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According to Coles Supermarket here in Australia, a 2kg packet of plain flour is the SAME as a 1kg packet of self-raising flour - yes, I'm kidding you not...

Let me explain, but really, it's Coles Supermarket that should be doing the explaining instead of me conveying my frustration on my self-sufficiency Blog Website. 

Speaking of self-sufficiency, if you ever needed an excuse to become more self-sufficient by growing your own food and less reliant on major globalist corporate giant woke supermarkets, then now is a great time to start!

Not that I think there's no place for big business or supermarkets I just think they should be much better corporate citizens then they claim to be.   

Anyway, back to my shopping story. So, Nina (my wife) before she left for work this morning asked me to get some staples from the supermart. Things like bread, milk, flour, sugar, dry yeast and some meat. We don't tend to buy a lot of vegetables or fruit because we grow most of that ourselves. 

Now, people have been going nuts ever since this apocalyptic coronavirus (Covid-19) was unleashed on the world by our Chinese friends due to their obsession with eating anything that most other people wouldn't.

I've been surprised by the panic, for example, on Monday night instead of shaking hands at club tennis fixtures, everyone was insisting on touching elbows after we had just spent 3 sets handling the same sweaty balls (tennis balls) I don't know about you but to me, after two hours running around the court with perspiration dripping from my nose like Nadal playing Federer at the Australian Open, it kind of felt a bit too late for "social distancing". I believe our tennis fixtures will soon be cancelled until further notice anyway, at least as a committee member I have voted for this recommendation. I mean, I do get it, but if you're going to do it, then do it, don't be half-arsed and think touching elbows will save humanity when epidemiologists tell us this virus can survive for 3 days on most surfaces.  

So I go to the dreaded supermarket (which I hate doing at the best of times) and the place is buzzing with stressed-out seniors, grumpy middle-agers (like me), and scattered groups of home-mums gossiping in the aisles about how bad it is. As usual, I don't panic (I've been in much worse situations) therefore I just try to methodically make my way around the mayhem to pick up the few things I need. 

I get to the flour section and most of the shelves were empty, however, there were still about 10 packets of 2kg plain flour and about 20 packets of 1kg self-raising flour left. On the news, I had been hearing about limitations on how much of certain products you were allowed to buy, consequently, I looked for signs on and around the shelves to see if flour had any such restrictions. No signs were displayed but I suspected there would be a limit and I didn't want to be greedy so I decided to take one packet of 2kg plain flour (I like to make our own pasta) and to even it out I took 2 packets of 1kg self-raising flour (Nina often bakes cakes etc) at a combined weight of 4kgs. For those who might not know, it's important to note that there is a difference between plain and self-raising flour, for example, you generally don't use self-raising to make pasta.       

As I approached the checkout, I could see an A4 sized paper hanging from the front of the conveyer belt and the title said something like limitations on how many items allowed to buy, however, the written list was so small that I couldn't be bothered to try and read it without my glasses and decided to run the gauntlet. 

After being four trollies deep and 15 minutes later, I finally made the conveyer belt to begin unloading my stash of groceries then I heard the checkout chick say to the lady in front of me, "I'm sorry, you are not allowed more than 2 packets of frozen vegetables." The lady looked a bit flustered and had to choose which frozen veg to relinquish and what to keep the peas, carrots or cauliflower? What a dilemma! I was next...

Everything was going well initially, the checkout chick was scanning through quickly and I was feeling pretty confident that I would make it, then suddenly her demeanour changed slightly as she reached for the first packet of flour. Finger pointed she counted out 1...2...3 and my heart sank as she smugly stated that I was permitted only two packets of flour. 

She then proceeded to remove one of the packets of self-raising flour and placed it in her ever-growing pile of confiscated items. There was one staff member tasked with returning the stuff to the shelves but many of these seized products were supposed to be refrigerated so I wondered (briefly) what condition they would be in after sitting out and going through several sets of hands.     

I politely protested with eyebrows raised high as she plonked my 3rd packet of flour down and said quizzingly, "they're not the same flour." She replied, "it doesn't matter."

Me: "So size doesn't matter either?"

Her: "What do you mean?" 

Me: "They're different sizes - one is 2kg and the other is 1kg"

Her: "So..."

Me: "So... You're saying I can have 2 x 2kg packets which still equals 4kgs instead?" 

Her: "Yes."

Me: "Well, I might as well get 2 x 2kg packets of plain flour and just add baking powder to it when needed."

Her: "You can swap them if you like."

Me: "I will."            

With a shrug of my shoulders, I did the walk of shame past the others waiting in my queue and the short rotund security guard (who decided to come over likely thinking to stand nearby might intimidate me) to quickly retrieve my second packet of plain flour only to find it was all sold out. 

