Jose Mier reporting.
As many of us remain indoors for the duration (however long that may be) of this coronavirus crisis, the one time we venture outside is to load up on supplies. I took a trip to my local Costco recently and here’s what I encountered.
Traffic is noticeably lighter in Sun Valley these days. I was on the road a little after 8 am and while usually the streets would be a bit more crowded owing to schools starting, parents dropping off kids, etc., today was different.
I made it down Glenoaks Blvd. in almost record time. A lack of people driving to work and students staying home because classes are cancelled contributed to a quick drive through Sun Valley.
Costco usually opens at 10 am so I had planned to get there before the doors opened. I arrived at about 8:30. The parking lot had a few cars but was not the zoo I had encountered days before. At that time (a few minutes before 9am) there were absolutely no open parking spaces and traffic through the parking lot was by inches at a time.
This day, however, I thought I was lucky. And I was in most respects. I saw a line had already formed and was running the length of one side of the Costco warehouse. Not too bad, I figured and found the end of the line and got in it. From my position I could see then entrance several yards ahead.
I was surprised when, at 9am, the line started to move. I followed the shoppers and carts ahead of me. Instead of reaching the entrance, though, we kept walking past it. Then I found out the line circled around the other side of the warehouse. In essence the line would have wrapped around three fourths of the building. Still, we moved pretty fast and got inside in about 5 minutes.
Everyone moved quickly in the same direction: the toilet paper area.
It couldn’t have been more than 10 minutes after the store opened its doors that I neared the toilet paper area and was greeted by another disappointed shopper who told me, “There’s no toilet paper. It’s all gone.”
I grabbed a case of paper towels and went about picking up all the other items that were on my list and made my way to the checkout. The mood in the store was somber and eerily quiet. Many people were wearing masks. The checkout area now had yellow strips on the floor, each 6 feet apart to help maintain social distancing. I did notice the communal coffee grinders at the front of the store were gone.
I got out of the store pretty easily and took my supplies home. It was telling, though, that toilet paper ran out so quickly, even though we were only allotted one case per customer. Those who didn’t get there early enough would have to come back the next day.
Business may be down overall in Sun Valley and the nation, but any store that carries toilet paper these days is doing a booming business.