Markets: Not in Everything

Hat tip: Randall Parker.


If out of stock, or low shelves, trigger panic buying this could get weird.

It already is, as we speak, right now. It always does.

But for some of us, when the going gets weird the weird turn pro, and had their preparations made ages ago.

"Luckily" my life partner is a hoarder. The cupboards and freezer are always full.

For me, personally, I have footprints in three countries, US, GR, PH and in GR I have a family farm and friends with farmers who are 100% self-sufficient (everything except electricity, and they have a generator). Similar to PH (me and my gal and her relatives own a farm there, with an electric generator and we grow our own food). My DC relatives I worry about however, but, being in the 1%, I'm sure they can figure out how to get supplies, and they have a habit of stockpiling food anyway. We'll be OK.

You can catch my take on Covid-19 at MishTalk. In a nutshell, about 330M*0.5*.035 = 5.78M Americans, mostly older people, will die. Economically speaking however, since old people aren't that productive, it will be a sort of "modern Black Death" blessing-in-disguise. And watch for the stock market rebound when it hits 1999 year levels.

I wonder if you are taking on a comic-evil role here?

Some of those old people are other people's parents. They might miss a few years with them. To say the least.

@anonymous - Et tu, Anon? Hmm...shades of Death-Lite (TM), grieving for people you don't even know, which first started, IMO, when Princess Diana died in the 1990s. I was in Phoenix at the time, and I laughed out loud when I saw the special edition newspaper headlines at the local Safeway (yes at the time they still sold regular newspapers at supermarkets). It upset some strangers around me, but I was just honestly reacting, as I can't imagine getting upset as people were (some girls were teary eyed) over somebody you'll never meet and who had IMO marginal impact on world events.

"The death of one man is a tragedy. The death of millions is a statistic" - Stalin

Go away

The main reasons I come here are Mr.Lopez interesting comments.

Naw, he’s a borderline psycho pedo.

What kind of person at his age (50) comes on a blog and writes “first!” before bragging about his hot gf or his money???

Doubt it. Younger wives are ok by me. I think he just likes to offend posers.

+1 to Horace B., who is a kindred spirit and well on his or her way to being in the 1%, at least in attitude. Note Immoderate is not a careful reader of me, since I hardly ever simply say "FIrst!" but instead post a substantive comment while being first. In fact, I used to summarize all the links--I speed read not unlike TC, have a razor sharp wit and can type nearly 100 words per minute--and still be first while the rest of you are hunting and pecking at the keyboard with your dull, middle-class, and conventional thoughts.

You need a good batch slipping.

Dadburned autoconnect!

Just middle class, Mr. Lopez., but I am seldom offended by yourself. Please keep up the good work in spite of your dull detractors

It's too early to estimate. Not enough solid data.

I'm solid as long as my children and grandchildren make it.

I'm a 69 year-old child (The Warden corrected me when I labeled myself an 'adolescent') and one of those at risk - asthma/chronic bronchitis, high cholesterol, gerd, halitosis, . . .

I'm more upset over my asset price drops.

I'll let you know if I survive.

This talk about the death of old people being a blessing bothers me. It says something really bad about anyone who talks like that.

There are a number of commenters here who have no problem expressing the opinion that death is appropriate for all sorts of people.

I feel personally stung by the threats against boomers. It's just plain mean and has to be stopped! Those people should be ...

I need a safe space and a therapy puppy.

Why are you offended by the truth like a little bitch snowflake? Coronavirus is racist against Boomers.

Right, the only possible reason this would be 'good' is because of the extreme price of end-of-life care. Changing norms and laws around palliative care, or heaven forbid, getting a functional market for healthcare in this country would be a *blessing*. The best that can be said about 6M olds dying of covid19 is that it would be a tragedy with a *silver lining* (in both senses of the phrase) . I don't expect any compassion from RL though, given his attitude towards wanting to ban the inexhaustible loaves and fishes of free-flowing ideas to enrich a few well connected 'idea barrons' with copyright and patents.

@North49, my fiend, not all people are like Alberto Santos-Dumont, from a rich family, who could afford to invent for fun, or is a nerd who invents for the love of inventing. Those 'inexhaustible loaves and fishes" don't just miraculously rain down from heaven but have to be paid for via incentives, IMO. Or at least that's my story and I'm sticking to it (I concede that there are many inventors like Santos-Dumont and the archetypal nerd)

The chance that 5 million Americans die from this is zero point zero. Same for 5 million worldwide

I'd be shocked if more than 100,000 world-wide die.

How are you sure you will be able to get to your overseas bolt-holes? You got a private jet? Because air travel may be the next clampdown. And on the receiving end visitors may not be welcome, and even yachts have to check in via customs.

B&M all American baked beans are still available. And Walmart only sells kidney beans in store, not online.

Meaning that Walmart will become a vector of infection, unlike the person delivering a package who will continue to work while sick because they have no savings or paid sick leave.,

Walmart delivers.

Don't Drink Corona Beer.

Are emergency food supply 'kits' similarly out-of-stock?

I think our LDS/Mormon brothers and sisters are taught to keep on hand up to six months supplies.

