Walmart Rations Rice

Following Costco’s lead, Walmart announced it is now rationing rice. Shoppers at Sam’s Club discount wholesale clubs will be limited to four bags of rice per customer. Wal-Mart “working with our suppliers to address this matter to ensure we are in stock, and we are asking for our members’ cooperation and patience.” It’s not as bad as it sounds, the bags are still 500 lbs each.

Wal-Mart Rations Rice, Warns of “Supply and Demand” Concerns [Fox Business News]
PREVIOUSLY: Costco: One Bag Of Rice Per Customer, Please


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  1. 500 lbs??? each, so I can only buy 1 ton of rice per visit….seems fair to me.

  2. GotanOrange says:

    I was about to ask the same thing.

  3. Snowblind says:

    50lbs, what is a zero between friends?

  4. unklegwar says:

    I’m lucky to use one box in a year. White rice is all starch, no real nutritional value, what’s the fascination?

  5. deedrit says:

    Got rice b*tch?

  6. Alexander says:

    @unklegwar: What is the fascination? Nothing really. Just that rice has sustained millions of people throughout the history of civilization. Also, “Rice is a staple for a large part of the world’s human population, especially in East, South and Southeast Asia, making it the second-most consumed cereal grain. Rice provides more than one fifth of the calories consumed worldwide by humans.” Yeah, rice, whatever.

  7. ohiomensch says:

    My husband is asian and we go through 25+ pounds of rice every month. This is a big deal to us.

  8. samurailynn says:

    My family eats a lot of Asian food. There’s just three of us (two during the summer – the third is a foreign exchange student) so we only use about 10 lbs per month. I bought a 20 lb bag last night though, because 20 lb for about $8 is the cheapest I’ve seen in a while.

  9. timmus says:

    Isn’t rice kind of starchy? I really love it, but I avoid it like the plague since it seems like a good way to put on unnecessary weight. I don’t think we go through more than a couple of pounds of it a year.

  10. samurailynn says:

    @timmus: Do you eat bread products? Rice pretty much replaces all bread products in our household. We can’t go through a loaf of bread before it gets moldy.

  11. Trai_Dep says:

    Wait, yesterday all the blowhards were slamming Costco and championing Wal-Mart for being paragons of Free Market (cough) for not having limits.
    Or adopt sensible policies to prevent a minority of customers from inconveniencing the majority of them. But hey, potato, potahto.
    So all you guys are going to admit you were wrong, right?
    …Yeah, I didn’t think so either.

  12. petrarch1608 says:

    all this scary rice-rationing news is FUD. Its supply and demand people

  13. Onlyaword says:

    Hello? 500lbs is just a starting point. It’s number that we can all currently tolerate. Next year it could be 250, then 125, and so on….It’s just like all of the cameras – if they all popped up instantly people would freak, but if they add 1 or 2 here and then a few at a time they just become a part of our lives. Same thing with gas – nobody’s doing much more than whining now, but if prices doubled in a month, there might be a full fledged revolt.

  14. DrGirlfriend says:

    It forms the basis of some cultures’ diets. And with the US being a melting pot or whatever they’re calling it now (I prefer to think of it as a “mixed salad”), I’m sure this will affect at least a few people.

    And I speak from experience, since as a Puerto Rican I go through my fair share of rice and beans. And rice and chicken. And rice and sausage. And rice and pigeon peas. You get the idea.

  15. I think it’s 50lbs of rice.

  16. DrGirlfriend says:

    @unklegwar: Also, fortunately, Walmart is *not* rationing its supply of “Narrow World View” at this time, that time-tested product that prevents people from seeing that other people live their lives in many different, varied ways.

  17. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    It’s all panic buying, there’s no real shortage.
    20 years ago Johnny Carson caused panic buying of toilet paper when he told a joke about panic buying of toilet paper in Japan.
    People are really stupid!

  18. lightaugust says:

    I don’t think this is about the merits of rice, or Sam’s Club. I think this is more about the fact that we’re now food rationing in our beloved country, while President Nero keeps on a-fiddlin’! This is another symptom of a very big disease that we’re not even close to dealing with.

  19. howie_in_az says:

    “We are limiting the sale of Jasmine, Basmati and Long Grain White Rices to four bags per member visit,” the company said in a statement. “This is effective immediately in all of our U.S. clubs, where quantity restrictions are allowed by law.”

