Empty shelves plague many Southwest Florida grocery stores

Reporter: Andryanna Sheppard
Published: Updated:

More and more money is flying out of your wallet to put food on the table, but only if you can find the food.

Grocery store aisles are littered with patches of bare shelves.

The times that are left behind are expensive and that’s at Walmart, Publix, Target and stores across Southwest Florida.

The omicron variant is to blame.

It’s like it’s 2020 all over again. Signs tell you how many items each person can buy while other signs tell you they are out of something.

“It’s hard because we go store to store looking for what we need. and tentatively, store after store, the shelves don’t have it. So we search week after week for the same items,” said Linda Kelley, a shopper.

Julie Schuester has gone up and down the grocery store aisles several times this week and has still come up short.

“A lot of just everyday crackers and things that you need every day. Butters like your normal things. The staples that you need every day to survive. and they’re just not there,” Schuester said. “They’re not coming.”

The supply chain issues go back to the newest variant.

People are stocking up and workers are getting sick.

“All we can do is pray. That’s all I can say is pray that things start to turn around. That we get product back into this country,” Schuester said.

Over-the-counter medications are also flying off the shelves.

For weeks, Kelley has tried getting her husband his much-needed aspirin.

For the first time in a long time, she was at the right store at the right time, just before the shelf completely cleared out.

“I was able to get aspirin and there was only three bottles on the shelves. and thank goodness I could get a bottle,” Kelley said.

The medicine that helps people with coughs, fevers, headaches and sniffles are disappearing quickly, making it harder to take care of yourself at home.

“If it came down to it I guess people are going to go without it,” Schuester said.

Kelley said she hopes the next time she needs aspirin it will be easier to find.

“We’ll be glad when this is over,” Kelley said.

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