The dearth of toilet paper and hand sanitizer in grocery stores and drug stores has not only sent the average public into a tailspin, but it has left RVers high and not so dry. The purchasing of massive quantities of supplies has also shown the cracks of the country’s “just in time” supply chain.
However, there are a few ways to remedy this, even if you are an RVer who is currently traveling or lives full-time or part-time on the road. These tips will not only help during this crisis but would also be good to keep in mind when it’s all over.
While ordering from places such as Amazon, Thrive Market, and other online grocery stores might be an option, it’s not the easiest thing to do for someone who is on the move. You could use Amazon Locker in a pinch, but it’s a more difficult way to stock up on bulk food or larger provisions.
The supplies have run out in many stores due to them being in more populated areas. In addition, when the panic started, most people headed to their favorite grocery store…with everyone else. To avoid any crowds and to make sure you get the supplies you need, take a little time to anticipate where most people are going to go and head in the opposite direction.
1. Stick to rural areas and rural-based stores
It’s pretty safe to say that there will be less people in small towns. Stores in these lower population towns also tend to cater to rural people and offer shelf-stable foods and supplies that RVers may find useful.
Stores such as Dollar General and even local feed stores will carry septic safe toilet paper, canned goods, and medical supplies when other stores runs out. Of course, since these stores are sometimes the only option in these small towns, be sure to take only what you need.
2. Think outside the box store
Your average big box store such as Walmart will be the first to be picked clean of food and specific supplies. This is the time to visit other essential businesses who may be looked over. This includes Asian food and Latin food stores, family-run general stores, and even roadside fruit and vegetable stands.
3. Get your supplies from the suppliers
When the toilet paper ran out in the grocery stores, who do you think had a supply? The suppliers did. This includes janitorial supply and restaurant supply stores and even office supply stores.
Check in with a manager before heading to these stores, since they are considered retail and may only be offering curbside ordering and delivery.
4. Check out boutique grocery stores
You may avoid the more expensive boutique grocery store for an average shopping trip, but they are also considered essential businesses. Because of their higher prices, some people may avoid shopping there, so that could be a boon for RVers.
Many of these stores still carry a selection of paper products, canned foods, and a really nice choice of fresh food. These types of stores can usually be found in resort towns or near tourist highlights such as national parks.
5. Visit farms and ranches
Don’t overlook any farms and ranches you may be traveling past. Many of these businesses also offer butcher shops and fruit, vegetable and nut stands.
This is also a good time to ask the farm owner where they happen to shop and resupply during hard times. They’ll know the best places.