    Sounds like a great time to visit your local Indian and Asian markets.

  20. samurailynn says:

    @lightaugust: I agree that our president isn’t doing much to actually help people. I don’t think there’s as much rationing going on as this article suggests though.

    However, now that I think about it, I tried to buy gochujang from our local Asian market yesterday and they said their supplier was out so they couldn’t get it with this month’s supplies… maybe all Asian food will be rationed!

  21. razremytuxbuddy says:

    My “rice purchasing credits” are now up for sale to the highest bidder.
    I’ll sell the whole ton, in ten pound increments.
    I wonder if that is 1-ton per day?

  22. averdade says:

    500 pounds? Do they let you drive the forklifts at Costco now too?

  23. sir_eccles says:

    @Greasy Thumb Guzik: Yeah, there’s nothing like saying “don’t panic” to cause a panic.

    Actually this reminds me of the Baked Bean wars back in the UK a few years back.

  24. forgottenpassword says:

    This sounds bizarre! A food shortage of rice? WTF?????????

    Is the world coming to an end???

    btw….. The only rice I eat is basically the equivilant of rice crispies cereal. IF that is indeed actually rice? I havnt had actual rice since I was a kid.

    Now if they start rationing wheat products…. i am going to REALLY be pissed/worried.

  25. bohemian says:

    We started eating more brown rice to get away from bread & pasta. That and it is cheap and won’t go bad.
    We bought 50# bags of flour when they said it was going to go up. Now you can’t even get the good stuff at Sams and stores are rationing.
    I can store a years worth of rice in our pantry and probably will.

    Sams also changed suppliers or quit carrying a bunch of things in the last month. This might just be the tip of things. That worries me.

  26. bohemian says:

    @forgottenpassword: bread rationing? bread fights? Where do I line up to get my sugar ration book?

  27. PlanetExpressdelivery says:

    This has more to do with asian exports being reduced, a poor harvest, and crops that are being diverted for biofuel usage more than Dubya.

  28. AMetamorphosis says:

    Laugh all you want but this is the tip of the iceburg people.

    As China & India raise their standard of living more grains are going towards meat production.

    Addtionally, corn based products are going up too because we are diverting food crops toward plant based fuels.

    We as a country have become fat, dumb & happy … is anyone’s standard of living higher than it was last year ?

    All it takes is a trip to the grocery store to see that food costs are rising significantly.

  29. Bladefist says:

    go to an oriental supermarket, they stack it to the sky.

  30. burgundyyears says:

    @AMetamorphosis: Yes, as a matter of fact, my standard of living has gone up. Thanks for playing the overgeneralization game.

  31. cortana says:

    Actually, a significant portion of the ‘panic buying’ in the US currently, at least with rice, is getting shipped out to people’s families in the Phillippines and other nations in the SE asia area. Other than Thailand, they are mostly fairly dependent on imports to keep their market stocked, and those imports have dried up significantly this year. Just think what it’s costing for all those Americans to SHIP 50-200 pounds of rice to the Phillippines, after buying it here. Let’s just say it ain’t cheap.

  32. Kavatar says:

    People buy rice at Costco and Walmart? Just go buy it at an Asian store. Not that I’m elitist about it, I just like to support Asian markets, and prices are usually comparable anyways.

  33. lightaugust says:

    @PlanetExpressdelivery: I know that’s technically correct, but the head in the sand approach by Dubya, and damn near everyone else, is killing us. Metamorphosis is correct about the tip of the iceberg, and if we don’t see food rationing as a major harbinger of trouble, I’m not sure what’s going to set it off.

  34. samurailynn says:

    @Kavatar: Our local Asian market sells 20 lb bags for $16.99, which I bought last night at Winco for about $8. It’s enough of a price difference, to keep me at Winco. Also, Winco isn’t quite the huge that Costco and Wal-Mart are. So, local Asian market isn’t always the answer, although I do go there for a few other things and I try to pay in cash so that they don’t have to pay the credit card fees.

  35. forgottenpassword says:


    Asian food stores arent everywhere!

    Good luck finding one in bumblefuck tennesee.

  36. sixninezero says:

    It will get worse before it gets better. It’s not too late to plant a garden.

  37. khiltd says:

    Yes, alternative energy research is ruining the world’s food supply. It makes so much sense it can’t not be true.

  38. theblackdog says:

    To whoever was saying in the Costco rationing article that they like Sams Club better, I hope you like your crow well done.

