It seems like only yesterday that a New York Sun reporter noticed that purchases of huge bags of rice were being limited at Costco.
Wait! Wait! It was only yesterday, or the day before, or just before that... It is so hard to tell when doom knocks on our door everyday.
Well, as usual, when you've got a little bit of freeze-dried bullshit excreted into the media well, it quickly expands to fill the well and then the collective media brainpan.
Here's the Wall Street Journal chiming in:
You've seen the TV footage of food riots in parts of the developing world. Yes, they're a long way away from the U.S. But most foodstuffs operate in a global market. When the cost of wheat soars in Asia, it will do the same here.-- R.O.I. - WSJ.com
I recall thinking when I first saw the rice/Costco item, "Doesn't that reporter know that people who run small businesses and restaurants use Costco to get their supplies whenever their own suppliers cut them short or gouge them?" Evidently not.
The backstory comes in from here:
Peak Oil News Discussion -- Food Rationing across NYC!But will that blunt fact stop the "Food Shortage in America" wave of bullshit currently sweeping through the media. Not at all.
the main reason for the rice shortage(s) is that largely desired jasmine rice variety has been limited in export from thailand so they can feed their own people, which in turn affects the supply worldwide, so there has been a rush to buy what little supply remains. Then, of course, the price doubles for the remaining average rice, which in turn prompts the thrifty buyer to purchase some large bulk bags now to avoid any more price increases.
this has a domino effect. one event leads to another, then another. also, small businesses have tried to rush Costco to save some money by side-stepping their regular rice, wheat, flour, etc vendors. If Costco didnt limit purchases then there would be many people trying to corner the market on rice by backing up a flatbed, then selling the extras for a crazy high price and/or shipping them overseas to relatives for use/re-sale.
The media knows, first, last and always, that:
UPDATE: Yes, Walmart joins the "rationing." Customers limited to 200 POUNDS of rice at a time.
Walmart Rations RiceWhat is driving this? Not hunger or fear, but speculation, "[Costco] had a two 50-lb limit on rice purchases as well to keep people from hoarding and reselling the rice."
Shoppers at Sam's Club discount wholesale clubs will be limited to four bags of rice per customer. Wal-Mart "working with our suppliers to address this matter to ensure we are in stock, and we are asking for our members' cooperation and patience." It's not as bad as it sounds, the bags are still 50 lbs each.
The article also notes the "shortage" is for premium imported brands of rice such as Jasmine and Basmati. Standard American rice is not affected.
But, should the bullshit continue, it might well be since nothing drives speculation as much as bullshit. Especially from those invested in the speculation.Posted by Vanderleun at April 23, 2008 10:57 AM | TrackBack