Hurry Up and Wait!

Good afternoon from Butler & Bailey Market.

I guess our new motto around here is going to be “hurry up and wait”.  Last week’s motto was “we are going to do the best we can”.  That has actually been our motto for the last thirty years, but frustrations are high around here, so I have been vocalizing it a lot more the last couple of weeks.  Probably more for my benefit than anyone else’s.

My old partner here, George Bailey, had a saying for just about any occasion.  Most of them probably originated in the farming community of Mascot.  They usually included a farm animal, barbed wire, fence posts, tractors, and hay so they never made much sense to us here in Rocky Hill, but at least it gave you something to think about the rest of the day.  I have tried to carry on the tradition since he has been gone, but mine are more mainstream, so not quite as thought provoking or impactful.  Most of the time they just backfire on me.  Several times over the last couple of weeks, when I get frustrated at someone or something, a staff member will tell me, Tom, we are just going to do the best we can.  I can always count on them to hold me accountable.

I hope everyone’s social distancing is going okay.  I followed my own advice and went fishing, mowed the yard, and cooked dinner yesterday on my day off.  The fish seemed to have gotten the message about distancing because they were not biting for me.  It could be I spent so much time in between casts on the phone yesterday talking to suppliers, trying to procure product and schedule deliveries for today that my focus wasn’t up to par.

Besides all of our deliveries being delayed by hours, if not days, I had a great start to my day today thanks to some of you.  When I went to unlock the door to open the store, a crowd of your smiling faces was waiting outside.  In unison, you all said, “Good Morning, Tom”.  Where else can you receive such a warm reception in these trying times?  Rocky Hill is a special place!

On to store business.  We will continue to keep our abbreviated hours this week.  They are 9 am until 7 pm every day, except the two days we are closed, which are Wednesdays and Sundays.  Tuesday and Saturday mornings from 8am until 9am are reserved for the elderly and high risk to shop.  Please be respectful of our desire to provide an environment for these folks needing to stay away from larger crowds.

One of our busiest times during the day has become first thing in the morning, so it may benefit you to wait an hour or two before you shop.  I know you feel like our inventories are probably better first thing in the morning, but actually things are running so far behind most of our trucks are coming later in the day, so you may have better luck finding what you need in the afternoon hours.

Another thing I want to address is the well-being of our staff.  While we are blessed to have strong business in these trying economic times, the other side of that is we are all being exposed to thousands of people on a weekly basis, which puts our risk level higher than most; the medical profession being the highest.  In light of this, I have told my staff that if they want to wear masks, gloves, or any other protective clothing, I am glad for them to do that.  Many of you are doing the same thing when you are shopping here, but I didn’t want to raise any alarms if any of our staff chose to do this.  The safety of everyone is our number one priority, so thank you for your understanding on this.

In my last writing, I told you supply lines seemed to be adjusting to this new normal, and I continue to believe this.  While trucks are running behind, they are still running, and we are still receiving an ample amount of product.  Will we be out of things on certain days? Sure, but we will probably receive it the next day, so I don’t think it is necessary to stock up for more than a few days at a time.  I will let you know if anything changes on this.

Another thing I want you to realize is as supply lines tighten up, prices also go up.  It’s the classic supply and demand thing.  A lot of us might have slept through our economics class when this was taught, but it is a real thing.  A lot of produce has already gone up, and the eggs we received today were considerably more expensive.  I assume several other food categories will do the same thing.

I would also recommend carrying some cash.  Most of us hardly carry cash now, just credit cards.  I guess everyone in the world is on the internet, with all that’s going on.  I don’t know the capacity of the internet, but it is obviously getting pushed to the limits, which has caused our credit card machines to shut down temporarily on a number of occasions.  If you have some cash for backup, we can keep the lines moving here at the store, limiting wait times.

In closing, thanks again for all of the support you have given us through these trying times and yes, we are going to continue to “just do the best we can”!

Thanks for letting us be a part of your community!

Tom Butler

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