The Public Eye

printed 01/10/2020

To anyone over the holidays who couldn’t find horseradish in the grocery store, I have the answer.

Likewise, shoppers who couldn’t find kosher salt, or eggs or ricotta cheese or a grocery cart load of other items that would normally be on the shelves.

There’s an explanation for this shortage, or so I have been told on good authority.

Let me say right now I’m not kidding. I have the story straight from the people who couldn’t find what they needed at one local grocery store, as well as someone who talked to someone who knew a guy at the dairy case at the aforementioned store.

As he told it to someone who told someone else and so on, a number of local restaurants found themselves on the short end of the menu going into New Year’s, because a supply outfit apparently messed up and failed to deliver multiple orders.

I can’t say who the supplier is, because this comes from someone who talked to someone who knew a guy, and so forth, but it is apparently true that the operator of one local breakfast joint came rushing in and then scrambled out with not dozens, but cases, of eggs because his usual supply didn’t not arrive. He was, they say, not sunnyside up about it, either.

Also true is that a local shopper with whom I am acquainted went to every grocery store in and around Ocean City in a futile quest for kosher salt.

Now ask yourself, is kosher salt so popular that the consuming public went on a buying binge? It’s doubtful. Besides, the subject of water retention would have made its way into local conversations by now if this shelf-clearing salt spree had been undertaken by a cadre of salted nuts rather than by a failure to deliver.

Similarly, I also find it doubtful that everyone’s horseradish went bad at the same time, thus sending them out into the grocery store wilderness at this most inopportune time.

As for the ricotta, all I know is that someone I know exceptionally well told me she bought the last container in the store, according to a guy who saw all the rest fly out of there in some kind of lasagna emergency.

So there you have it. I don’t know what else went missing in this panic-buying brouhaha, but I’ll find out. I know a guy in the restaurant business, and he knows someone who knows a guy who, just possibly, was supposed to make the delivery.

One other thing: this would have made an interesting news story, but the laws of attribution dictate that you can’t say “according to someone who knows someone who knows …” I prefer to leave that kind of reporting to the social media.

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