  39. SkokieGuy says:

    Human civilization is destoying itself. The rate at which we speed toward extinction is increasing.

    An excellent article IMHO: The Biofuels Scam, Food Shortages and the Coming Collapse of the Human Population []

  40. chiieddy says:

    @sixninezero: I’ve actually started researching it. I actually think some of us should decrease our demand of rice and get it to developing nations who need it more. In Haiti, the cost of a small container of rice has DOUBLED. When you make $2/day and your rice now costs over $1 and barely feeds your family, it gets hard to eat. And that’s why we’re starting to see food riots.

    While there’s not going to be many in the US or Europe who starve due to a rice shortage, our costs are going to continue to rise and people in developing nations will start to become malnourished and we’re going to start seeing more people dying of starvation if this continues.

    Whose bright idea was it to use a food source for fuel anyhow?

  41. AMetamorphosis says:


    In all seriousness, I’m very happy that your standard of living has risen. Unfortunately, I find this is not the case for a large majority of people I interact with.

    Even if your standard of living has risen, unless you make a substantial amount more than you did last year, a higher percentage of your take home pay is going for heat, gas & food.

    I know mine is :-(

  42. faust1200 says:

    Future article: “500 lb. Rice Bags Actually 499 lbs. 14oz.”

  43. timmus says:

    Why has this article been online for 2 hours with a major error (the weight)? Is anyone going to fix this? Or is there really a 500 pound limit?

  44. nothing good can come from this. let the apocalypse begin for asians and mexicans around the world

  45. ParisAsta says:

    I still have rice from last year. I don’t eat a whole lot of it. But this is still somewhat scary, because of the economic impact will be. If they are starting to say how much rice a person can get even if it is 500lbs. What is to stop them from saying how much meat you can buy a week.. and hello “Food Ration Cards” from a time gone by.

  46. myasir says:

    I take it you don’t know much about growing rice.

  47. sixninezero says:


    I am speaking to the bigger picture of food shortage. I don’t grow rice or even live in a place that I could grow rice. But imagine the surplus of food we could create if everyone started growing some type of food in their front yard instead of wasting resources to grow a lawn.

  48. mgy says:

    @myasir: My apartment complex lets me flood the front lawn seasonally. Doesn’t everyone’s?

  49. ghank says:

    500, 50, does it really matter? who’s going to eat more than 200 pounds of rice in a day?

  50. BigBoat says:

    @faust1200: Nice one!

  51. DrGirlfriend says:

    “Just buy your rice at the Asian store” is all set to become the new “I always get my pizza at a mom and pop joint”

  52. nikalseyn says:

    This may be just the beginning. This is what you get when you listen to the environmental wackos and burn grain instead of eating it or actually drilling for oil off shore or in alaska. Glenn Beck talks about this situation often lately. catch him on the radio.

  53. theirishscion says:


    Actually this reminds me of the Baked Bean wars back in the UK a few years back.

    The baked beans and white bread wars rocked! I lived on 3p baked beans, white bread and irregular eggs in 4-dozen trays through a good chunk of college.

  54. Erwos says:

    @chiieddy: Food is food. If you’re eating grain instead of rice, the price of rice is still going to go up. You either need to raise the supply of food or decrease demand, and only the former is really a possibility.

    There is some irony in that only a few years ago, people were complaining that food prices were really low and that this was destroying African farmers. Be careful what you wish for!

  55. @timmus: Calories in Rice-White – 1/2 Cup-Cooked – 133

  56. @nikalseyn: Put a sock in it, dittomonkey. The reason we’re burning grain in our cars is because gas is pushing $4 and there are tax incentives for producing biofuels. As for drilling in ANWR, this is a problem that will not be solved by drilling more holes, and besides, there ain’t enough oil up there to compensate for screwing up the environment. The oil companies just want the oil to sell to China anyways.

  57. thejynxed says:

    India has recently reinstated the ban on all exports of certain types of rice (basmati, long grain, jasmine, etc). India, who is the largest exporter of rice products to the USA.

    Now you see why Sam’s Club and Costco might be rationing their rice – their suppliers can’t get the cheap stuff from India like they have been doing.

