Pandemic Tips #8 Toilet Paper, Finances, Second Homes

Pandemic Tips - Shopping and toilet paper

Some general thoughts including toilet paper, finances and second homes. 

There is still no immediate end in sight. The situation evolves on a daily basis. 

Shopping – Still no toilet paper. Other stocks are ok

Online toilet paper. Chaos

I tried ordering a package for toilet paper on Sunday. As of Thursday, my order is listed as “Order Received”. I realize that they are swamped. I’m not sure if or when that will come in

As a backup I ordered a 12 pack from Walmart online on April 8th. As of April 9th my order is showing that it is in process with an expected delivery of April 17th.

“Out of stock” messages abound on both sites.

If you need supplies, give yourself plenty of lead time. Nothing is certain at this point.

A co-worker in Utah mentioned that he ordered from Whole Foods and got his order within a couple of hours. Prices might be a bit high for some items.

If you need something, you need to be persistent and try a couple of sources. You don’t want to go overboard and have 30 roll packs coming in from five different places. On the other hand, you don’t want to be using old newspapers either.

Store Stocks

I visited a Walgreens and Giant tonight. Both had decent levels of stock except for paper products. Walgreens was out of Tonic water but Giant had some. Most of that was diet with a few bottles of non diet. 

The meat section was surprisingly well stocked. Cleaning supplies were picked over. I was shopping for me, my mom and my girlfriend. I got everything that was on the list except for a block of cheap cheddar cheese. I was able to get swiss instead (I use that in my omelettes). 

Another thing I noticed was that flour and yeast are out of stock. Apparently everyone is giving their home bread making machines a workout. 


My mom mentioned that one of the TV shows, Dr. Phil I believe, was using the term Coronidiots. Three teenagers came into the giant. No protective gear and shoulder to shoulder. When they went to the checkout, they had purchased individual small bottles of chocolate milk. Until we get a handle on this consider the supermarket to be an NBC Biohazard zone.

The other thing seems to be people who are throwing their gloves on the ground after they are done shopping. I didn’t personally see this, but I’ve seen photos. What slobs.

Food Safety.

There hasn’t been a lot of time to study Covid-19. There is some indication that it can survive longer in a cooler, dryer environment such as a refrigerator. Given this possibility, I’ve rethought some things. 

  • Buy room temperature beer, wine and soda. That way you can leave it out for a couple of days before refrigerating it. You can also wipe it with disinfectant. 
  • Don’t put bread right into the refrigerator or freezer. Leave it out for a day or two and then refrigerate or freeze it. 
  • Anything that does need to go into the refrigerator or freezer should be wiped down prior. 

Finances and liquidity

Someone I know lost their job when the lockdowns started. Getting some immediate liquidity is problematical for them right now as the funds they were invested in have rules as to if/when you can withdraw money. (This is true of most funds). However, in this case it is less than ideal.

After things settle down, it would be a good idea to have at least some investments set up so they can be liquidated to provide something like three months of expenses.

My debit card got compromised

I checked my balances and found a transaction that I definitely didn’t make. Fortunately my bank was answering the phone at 10 pm. They cancelled that card. I paid 25 dollars for expedited shipping and it should arrive by the weekend. 

I actually have 3 accounts with the bank. I was able to immediately transfer money to my other account and use that card.

Try to have a backup plan in case a card gets compromised.  Check your account balances and transactions daily. The dirtballs aren’t taking time off. 

More on a second home as a bugout location or even as an investment.

I mentioned issues with a second home in a previous post. As things progress I am becoming more convinced that a second home is a bad investment.

  • The county decreed that Covid-19 testing is for residents only. I’m not sure if that is legal or not but you would have no means to fight that.
  • Some states such as Delaware are targeting drivers with out of state license plates. Again, the legality of that is questionable but you really have no immediate recourse.
  • Many people depend on rental income. With larger homes this can be 20 thousand dollars per year. Currently rentals are restricted until May. There is not guarantee that they will open up then. Taxes are outrageously high and there is little likelihood of tax forbearance. In other words, you not only can’t use your home as a refuge, you could possibly take a horrendous financial hit.
  • My guess is that many seasonal communities will put plans in place to actively deny access to non residents as soon as a problem arises.

The best laid plans.

I mentioned in a previous post that I have a checklist for going to the store. I put the credit cards and store cards I need in another wallet along with cash. That way, I don’t have to touch my regular wallet.

I wanted to buy a six pack at Giant. The cashier said she needed to see my id. Give me a freaking break.. I’m on the high side of 60. BUT, rules are rules. So I had to dig into my regular wallet. Now, I need to disinfect that.

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