As the reports came in last week of the devastation being wrought on New Jersey stores, I became a little concerned. After all, eventually I would have to venture out into the feeding frenzy myself. Would there be a line to get in as we had seen at some stores? Would there be anything left on the shelves if I could get in?

I made my trek Saturday morning, stopping first at Target not long after they opened. There were only a handful of shoppers out that early and I had no problem finding the things I needed - mainly deodorant and shaving cream. Since I was already there, I decided to see if they had any toilet paper. As I made my way to the back of the store I noticed that they had NO cleaning supplies: no wipes, no bleach, no nothing. Back in the paper section, they still had a fair amount of paper towels, but, alas, where the toilet paper should have been, there were only empty shelves. I wasn’t too upset since that wasn’t the main reason I was there, but it would have nice to pick some up.

I went to check out and as I was finishing up, I noticed people coming up behind me with big bundles of toilet paper (one woman had six, thirty-roll packs). I asked the employee at the self checkout if he would watch my cart and I went back to the toilet paper section, passing tons of people with TP-laden carts. I got to the farthest aisle and there, standing out like the sword in the stone, were three thirty-packs of Charmin they must have just gotten a delivery. I snatched one bundle (I guess I could have nabbed all three, but why be a jerk?) and sprinted back to the self-checkout. I don’t why I hurried, I just felt like I needed to get the toilet paper in the trunk of my car before I got mugged. I felt like a big game hunter, coming back from the kill to provide for my family, but really, I just got lucky.

Then it was on to the grocery store. I didn’t need many things, but I had to go to buy liverwurst (if you’re a listener, you’ll know why). The store was much more crowded than Target and there were a lot of empty shelves at my world class Shop Rite. The bottled water aisle, for example, was almost empty except for cases of Poland Spring. I’m not a bottled water aficionado, so I don’t know why that is, maybe it sucks? The bakery department had been decimated with no fresh baked anything available, but the real fun was in the meat department. Once again, the shelves were bare, but while I was there, they rolled out a cart of ground beef and customers descended on it like vultures to the kill.

I don’t know if I just got swept up in the mob mentality or what, but I grabbed a three pound pack just in case we needed it (we didn’t). I didn’t feel good about myself after that, so I took my liverwurst, toilet paper, and shaving cream and went home with my bounty, having survived the cut-throat shopping scene.

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