  58. cmdrsass says:

    @timmus: I think it may be a joke about the size of things you can buy in a bulk warehouse, like 5 gallon buckets of mayo, etc. But with all the sloppy editing lately, you never know …

  59. SkokieGuy says:

    @nikalseyn: Actually most of us smarter enviormental wackos are NOT in favor ethanol, because it is not an efficient use of technology. It uses huge amounts of energy to produce, is less efficient than the gasoline it replaces and it’s geographically not possible to grow enough corn to use ethanol to replace a significant amount of oil consumption.

    Enviromental wackos want proven technology widely in use like solar and wind power. We want significant raises in fuel economy requirements for cars and trucks, our government supporting the Kyoto Treaty like most other major countries.

    It’s actually conservative Republican and the corporations that bought and paid for our goverment that are responsible. Think Monsanto, Archer Daniels, etc. Our goverment subsidizes every gallon of ethanol. So the riots and mass starvation in other third world countries is actually underwritten by Bush and his gang of thugs.

    Also, we had Republican legislators and the oil companies fight efforts to end billion dollar subsidies to the oil companies who have the largest recorded PROFITS in the history of the world.

    Please crawl back under a rock and take Rush Limbaugh with you.

  60. ChuckECheese says:

    @sixninezero: I’m gonna plant a rice paddy!

  61. Ben Popken says:

    @AMetamorphosis: Don’t you mean riceburg?

  62. AMetamorphosis says:

    @Ben Popken:

    LOL, touche’ :-)

  63. sixninezero says:

    @ChuckECheese: I grow tomatoes, corn and beans. But if you want to grow rice, good luck.

  64. @unklegwar: Don’t eat white rice. :) Brown is ever so much tastier, and full of B vitamins. And fiber.

    (We eat rice a couple nights a week. I took a nutrition class and every nutrition assessment I did I came out sky-high on B vitamins from all that tasty, tasty rice. Like don’t-need-prenatal-vitamins-to-prevent-neural-tube-defects levels of B vitamins from my rice.)

    One of my favorite lazy dinners is brown rice with shredded cheddar mixed in and soy sauce on top. Seriously, it’s good. Or brown rice cooked in chicken broth with broccoli thrown in the last 5 minutes, but that’s good-for-you lazy, not “rice equivalent of Mac-n-Cheese” lazy.

    Brown Basmati FTW!

  65. GF_AdventureGrl says:

    no rice for you

  66. trujunglist says:

    Damnit, now where in the hell will I pick up my 2k lbs of rice necessary for living??????? Arghhhhhh

  67. memphis9 says:

    In the 1940s, the auto industry got rail dismantled in big cities because, well, people should buy cars and help the economy and stuff. A bit higher density with efficient public transportation in more places would sure come in handy right now.

    In the ’70s & ’80s, fruit and nut orchards in Sonoma County and elsewhere up and down the West Coast came down so “visionaries” could plant vinyards. (After that, it was farmland giving way to foreclosedivisions-I-mean-development.) “Oops!” again! Have you checked the price of almonds and walnuts at Costco, while wandering past that rice? I will say though that the Two Buck Chuck at Trader Joe’s is not bad this year.

    America! Anywon who wants to tell us that we are using up and running out of stuff is a zero-sum-game spewing Commie! …although to be fair, war and pandemic will probably take care of some of the problem, later or sooner…

  68. joe23521 says:

    @unklegwar: I know it may be hard for you to imagine, but there are other cultures in the world, you know.

  69. AcidReign says:

        I’m actually tempted to drive the 20 miles out to Costco, in rush-hour traffic, to see these 500-pound rice bags! Wow! Rice weights almost nothing, how big a bag would you need to hold 500 pounds? It would strain the rickety flatbed carts, I’ll bet!

  70. bohemian says:

    I finally heard a sensible explination for this on NPR this afternoon driving home. Walmart and Costco both make most of their money on memberships. Their margins on products are small. Since rice went up about double in recent months they decided to limit how many you can buy rather than jacking the price or taking a huge loss to sell it.

    Anyway, that is Walmart/Sam’s Club’s excuse.

  71. elanne says:

    I’ve really enjoyed some of the funny comments here. But, all kidding aside, we are on the verge of worldwide food shortages that are going to get really nasty for everyone except the small percentage of super rich who are basically controlling the show.

    We’ll hear all sorts of ‘reasonable’ explanations and it will, of course, always be somebody else’s fault. But, even if we say it can’t happen here or there, it can and is.

