Vignettes from Wichita Falls this morning

I drove into our nearby “big city”, Wichita Falls, this morning to do some shopping and fill my vehicle with gasoline.  I took the opportunity to speak with folks I know there.  This is what they told me.

  • Sams Club has been overrun with anxious shoppers buying everything they can get their hands on.  This morning, the queue of full carts and shoppers waiting to pay for their purchases stretched from the tills all the way to the back of the store.  It was taking up to an hour to pay and get out.  I didn’t want to wait that long, so I took my shopping list elsewhere.  It was all available at smaller stores, albeit at somewhat higher prices.
  • My favorite gun dealer still has plenty of firearms and ammunition.  Most folks in this part of the world already have theirs, so they haven’t joined the panic buying of guns and ammo.  However, he’s furious (as am I) at the price-gouging by some dealers.  A local store is asking over $40 for a twenty-round box of .223 ammunition (nothing special – Winchester white box ball).  My dealer is still selling his ammo at the regular price (less than half that), because he refuses to profiteer.  Good for him!  However, he’s been informed by NICS (which runs background checks on gun purchasers) that they can no longer give him results within three days, as is the norm.  Thanks to the huge nationwide increase in gun sales, he’s been told he won’t get clearance on applications submitted this week until April 15th at the earliest, and he should hold the guns until then.  This is not making his buyers happy, but what can he do?  (That’s yet another good reason to have a Texas concealed carry permit – it does away with the need for a separate background check every time you buy a gun.)
  • I need to ship a package to Colorado, and inquired about it at the UPS Store.  The clerk on duty informed me that for regular shipping, the delay to get it there is now ten days to two weeks, because everyone is ordering stuff online after they learn that local stores have run out.  If I pay for overnight shipping, it may take two to three days;  second-day-air shipping can take three to four.  That’s just the way it is.  The courier and delivery services are absolutely swamped.
  • Sadly, the lower gasoline prices being quoted in the news media haven’t made their way to Wichita Falls yet.  I paid over $2 per gallon to fill my vehicle, and about $3.40 per gallon for non-ethanol fuel (91 octane – all that was available) to fill two 5-gallon cans (the final two of our emergency/back-up gasoline stash).  I first emptied the cans into my vehicle’s tank, where the old gas would be diluted by fresh fuel from the pump.  That way, even two-year-old gasoline is entirely usable.  I try to rotate the gas in our stash every year to eighteen months.

At least it was a productive morning, and I was able to enjoy some fresh air.  This afternoon I’m going to tackle the back yard with our new lawnmower, if it’s dried out enough – about half of it is still basically swamp beneath the grass cover.



  1. I understand about mowing. This has been the wettest start of the year ever in North Texas and my back yard is a marsh. Can’t mow it and the dog is sorely disappointed. May be able to do the front yard tomorrow, but may have to work online.

    We are stocked up on food and such, saw this coming about a month ago. Both of us can work from home for a month or two.

    Worried about the youths out of school for long periods of time and the rapid increase in unemployment. Only time before we get a large increase in crime. Already talked to neighbors, everyone is aware and concerned.

    I think we will have a massive society change long term, hopefully more good than bad. This is truly a Chinese curse of “Interesting Times”.

  2. Been years and years of beers since I been there!
    And of course, to the west is ELECTRA.
    Almost moved there in the late 60’s.
    Now, aunt and uncle are buried there.

  3. Greetings from the outskirts of Houston! I’m not surprised that folks up that way don’t feel the need to buy guns when they get panicky. They might want more ammo, but they already have the guns. To quote the song, “A country boy can survive.”

  4. Outskirts of Houston…
    Now that takes in a lot of territory for sure!
    We moved from SEALY to Iowa in 2005 when I retired from the USPS.
    Ex lives in the Woodlands, our children live in Spring…

  5. If you have a smartphone you don’t have to wait to check out at a Sam’s club. They have a app that allows you to scan each product with your phone as you put it in your cart. By the time your done shopping you just go to the door, show the door attendant your phone and go to your car.

  6. I’m not from around here, so passing through The Woodlands and seeing how aptly it is named was nice. I came here from the Big Country, which doesn’t really have trees, much less woods.

  7. about $3.40 per gallon for non-ethanol fuel 91 octane

    Up here, you can get racing gasoline (110 octane) for $8.61/gallon. See how THAT works in your chainsaw!!

  8. The HEB I drive by on my way in to work (I’m a cop, can’t work from home) was at $1.80 yesterday, and a station down the street at $1.75.

    This in Brazos county, about 2 hours north of Houston.

  9. Montana
    Mowing…. It was 26 this morning when I took the dogs out. The grass was brown and crunchy.

    Fuel at most stations is still $2.24 while Costco had it at $1.85.

    I hit the grocery store at my normal 6:45 this morning. It’s usually opened 24 hours. Today I was 20th in line for a 7:00 opening. They posted a no TP sign at about 6:55 which made me 15th in line. I easily bought everything on my list except non-dairy Cherry’s Garcia for my wife.

    I haven’t ventured into a sporting goods store but reports from clients suggest a lot of buying is going on. I figure the components I have on hand will keep me busy at the press for quite a while if we’re all ordered to stay home.

  10. Gas around here is today at $1.96 a gallon for the 10% ethanol blend.
    But drive 13 miles to Ankeny and it is $1.64.
    When we lived down that away in Sealy, it was into Houston area off IH10 for HEB and Fiesta.
    Ah, the good old days for sure….

  11. Thanks for the updates from WF, Peter – nice to hear about goings on in my dad’s hometown. The gun store/training academy at which I work here in NC has been really busy this last week, but the owners decided to pull the plug yesterday and closed the store “until further notice,” presumably when the crisis gets better. We have always had a three week supply of food on hand, have plenty of other supplies (including TP!!), so we should be pretty well set. I’m still wondering why the beaches are closed, though – I understand trying to keep millennials on spring break under control, but that doesn’t happen on most NC beaches. Anyway, keeping fingers crossed that this situation doesn’t spiral out of control, like the press and leftists want it to.

    Stay safe and healthy, everyone.

  12. Here in Greater Cincinnati, it took a week, but the shelves at the local Kroger supermarkets have returned more-or-less to normal. Yes, toilet paper and hand sanitizer are in short supply, but most else is back to normal. The milk and bread are a bit picked over, but less so than when a snowstorm is forecast. The limits the store placed on purchases of key products, and the continued lack of societal collapse, appear to be making an impact.

  13. IIRC, if there is no NICS response within three days, then by law an FFL is allowed to transfer a firearm. Is this not, or no longer, the case? Whether an FFL wishes to go against current ATF advice is another matter, of course.

  14. tkdkerry: The law is that they can do a ‘default proceed’ after three days, though I’m sure most FFLs wait longer than that because no one wants the potential liability of selling a gun to a prohibited person even if it was technically legal due to the FedGov dropping the ball on background checks. I also suspect many store owners would be more forgiving to regular customers whom they personally know.

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