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The Mast-Head: No Buns in Store

Wed, 07/03/2024 - 08:27

There were no hot dog buns at Stop & Shop by Sunday late afternoon. I had been in the East Hampton supermarket to pick up a few things and thought that I would buy some turkey dogs, for emergency purposes only, of course. Hot dogs were aplenty, but other than a stack of unappetizing potato rolls, there was nothing to put them on. Heaps of hamburger rolls were available, oddly enough. I, and a few other people as it turned out, wondered how this could have happened.

July 4 falling on a Thursday this year, it seemed from the roads and Main Street that the summer people had decided to stay the week. And, with rentals turning over on the 1st of the month, there was stocking up to do. Stop and Shop has a reputation for uneven shelving, so maybe that was to blame.

The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council provides context for the Stop & Shop shortage: “From Memorial Day to Labor Day, Americans typically consume 7 billion hot dogs.” If stretched end to end, the dogs sold over the July Fourth weekend would stretch from New York to Los Angeles more than four times. By weight, 896 million pounds of hot dogs were sold in stores, adding up to $2.99 billion.

I saw a guy with a man-bun near the checkout.

Engineered foods, including hot dogs, are bad for you. A research team at the National Cancer Institute estimated that people who eat ultra-processed foods could peel off as many as eight years from their life span. Imagine being treated in a hospital for a heart problem on your last go-round, years too soon, and thinking, “Dang. I should’ve laid off the dogs.”

Hot dogs are near the top of the most deadly supermarket items. Often cited as the worst is ice cream, which surprised me. Others included mass-produced bread, breakfast cereals, cookies, soda and energy drinks, frozen pizza, and instant soups. Burgers have their own health risks but turn out not to be as bad for you.

I took the hot dog bun shortage as a sign and made my way to the fresh vegetables.


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