Stores, Shoppers in Hurricane Mode
Some store shelves were getting pretty empty on Friday, but more deliveries were on the way.
As Hurricane Irene threatens the region, stores and customers are gearing up for the worst.
It’s quite clear that bottled water, batteries and food are much in demand. Especially bottled water and batteries.
And this was happening in stores Friday at mid-day and all afternoon:
“We’re selling the basic essentials,” said George Tamer, owner of Center ACE Hardware.
He was referring to items such as bottled water, batteries, flashlights, drop cloths, tape for windows, propane gas tanks, sump pumps and trash bags.
“We had three loads today,” Tamer said, referring to the delivery trucks. “One regular and two special. We hope to be open on Sunday and then it’s back to business on Monday.”
Over at CVS/pharmacy, hurricane supplies were going fast.
“We’re all out of C and D batteries,” said store manager Christine Jorge. “We should have a shipment tonight.”
Bottled water seemed to be going fast, but Jorge said there were plenty of 24-packs. Plenty of prescriptions were being filled as well.
“People are making sure they have their prescriptions,” said Jorge.
At Staples, flashlights and batteries were selling fast.
“We’re out of D batteries,” said store associate Alyssa Redmond. A sign above displays of batteries asked people to forgive the inconvenience.
There were only a couple of flashlights left and a couple of people were about to purchase them.
“We still have AA and C batteries and assorted other kinds,” said Redmond.
Staples was also seeing a bottled water demand but, according to Redmond, the store still had 50 to 70 cases of Poland Spring 24-packs left.
At Shaw’s supermarket, bread seemed to be disappearing off the shelves at lightning speed along with bottled water.
Steve Sylven, a spokesman for Shaw’s, said that supplies were bound to be running out, but more deliveries are on the way.
“The afternoon’s trucks are rolling,” said Sylven. “We have the products, we just have to get them to the stores.”
At mid-day some shoppers, such as Ginger Graham of Barrington, were calmly loading their carts.
“It’s been an unusual weather year,” said Graham. “We’ve had plenty of warning. We have to be ready.”
Asked if she feels it‘s a good idea to load up on food, she said, “I do think we need extra food. I’ve been watching the television. The emergency management office has been very supportive.”
Later in the afternoon Kevin Shea, a clerk at Barrington Hardware on Bay Spring Avenue, said, “We’ve sold so much propane I’ve had to fill the tank three times in two days.”
Customers have been bringing in the tanks to their gas grills to get them filled with propane for cooking. The store’s outside tank normally holds 500 gallons. But even with the surge in business, Shea stressed that the tank is constantly getting replenished so people can still purchase propane at Barrington Hardware.
He said he was all out of C and D batteries, though, which many people are buying for their flashlights.
Shea also said the sale of plywood has been incredible because many are planning to board up their windows because of the hurricane threat.
He also had a very useful solution to the water issue -- in case people are not able to snare any bottled water at the stores.
“All you need to do is fill up your bathtub with water before the storm,” said Shea. “Then you’ll have water for drinking and for cooking.”