Ask me anything posts rarely disappoint. They often lead me down rabbit holes that I’d otherwise never end up finding. Today’s post is one of those.
If I’m absolutely honest, I wasn’t expecting to write a post about flour and yeast this week. Baking isn’t a skill I have. I wish it was, but my forays into anything involving baked goods have so often ended in disaster that I let other people make my bread and bring in the Amish experts when I need anything fancy. That there was a disruption in the flour and yeast universe just wasn’t something that was on my radar until someone asked my thoughts on the supply being bought up by “people… with no prior experience.”
Being generally a free market kind of guy, my initial response is mostly that I don’t care who is buying products at a micro level and that sooner or later the supply chain will shift to accommodate new demand realities. Digging a bit deeper though, I don’t think having a whole slew of new home bakers out there is necessarily the worst thing that could happen. Whether it’s baking, cooking, or running a nuclear power plant, there was always a time when the people doing those things had no prior experience. Excluding them from the market is bad business – and will decrease the number of potential people in the future bringing baked goods to work once the Great Plague is over. In other words, everyone has to start somewhere… and where better than a point in life when we all have wide open stretches of staying indoors and needing something to occupy the hours.
From a slightly different perspective, I think the broader lesson to be learned here – about yeast, cleaning supplies, or toilet paper – is that it’s probably a good idea to have a little more than we think we’ll need from week to week or month to month. Just in time delivery works well for a lot of products, but when it comes to the basics of everyday life, keeping what you already know you’re going to use in 30 to 60 days on hand suddenly doesn’t feel like a terrible idea, does it?