Good afternoon from Butler & Bailey Market. I hope everyone is having a good week!
It is fall break this week, so I think a lot of folks are traveling because it has been pretty quiet in Rocky Hill the last few days.
The store is running pretty smoothly this week. With business being a little slower, being a little short on employees hasn’t been as taxing on the existing staff in trying to keep up. I’m sure that will change this weekend with a big football game on Saturday and everyone returning from out of town. It’s been a nice little break, but we need to be busy again in short order.
I wrote last week about labor shortages and, while those continue for us, we have hired a few new people recently. Hopefully, with the holiday season upon us, we will be fully staffed soon.
Inflation and product shortages are another big challenge for us right now. I think about every category in the store has now been hit by price increases. The meat category has gone up the most and, since we have kind of built our business on our meat department, I think higher meat prices have probably hit us harder than most other grocery stores. I really don’t see an end in sight for rising prices, so I won’t dwell on the bad news.
I did see a little good news in an article I read about a grocery man in New York. They were interviewing him about inflation in the industry, and he said he didn’t see inflation moderating until the middle of 2022. That’s not the good news. The good news was he is a billionaire! I didn’t know you could become a billionaire being a grocery man. He has been doing it a little longer than I have so, I assume in the next few years I’m going to be a billionaire grocery man? I’m sure my wife will be excited because then we can hang out with movie stars and rappers, plus we can shoot ourselves into space in our own private rocket.
Along with inflation, another big problem we are having is shortages of inventory. We received a grocery delivery this morning, and I just looked over the invoice. The invoice was about eighty pages long, with probably 2000 items listed on the order. Forty-two pages out of the eighty were out of stocks. Basically, we are only getting in about fifty percent of what we are ordering! This doesn’t even include things like Nabisco, Coke, and Frito-Lay products that deliver directly to the store on separate trucks. I’m sure you’ve noticed our potato chip and drink aisles have been pretty sparse. This has been an ongoing problem, but I think it will fix itself before inflation fixes itself.
The Labor Department reported this week that food, shelter, and gasoline have been the biggest drivers of inflation. I guess the only bright spot in this report is that those of you on Social Security are going to get a 5.9% raise on your Social Security checks. I’m sure my mom will enjoy her bump in pay until she goes to the gas pump or the grocery store and gives it all back, and then some, to pay the bill. On top of that, I am not sure the money is just laying around for all the Social Security recipients to receive a raise so, it will come from where?
I think the powers that be have finally realized that the people they proclaim to want to help the most, working families, have been hit the hardest this year. Most all of their income goes to food, shelter, and energy. COVID is obviously playing a part in some of these problems, but it might also be masking some bad policy decisions. I guess my only suggestion is that the powers that be might want to refine some of their policies or, the next time around, some new powers that be will be making policy.
Irregardless of all the tough times people are having around the world, the folks in Rocky Hill seem to be in good spirits. Whoops! I did it again! I used a word that’s not a word. As far as I know, I have been saying the word that’s not a word, “irregardless”, my whole life, but I was recently informed that that’s not a word. You see, I have a longtime friend that I play golf with, and somewhere in our conversation while playing, I used that word that’s not a word and he was quick to inform me that it wasn’t a word. I told him it had to be word because I always use it. He then informed me that he was privately educated, and I was publicly educated, which made him smarter, much less he’s a lawyer and I sell groceries, which further proved his point to me. Well, it bothered me the rest of the golf round, but I took his word for it. The next time we played, I made the same mistake again. I used the word that is not a word and, once again, he corrected me. In my frustration, I told him that he knew what I meant even if it wasn’t a word, and he told me it doesn’t matter; it’s still not a word. Then, probably because I was educated in public schools, I gave him “the finger” in my frustration. I then told him that’s not a word either, but since you were privately educated, you probably know what I mean don’t you???
So as far as I’m concerned, I’m way ahead of my privately educated friend in life. I’m going to be a billionaire because I run a grocery store, and I invented a new word to add to the English language that has never been a word before me!
I guess the true test about education is coming up for me. I have two children; one goes to a private school and the other goes to a public school. I don’t know if either one of them will be smart enough to invent a word or become a billionaire like their dad, but I do hope they find a career that will be just as rewarding as the Grocery Life has been to me!
I hope everyone has a great weekend, Go Vols, and thanks for letting us be a part of your community!