If you delay preparing for the 'zombie apocalypse,' you likely will be unprepared.

Pete Buttegieg, "What me worry?"

Drink Yeungling Lager.

I was at Kroger last night. Nothing unusual.

Twitter is definitive in such cases, not your lying eyes.

Virtually no generic medicine at Walmart two nights ago. Late truck, or...???

There is no disruption in the generics market.

Not yet anyways.

Costco in Fair Lakes (Fairfax County) VA was insane today. One of the food sample folks mentioned it was the same way on Friday. That said, the shelves were still full.

... the Bernie Sanders solution is to nationalize the bean-industry & issue government ration-cards for retail bean purchases

No one needs four kinds of beans, anyway.

That's right. Otherwise we'll be like Robin Williams trying to buy coffee in "Moscow on the Hudson."

You made me laugh. Good one.


Does anyone know what became of the gasoline ration cards? Are we still storing them?

Looks like the golden mosaic virus may have attacked the bean crop.

So that is what we have become.

The NY elites are upset when their BMWs slam into deer.

I was able to translate some of the rant bouncing against national labs. I live 50 miles west of Brookhaven. The deer population out east is exploding. The bucks have two dicks each.

Been there. Done that. Sandia Mts., Albuquerque, White Sands, USAF nukes. ETC.

Do these beans increase flatulence? Will oxygen masks fall from the sky? I will be everywhere.. :( :(

Gas-X for all!!

How the mighty have fallen. We used to brag about our system, but now we collapse between a very mismanaged plague and the spectre of communism. The gods are just, and of our pleasant vices
Make instruments to plague us.

It's chili season, folks. Bush is best. The kidney beans (pictured) are what I use in my chili - you don't put them in until shortly before you serve the chili - otherwise, they get mushy. The Bush black eyed peas are what I use for my hoppin john - it's a Southern New Year's Day tradition for good luck. As one might expect, there's a run in the South on black eyed peas the week leading to New Year's Day.

The Greeks have bean soup festivals and I have to say that bean soup is really good in the hands of a skilled cook; both in mouthfeel (not too hard, not too mushy) and taste. I asked one how she does it and she said it was from muscle memory (my words not hers) and she cannot get others to replicate her success despite telling them exactly how to make it.

Bonus trivia: Annibale Carracci, dating from 1580-1590.

Why would an Italian name their kid Annibale? Just wondering. You know, after the guy who marched across the Alps with elephants trying to kill Italians.

I hate to contribute to the madness, but...

Went out this morning for the regular, every two week “big” grocery shopping. No thoughts of any special purchases.

At Wegmann’s there was a single canister of name brand disinfectant wipes and that got me thinking a little. Wandered over to Health & Beauty and realized we’re in an arms race when there was an Out of Stock sign where the rubbing alcohol was supposed to be. It wasn’t on my list anyway, but that got me thinking more.

After that I headed across the parking lot to Walmart. No brand name and little store brand Lysol spray. Maybe half a dozen bottle of cleaner with bleach. No name brand disinfectant wipes.

Whether you call it panic buying or logically getting while you can or whatever, I think we’re there.

I’m not cynical enough apparently. I didn’t understand the pandemic apocalypse implications until I read the comments.

There is no number of kidney beans that save me from a breakdown of the social order. I could probably fit a months worth in my apartment and then what?

Then you eat the old lady across the hall.

Live in an area with a very high East and South Asian population. Shopping this week, I saw a Chinese lady, wearing a face mask, with 75 pounds of rice, and nothing else, in her basket. The rice is not really out of the ordinary, 25 pounds bags are routinely end of aisle display, but I noticed the mask.

Rice (and flour) is very cheap as insurance goes. My store was sold out of powdered milk.

The main reason to stockpile for a pandemic is if you get too sick to adequately take care of yourself while the health system is under maximum stress. Food requiring no preparation is at least as important as flour (it is at least possible to put rice and water in a pot, and then eat it hours later without cooking). Think along the lines of canned fruit, or other canned goods requiring minimal (or no) preparation. Ice cream is a surprisingly good choice in several ways too - easily digested, providing energy at a point where the body needs it.

Preparing as if a pandemic is like a hurricane or snowstorm is another example of how little proper preparation or planning exists right now. For example, what is really important to have currently is a reliable thermometer that works. The supply chains concerning that item are already suffering some disruption, and the information a thermometer provides may become critical in a way that food won't.

Around the time of Y2K, a woman I knew stockpiled dozens of cans of Dinty Moore stew. Thereafter, for a couple years, if you visited her, she'd try to sneak a can into your bag, as a sort of lagniappe.

If things get grim, I'll make them grimmer and go to my parents, who keep a larder of non-perishables well-stocked at all times. The disruption of being unable to leave their house for nearly three weeks during and after Harvey did not particularly faze them, food-wise. Maybe Mother will fix chipped-beef-in-white-sauce on toast.

Ah, Dinty Moore:

First they came for the beans...

Then they came for the Cheetos, but I didn't care.

