As the Frazier family shopper (my wife hasn’t been in a supermarket but perhaps once or twice in the 20+ years we’ve been wed, but she also is probably the only woman in Cuyahoga County that has never set foot in Legacy Village, Beachwood Place or Crocker Park for that matter, since she shops exclusively online and has for years) I’m the one dashing in and out of stores, attempting to outrun the coronavirus just to keep us supplied with the essentials our family needs.
While I don’t normally shop at Walmart, I recently went in to the Steelyard Commons location to purchase a swing as a gift for our vineyard foreman’s newborn, since he told me it was the only place I would be able to locate the particular model his significant other wanted. The emptiness of many of the store shelves brought the effect of the pandemic home in a way I had not previously experienced.
A few days later I went to Costco (where I usually shop) and because they didn’t carry one of the items on my list, I visited the nearby Walmart on Mayfield at SOM Center Road. The difference between how that location’s shelves were stocked and what I saw at the inner-city Walmart was startling, to say the least. While there were a few practically empty shelves, it was nothing like the Steelyard Commons location.
I suppose there could be a perfectly logical reason for the disparity. It could have simply been that more people shop at the Steelyard Commons outlet and therefore deplete supplies more swiftly. Or could it be something more sinister? The two stores cater to widely different demographics, so I have to wonder if more goods are shipped to the store that sits in a wealthier zip code.
I attempted to reach out to Walmart headquarters, but after my call was transferred three times I was simply hung up on, something that only confirms my suspicions. If shortages of essential items were to get critical, I can envision the day when shoppers would have to prove they live in the community with the better-stocked shelves or be turned away by security personnel.
But that’s not something that could happen here in the good ’ol U.S. of A. … could it?