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Smaller shops have more necessities, fewer people

By Christine Simmonds | Mar 17, 2020
Photo by: Christine Simmonds Long lines and big crowds at Waldoboro Hannaford on March 16.

Knox County — In the coming weeks people may need to start shopping at smaller stores to get what they need.

Walmart in Thomaston and Hannaford in Rockland, Camden and Waldoboro are almost completely out of any necessities before noon, and long lines to shop start before the stores even open.

These stores still have plenty of products coming in to fill the shelves every day, but people are buying with an eye to stockpile. These items do not last long on the shelves most days.

Hannaford in Waldoboro displayed many bare shelves on the evening of March 16. The shelves of the meat section, canned goods and dairy products were almost completely empty. Soap, bleach, cleaning products, toilet paper and tissues were totally sold out.

One Waldoboro woman was shopping for an elderly neighbor who did not feel comfortable leaving her home. She had a grocery list of four items, but none of them were in stock.

“I couldn’t even find tomato soup,” she said. There were also no hamburger buns or ground beef.

She said she felt people were buying more than they needed in a panic. “Everyone is so me centered. It’s disgusting.”

The lines were very long, and people had trouble identifying where the end of each checkout line was.

The parking lot was full of cars, and there were multiple people in every aisle.

In the past few days the guidelines for stopping the spread of coronavirus have changed from gatherings of fewer than 50 people to gatherings of fewer than 10 people.

Just down the road at Waldoboro Dollar General, many of these supplies were still lining the shelves. While the store was out of items like toilet paper and soap, there was plenty of bleach, many cleaning products, and quite a few canned goods.

Dollar General also had medicinal supplies like vitamin C supplements, cough medicine and pain reliever.

Many smaller stores in the Midcoast maintain supplies of grocery staples like eggs and milk that are in short supply at the larger stores.

Some of the small shops even have toilet paper, though they have begun to keep it in a separate room and ration purchases to one per customer.

There are also fewer people shopping in these convenience stores and small grocery stores, which reduces the chance of being exposed to someone who is ill or a carrier of the virus.

Waldoboro Hannaford pasta shelf is almost empty on March 16. (Photo by: Christine Simmonds)
Waldoboro Hannaford meat section is empty on March 16. (Photo by: Christine Simmonds)
Almost no eggs at Waldoboro Hannaford March 16. (Photo by: Christine Simmonds)
Dollar General in Waldoboro still had plenty of bleach on March 16. (Photo by: Christine Simmonds)
Dollar General in Waldoboro is out of toiler paper on March 16. (Photo by: Christine Simmonds)
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Comments (2)
Posted by: Judith C Feyler | Mar 17, 2020 13:13

If not senior days, at least early senior hours, so we can get what we need and not be exposed to large crowds!

Posted by: Kendall Merriam | Mar 17, 2020 12:01

Grocery stores in some other states have "senior days" - shopping periods so that the hoarders are kept away while the most vulnerable can get necessities. Too bad Hannaford, etc. are too short-sighted to use this method to help people.

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