Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Grocery Fairy cometh?

Next time you are in the grocery store, take a look around. Ask yourself honestly if even one person is in that store thinking about where all those goodies come from?

The Grocery Fairy!

All the goodies in the grocery store must come from the Grocery Fairy, right?


All those groceries come from TRUCKERS. Plain and simple. Truckers are the "backbone" of America. Nothing gets to market without truckers.

Every time I have been to Russia, I have met someone who told me a story about the lines they had for meat and bread after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Things were pretty harsh, to say the least.

But these days it is easy to visit a grocery store in Russia that is packed full of goodies. Most of the Russian grocery stores look about the same as one in the US, or Mexico.

A few years ago, I had an eye-opening experience that increased my AWARENESS of the food situation in the US. One of the supply ships that goes back and forth to Hawaii from the mainland threw it's rudder and became disabled.

About three days later, I finished my work for the day and stopped by the grocery store on the way home. It was a panic.

All the Hawaiians were busy fighting each other while cleaning out everything off the shelves in the grocery store. It was sheer pandemonium. People were charging through the store with at least two shopping carts and just throwing stuff in. The word had gotten out that things were thinning out on the shelves and then everybody panicked. All the ATM machines ran out of cash too.

The amazing thing to me was when I watched one large Hawaiian "Island boy" bashing around with his two shopping carts and even though he rudely pushed right past me, he couldn't push his way past some even larger Hawaiian "girls" blocking the aisle. The guy happened to be standing next to the cake and frosting stuff and I watched him reach down and start loading up on multi-colored candy sprinkles and frosting, candles and cake decorations and so forth.

I asked him, "Excuse me, but, why are you buying cake-baking supplies when there is a food shortage?"

"Fo trade bruddah!" He replied.

Oh! For trade. To trade for food later. Ok. Whatever. Good luck with that strategy. I could just smell his sense of desperation. He was a big dude and obviously he needed some major calories every day to keep the fires burning. The thought of the local grocery store running out of food had him really scared!

I told this story to my buddy that works maintenance over at the Honolulu airport, and his cousin works down at the port of Honolulu, and he proceeded to "educate" me on the fact that Hawaii only has a few days of food supply at any given time. Everything is sort of "just in time inventory now in the new age of container ships. If the ships stop coming in..... people stop eating. I guess that figures. Hawaii obviously doesn't grow a whole bunch of food crops with the intention of self-sustainability, even though they could. Corruption prevents things like that that make sense. It is easy to observe that, for example, one WHOLE ISLAND, Lanai, is dedicated to enriching just one company, not providing a self-sustainable food supply for all the Hawaiian Islands. Hmmmm.....

Now, just to put this into perspective for you....I'm a pretty fortunate kid. My family was always very comfortable and having food to eat had never once been an issue. About the only time I have ever gone hungry was my own fault for deciding to go climb some mountains and getting stuck in the tent a few extra days because of the avalanches. I've never gone hungry.

But watching the melee going on in that supermarket in Hawaii really opened my eyes. In a different way than living in California. 

In California, any idiot understands that we have earthquakes every day. So anybody with any common sense keeps their running shoes in their car (to walk home 30 miles once the freeways are blocked after "the big one") and keeps a week's worth of canned goods and water sitting in the garage.

Peak Oil kind of raises the stakes to a whole different level.

What if the Grocery Fairy just quit coming? Not just for a week. But what about FOREVER?

That's what it is all about really.

Go into the market today and instead of looking at all the wonderful "products," take a look around at all the people. Ask yourself what any of them plan to do if the Grocery Fairy stopped bringing loads of goodies once a week?

No plan! That's the answer! They have NO PLAN. They don't have a plan because they are not AWARE. That is what this blog is all about. Awareness.

I hate to be the one to tell you but, most people really believe in the Grocery Fairy. I don't even know you but I can easily say with certainty that YOU probably believe in the Grocery Fairy!

Most folks living today didn't grow up on a farm. That was more than 100 years ago when most Americans lived on farms and had some mental awareness of the connection between the farm and the grocery store.

Filling your tank with gas at the local "filling station" is the same vibration. People don't sit and think about the oil well that was drilled and the pipeline that was laid and the refinery that cooked and the delivery truck that brought the magic go-go juice to the fillin' station. Everybody I observe is busy texting and squawking on their bluetooths (blueteeth?) and obviously think the GASOLINE FAIRY brought some cheap go-go juice for them.

Well, guess what you Peak Freakers? The party is over. TRUCKING IS SUCKING.

Diesel fuel was about $5.00 per gallon all through the summer of 2008 and thousands of truckers got permanently shoved out of the Fairy business.

Even though diesel has dropped in price, the economics of our system of long distance salads and the millions of dollars we waste shipping food all the way across the country just does not make sense.

It is not just that truckers are having a "hard time." Things are CATASTROPHIC.

A whole way of life is ending.

Remember that the interstate trucking business was "born" in the 1920's during the days of alcohol Prohibition. That's when all the big trucking companies got their start running moonshine. (That's right, it wasn't just those ho-dad NASCAR drivers and rum-runner Kennedys).

But now there is a fundamental shift. Trucking just doesn't make sense. The numbers don't add up. At lease not for shipping food in trucks. Maybe you can still make some money on high-end consumer electronics or drugs like cigarettes but shipping food just does not make economic sense any more.

Oil prices are going to be very volatile for the near future. Up and down. Probably way up and down. Deal with it. Get a clue. Become AWARE!

And don't forget to leave a quarter under your pillow tonight for the Grocery Fairy. ;-)


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