Even three weeks ago I found a sold out shelf of hand sanitizer at my local grocery store. That wasn't surprising. But I was surprised that Amazon Fresh was selling out of multiple brands of kidney beans. Will they manage to get them back in stock?

Hoarding is well underway. It will accelerate further when people notice some products selling out. But bow many of the hoarders still aren't washing their hands?

Indeed. The observations about hand sanitizer make me ask: are the stores running out of bars of soap?

Last night I went to a couple of Asian stores (looking for XO sauce and fish sauce). There was an entire aisle of noodles, well-stocked with no signs of panic buying.

Yesterday, about 100 people died in traffic accidents in the US. Isn’t that a national crisis that demands immediate reaction?

I remember having the same misgivings while the Fukushima nuclear accident slowly unfolded; why worry about this low death count event in the literal wake of a high death count tsunami? In hindsight my curiosity was justified. There were great lessons to be learned from the nuclear accident and only the equivalent of baseball box scores on the response to the tsunami which amounted to how well the Japanese executed global best practices in disaster relief.

COVID-19 may be no more impactful than the flu but successful containment can spell the difference between it being a seasonal fact of life vs. a one time event.

RAD, thank you for your thoughtful answer. There are, of course, important policy implications, particularly because the potential extent of the crisis is not known yet. My sarcastic question was targeted at all the individuals who are freaking out without a sense of proportion. If traffic accidents were a completely new phenomenon and we had three successive days of 100 dead people, all 50 governors would issue emergency orders and the roads would be empty.

The parallels between COVID-19 and Fukushima are deeper than important policy implications alone. Lives lost is entirely the wrong metric. The cost of each event is not proportional to the health impacts. Every fiscal conservative should be terrified and rightfully so; financial health is at stake.

This morning at Trader Joe's in Menlo Park, the staff said that sales were forecast yesterday for $80,000, but came in at $125,000. They also said that the scene at the nearby Ace Hardware was very interesting.

Tyler once recommended young people to eat more beans. I guess this is young people belatedly taking him up on the advice. Presumably he has some BeanCo stock.

He also recommended tortillas and canned chilli peppers for the unemployable deplorables. No need to be a bitter populist supporter when you have access to infinite beans for next to nothing.


As somebody who spent a lot of years in the deep south, there was a saying. As long as Waffle House is open, that means the trucks are still delivering food. If Waffle House is closed, then you should be concerned.

The panic is the worst part. Stock up enough for about one or two weeks max. Stuff that has a long-shelf life. Buy extra batteries, toilet paper, and advil. Keep a gun with extra ammo. Stay calm. This is not Ebola. It's just a virus.

Why in the world would anyone need to stockpile batteries for a pandemic?

In case there is a disruption of services - utilities, internet service - you want batteries for flashlights and a hand crank radio to get weather alerts and know what the hell is going on around the country. Think of how you would prepare for an earthquake or hurricane. Protect the fort.

Why would a pandemic cause a disruption in basic utilities? And why would weather alerts particularly matter during a months long pandemic? Preparing for a pandemic is completely different than preparing for an earthquake or hurricane. A fever thermometer is extremely important during a pandemic, but meaningless in connection with an earthquake or hurricane.

Imagine if the virus gets loose and half the workforce is sick and doesn't show up to work for two weeks, you don't think that would lead to a disruption in services? I said earthquakes and hurricanes because we have experience with those things - stockpiling, panic, looting, etc. The panic is the worst part.

One whole American dollar for a can of beans? I love the smell of arbitrage in the morning!

I don't know about Amazon/Whole Foods buyers, but the rest of America has no trouble finding beans.

The Jewel near me (same company as Safeway) shows 308 results for "canned beans". At least the first 60 items show no out of stocks for delivery, including Bush's (most Bush's varieties $1.79, though; Jewel is NOT the price leader in this market)

So no candemic?

And this doesn't seem to be a current problem on Amazon.
So, have we been punked?

I suspect their server was briefly malfunctioning. I just checked and all those beans are in stock.

Coronavirus did more for American retailers than last Christmas. Black plague beats Black Friday.

Rather fun. So, by drawing purchases forward (ie, stockpiling) this Q GDP will be higher. Just what Donald needs for his re-election campaign.

Why do I sense a conspiracy theory coming on here? This tiome around it's the Chinese aiding him, not the Russians?

“330M*0.5*.035 = 5.78M Americans“

Math is hard.


It was just National Chili Day on the 27th of February. Perhaps there was an unexpected interest in Chilis featuring kidney beans?

Hi. Today I went to the stores to do the monthly restocking. I did not notice big empty spaces on the shelves except for one particular variety of name-brand wipes, alcohol gel hand sanitizer, and 1/2 gal jugs of chlorine bleach. Gallon jugs of chlorine bleach were not sold out. Canned, cooked dried beans appear to be plentiful. The sector I inhabit is >60 percent Hispanic.

This looks like the diet of the Italian homeless.
Quite bland..
Spilling the beans, I would go for elderberry syrup.

I went to the Costco in Pentagon City on Thursday (we have an infant and I wanted to stock up on diapers, wipes and formula) and apparently that was the correct decision because I was told it was a madhouse this past weekend.

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