Once you get used to it, it'll become routine.

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In terms of food, yes

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OTOH there are other things, such as batteries, that people need if power goes out...and there are a lot of people who went shopping either because they couldn't on Saturday because of the storm, or they know they won't be able to Tuesday, and because they just needed to go shopping -- so you're going to get more people shopping because of that. I was down to my last roll of toilet paper, and I had other shopping to do that had nothing to do with any storm. That satisfy your sense of the appropriate?

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I'm guessing...

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yer talking about a small fraction of the folks at TJ's, for instance. Makes no difference what I think is appropriate....I think we've all become skittish and unprepared in general...or we just like any excuse to consume.... my 2c and stupid opinion

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I could not.

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Living in the city without a car, I never have more than a few days worth of food. There's only so much I can carry on the MBTA.

Plus, as someone else mentioned, we were snowed in yesterday and had to make up for it today.

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Uber Pricing

How long before supermarkets adopt the Uber model? Big snow storm expected = 3x pricing for most items and 7x pricing for milk, OJ, and bread. (Or better method would be to charge more as their inventory drops.)

Of course, the stores would only be doing it to encourage their suppliers to send more delivery trucks.

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Salem MB

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This afternoon, Salem MB was so crowded that their normally spacious parking lot was full and I had to use an overflow spot behind the Target. The checkout line, organized by the employees, went three quarters of the way around the inside perimeter of the store. They kept the line in order and led people from the head of the line to the nearest open register. Someone made a comment about "psycho basket", but people were generally friendly and polite, the store seemed to have most things in stock and the employees managed the line pretty well.

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I was there today too- the

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I was there today too- the only problem I had was finding a red basket. The shelves were well stocked, and the display in front of the courtesy desk was bread, pb, jelly and fluff. Employees were very calm and helpful. The regular checkout line went all the way around the outside perimeter at the store, but the express line was quite short, with 6 express registers open. I was impressed.

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Chestnut Hill Wegmans

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It was busy around 5 PM but not so bad that you couldn't move. All lines were open and only about 3-4 deep each.

They were also doing an okay job at keeping produce on the shelves and the dairy section was well stocked for the most part. They were running out of yogurt though.

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It was a madhouse down at the

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It was a madhouse down at the grain store. ,Dude in a pickup truck drove off , dropping bales of hay onto the roadway.No D batteries at the store , lucky for me I got the last packages at the grain store.

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