  72. Trai_Dep says:

    @bohemian: That doesn’t make sense, at least for the Costco customers. It’s like $30/yr, which isn’t enough to do much of anything with.
    Maybe those that buy a membership then forget about it, or buy $20/year of stuff. But they’d be broke if that was their core demo.

  73. bob123456 says:

    This is total news to me. I might be mad and European but I thought everyone ate brown rice ! Surely you guys can’t have overlooked the cheapness / nutritional value ?

  74. ChuckECheese says:

    @Eyebrows McGee: Brown rice spoils in less than a year unless protected from air and stored cool. It’s not an excellent storage grain, which is only one reason many rice eating cultures prefer it white. For the best storage rice, purchase parboiled, aka converted (aka Uncle Ben’s) rice. Converted rice has a nutritional profile better than white, worse than brown, because parboiling causes vitamins to migrate into the grain. The precooking and drying process make the grain very hard and less palatable to insects. It can be stored for a few years with little loss in quality. And it cooks quickly.

    Here’s my theory on why some groceries have cheaper rice than say the Asiatic markets. Many groceries do have current supplies purchased at a low price and/or purchasing contracts that permit them to get grain at a certain (lower) price. Other stores don’t have old cheaper inventory and/or the price contracts. When the supply or contract runs out, you must buy in the current market, and you get expensive rice. It won’t be long until everybody’s rice is more expensive.

  75. bohemian says:

    @Trai_Dep: Me too. My guess is all those people that buy them and don’t use them often are pure profit.

  76. Techguy1138 says:

    @nikalseyn: Drilling ANWAR is a stupid idea.

    ANWAR by being untapped is a strategic oil reserve that allows the US to have sufficient fuel for self defense even if over seas oil routes are cut.

    It also allows us to weather the much more likely situation that in a future war oil producing countries will play both sides for profits.

    Wasting Americas National resources so a corporation can make a few billion more or a politician can get a few percentage points qualifies as treason.

    There are specific constitutional provisions that deal with such people.

  77. @ChuckECheese: A 20-lb bag of brown rice doesn’t last more than 6 months in my house. :)

    (And yes, all whole grains are far more prone to spoilage than refined grains.)

  78. Erwos says:

    @Techguy1138: No, it doesn’t qualify as treason, unless you can specifically describe how it aids and abets a specific enemy. Honestly, that kind of rhetoric is the sort that got us into Iraq…

    Anyways, yes, the current food situation is scary, but on the positive side, easily corrected, because the food is there – it’s just not going to the right places.

  79. thesupreme1 says:

    As long as they don’t take my beans I’m okay! Don’t eat rice a whole lot at my house, it’s okay now and then.

  80. ChuckECheese says:

    @Eyebrows McGee: 20 pounds?! You’re gonna starve. I assumed you were buying quarter tons at a time like everybody else. 20 lbs is utterly reasonable.

    When there’s no more rice, I say mais qu’ils mangent du brioche.

  81. LUV2CattleCall says:


    Sounds like a great time to walk out the store and back in again, this constituting another “visit”

  82. Techguy1138 says:

    Substantially weakening the nations ability to act independently in a time of war would count as aid and comfort to an enemy.

    Typically these type of crimes fall under much smaller penalties.

    And no that is the opposite of the type of rhetoric that got us into Iraq. If tampering with intelligence evidence and falsely presenting facts qualified as a high crime or misdemeanor, as it should, we would not be there now.

    People are to tolerant of those who would wreck the country for personal gain.

    On a side there is plenty of food. It’s just that people can’t afford it. Foreign nationals depended on the US economy to continue onwards. It didn’t, now people are screwed. Zimbabwe is likely to never recover at this point.

  83. neilb says:

    This only affects most of the other nations of the world. Heck something like 10% of our rice goes straight into making our cheap American beer. We can almost live without rice. Corn is another thing though.

    We are unique in that we run largely a corn economy. I just hope no one decides to ration corn products or we will be in severe trouble.

    If we were all to eat locally then we would avoid a lot of these issues. My beef cost the same this year as it did last year because energy costs were largely the same and the beef only had to move a few miles from birth to my home.

  84. uberbucket says:

    I bought a 5 lb. bag of Niko Niko brand calrose rice,(cheap stuff) at WinCo today for almost 7 bucks. It has doubled in price over the last month. I eat a lot of rice but not so much as to not being able to afford it.

    Let the Chicken Little rice hording and gold buying begin!