“Even now, this is the second third or fourth time I’ve come here and can’t find what I need,” Roberts lamented. “I need more hand sanitizer and toilet paper, but they never have it. I’m hoping today I’ll get lucky.”
And, at the appointed hour, the glass doors slid open and in came the early-bird hordes — not to hoard, just to get the essentials like meat or milk, flour or pasta, a simple can of beans. Would the shelves be barren, as some had seen on previous outings? Or would the early hour bring an abundance of restocked goods?
When Roberts entered the store, welcomed by a blast of heat that cut the chill from waiting outside, she made a beeline for Aisle 11. That’s where the paper goods could be found, and other shoppers followed suit, making sort of a conga line, as Stevie Wonder was crooning “Baby, everything is all right…” on the piped-in Muzak.
But when she made the right turn onto Aisle 11, Roberts looked to her right and saw the same old sight: empty shelves. Audible groan. But a Safeway clerk hovering nearby interposed.
“We’ve got some,” he said, pointing. “Way down there.”
She had scored. There, surrounded by emptiness, was a tightly-packed stack of Scott Brand toilet paper — eight-packs, boasting 1,000 sheets per roll. There were, by one count, 40 packages available when the doors opened.