Friday, April 25, 2008

Rice Rationing?

One may not purchase more than 4 20 pound bags of rice. OK, but this makes no sense in the USA right now. And what family buys rice in 20 pound bags? This is from HuffPo:

The two biggest U.S. warehouse retail chains are limiting how much rice customers can buy because of what Sam's Club, a division of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., called on Wednesday "recent supply and demand trends."

The broader chain of Wal-Mart stores has no plans to limit food purchases, however.

The move comes as U.S. rice futures hit a record high amid global food inflation, although one rice expert said the warehouse chains may be reacting less to any shortages than to stockpiling by restaurants and small stores.

Sam's Club followed Seattle-based Costco Wholesale Corp., which put limits in at least some stores on bulk rice purchases.

Sam's Club declined to say if this is first time it has restricted sales of bulk foods. The limits affect 20-pound bags, not retail-sized portions. Costco President and CEO Jim Sinegal declined to discuss the issue Wednesday with an AP reporter.

Sam's Club said it will limit customers to four bags at a time of imported jasmine, basmati and long grain white rice.

The warehouse chain caters heavily to small businesses, including restaurants. Sam's Club spokeswoman Kristy Reed said she could not comment on whether the problem was caused by short supplies or by customers stocking up in anticipation of higher prices.

USA Rice Federation spokesman David Coia said there is no rice shortage in the United States.

"It's possible that small restaurants and bodega-type neighborhood stores may be purchasing rice in larger quantities than they do typically to avoid higher prices," Coia said about the warehouse chain restrictions.

A smaller chain, Natick, Mass.-based BJ's Wholesale Club Inc., said it is not imposing limits for now.

Seems like a great way to get free advertising. I've already heard this story on Radio and TV multiple times. Read the rest HERE.

And so it goes.


  1. Hi - I really wanted to add your words, to the words of a friend of mine who lives in the Philippines.

    I asked Carlos if I could put part of his e-mail on my 'blog', but he said he was afraid - even if done without his name, he was sad.

    Anyway, here's where I swiped some of your words - but credit is given to you - and the link to your blog.

    Regards, Diane

  2. Just an update; Carlos sent me another letter about their rice situation.

    I had sent a small amount of money (in this country; in their country about 20 times greater buying power) to he and his family to give a hand, and now he tells me his 'honor' won't let him take the gift.

    When I told him in our country, one can't refuse a gift, he said he would accept it on one condition - that he donate 50% of it to a charity he knew about that was suffering much more.

    How about that - what a wonderful young man; so conditions were agreed on.

    Anyway, he wrote to tell me of the 'joy' and the aid these few dollar have caused.

    Carlos told me that once the Philippines were a substantial supplier of rice not only to their own citizens, but to other countries.

    Carlos says their local people have been encouraged to raise rice; hold onto the rice, and bargain for higher prices (as we do in America). He says their people have heard about how oil and how holding back on the supply, has caused the price of oil to rise and we are all still paying for it. Carlos says because their country is so poor; their politicians so corrupt, and their natives so ignorant, they actually feel they can generate a substantial sum of money by stock-piling rice (which is also hurting their own country-folk).

    Anyway, Carlos says he feels this is all futile because there are so many other sources for rice (unlike sources for oil), and in the long run, his people will just suffer more.

    He told me that some of his friends fathers earn $60/month - the average income is $150/month. He said the rice is costing about $1/day for the average family which is 50% of their monthly income.

    Carlos and his family are now down to 2 meals a day to stretch their funds. He says they are an honorable family and have honorable friends who are now going to work together to share resources, and we've been writing extensive e-mails back and forth to work out a few ideas.

    Being one-on-one with a person in the middle of this particular situation, makes me better able to understand some of the particulars, than relying on the evening t.v. news.

    As with your information on NOLA (which I read thoroughly), you are also 'in touch' with the real people; again, nothing on the evening news ever touches these topics the way people like you, can bring the honest truth without politics coloring our efforts.

    We have only one motive; to help another in need - wouldn't it be nice of the mass media had the same single goal?

    Take care. Diane


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