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Why Your Commissary's Shelves Are Empty (This Time)

As any experienced commissary shopper knows, empty shelves are often also known as "pay day." And if you combine pay day with a Saturday and a $1.50 boxes of Cherrios? It starts to look like the Soviet Union in there.

UPDATE: DeCA to airlift chilled food to Japan and Korea. Read about it here.

But recently shoppers overseas have been noticing things are a little more sparse than normal. And they've been posting photos to the Defense Commissary Agency's (DeCA) Facebook page.

Photos like these:

Shelves at the Kadena Air Force Base, Japan commissary Jan. 5. Shelves at the Kadena Air Force Base, Japan commissary Jan. 5.

 

This photo posted to the DeCA Facebook page Jan. 5 shows the Ramstein, Germany commissary. This photo posted to the DeCA Facebook page Jan. 5 shows the Ramstein, Germany commissary.

This photo of the Camp Foster, Japan commissary was posted to the DeCA Facebook page on Jan. 5. This photo of the Camp Foster, Japan commissary was posted to the DeCA Facebook page on Jan. 5.

If you just drove all the way to the base, unpacked your kids from the car, scored the only "car cart" left that wasn't missing a wheel and bribed their silence with gold fish crackers, the very LAST thing you want to see is completely empty shelves.

But if you are in Europe or the Pacific, that is very likely what you are finding this week.

Officials with DeCA say the problem is to blame on a perfect storm, of sorts. A labor dispute at docks on the U.S. west coast, a broken down container ship, bad weather in Europe, holiday port shutdowns and a series of system failures at Customs throughout Europe and at a DeCA facility in Germany all combined. The result? American yogurt or frozen green beans may be hard to come by.

You can read all there is to know about this over in my Military.com story.

The big question you, of course, are asking is WHEN will the Nutella very nutritious food be back in stock?

(We kid -- Nutella supplies should be fine. This is mostly impacting cold and frozen items).

For the folks in Europe, things will start looking up by Jan. 14, officials said. But if you're in the Pacific? It may be awhile.

"The challenges to supplying our stores in the Pacific are ongoing, and with continued West Coast port delays, we cannot determine when cargo movement patterns will return to normal," they said. "However, we are doing everything possible - increasing our product reorders, looking for additional approved local sources and examining alternative shipping methods - to find work-around solutions to these problems."

 

Photos courtesy of Facebook.

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