I returned to the foot-tapping checkout operator and said, "it's all gone!"

Her: "That's why we have limitations."

TOUCHE!

Obviously, she has a much bigger brain than me so all I could do was pay the bill and slink off counting my three kilos of flour and my lucky stars that I got that much at least.  

Now before people give me the 3rd degree and hit me with trolling sprays about how the checkout chick was just doing her job or how I should have not questioned her on the store policy, let me first say I'm not bothered by trolls and secondly I'll question anything and everything if I don't think it's right or if I need clarification. 

I heard on the radio a few days ago about a concerned father who rang in complaining that his daughter was coming home from her employment at a local supermarket crying due to the abuse she had received. Whilst I sympathise with this father and his daughter and don't agree with anyone being abused in the workplace, I also understand the frustrations from a customer's point of view and as a worker in the service industry you need to be prepared to answer questions and at times help to dispel frustrations from annoyed customers. 

Understanding and sympathy are often all that is needed from a service person (such as a checkout operator) to prevent a potentially nasty confrontation.   

There has been some praise in the media congratulating the major supermarkets for scheduling special opening times for the disabled and elderly. Personally, I think the major supermarkets have been predictably underprepared and opportunistic. Management in the highest levels should have foreseen this crisis and acted much sooner to beef up stocks and get their supply lines pumping, instead, it's a rock-show out there in supermarket land with normies stocking up on over-priced consumables because they no longer lack the confidence that the people in charge know what the hell they are doing. 

If supermarkets are going to bring in new rules on purchasing or for anything else they need to clearly convey these changes to circumvent mass confusion. What I saw and experienced proved to me that Coles neglected to do this simple task.    

The supermarkets are more to blame for their stressed-out undermanned staff rather than hordes of hoarders trying to get in before they miss out. Yes, people should be more considerate and yes in my opinion manners and the way people interact with each other has deteriorated over the past few decades but the misinformation and corporate mismanagement are what's causing empty shelves and crying checkout chicks.       

Just before releasing this article I was watching Sky News's Chris Kenny and he said the panic buying at supermarkets was caused by hysteria whipped up via social media such as Facebook, YouTube, What's App etc. Chris reckons if more people watched the mainstream media they would be better informed and less likely to panic. I totally disagree and instead blame the mainstream media for spreading the majority of news leading to panic buying.

Every spare second the major networks are fueling the fire with their "exclusive coverage" of empty shelves, customers fighting over dunny paper, doomsday predictions, mega job losses and how to make your own hand sanitiser recipes.  

Plus, we have had medical and government officials state things during the early stages of the outbreak like, make sure your household has enough stocks for at least two weeks. Just tonight our PM aired the prospect that this level of lockdown might be increased and possibly last 6 months! At the same time, he berates those who can't help hyperventilating and perhaps overreacting by calling them "unAustralian." 

But I argue, what are everyday people supposed to think? We've had a Federal Parliament with a revolving door Priministership for the best part of 13 years and big corporations like electricity companies and supermarkets virtue signalling and preaching whilst raking every spare penny from people's hands with overinflated cartel-like prices.

Australians have had enough and they are not listening to the elites they are making their own decisions based on their own intuition and their family needs.          

On the way home after "flour-gate," I couldn't help thinking about how vulnerable we are as a society and how glad I am to have created our flourishing food garden not just to save costs or to eat healthily or to grow food supermarkets don't sell or to garden for stress relief and exercise but also as insurance for times like these.

The fewer visits to the shops the better. Social distancing isn't just a way for me to avoid the coronavirus it also keeps my sanity. 

Oh, and one last thing... I will NEVER "shake hands" after a game of tennis with my elbow AGAIN - I'd rather just look the opposition in the eye and say thanks for the hit.

P.S What about corn or rice flour is that the same?

P.P.S Later this evening I went back out to the shops with Nina when she returned home from work because we still needed a few things that were unavailable earlier (vinegar and yeast). We went to Woolworths and I noticed they did have clear signs on the shelves reminding people of limitations, unlike Coles. 

P.P.P.S We still couldn't get any yeast...           

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Here in Sacramento, California we pretty much stay out of the grocery stores opting instead to order ahead and have the items brought out to our car. We pay about $6US for the privilege. I know this sounds wildly inconsistent but we are about to...

Here in Sacramento, California we pretty much stay out of the grocery stores opting instead to order ahead and have the items brought out to our car. We pay about $6US for the privilege. I know this sounds wildly inconsistent but we are about to head out to our local Farmers' Market for fruit and veg. Masked up, of course. We're just about to enter stone fruit season.

I want to mention that your Youtube videos, apart from the abundant useful information, are a mental health balm for my wife and me.

Since our soil is absolutely terrible, we are in our second year of straw bale gardening.

Best,
George

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