My mother spoke from time to time about living in New York City during World War II and using ration books to buy food for my father and her. She said that although they might have a ration for meat, it didn’t mean that meat was available. Often the only meat she could find was tripe–the stomach of a cow. Despite her creative approaches to cooking tripe, she never recovered from the experience. Throughout our childhood if any one of us complained about any dinner, she would say “at least you aren’t eating tripe!”
I appreciated the public service poster I have shown above because it shows that shoppers in the 1940’s were no more considerate than today’s toilet paper hoarders. Without the intervention of the federal government there not only would not have been food for the troops, but that at home might have been unfairly distributed. Price gouging also plagued the country at that time, so price control legislation was enacted.
I appreciate that so many are sharing positive stories at this time about people going out of their way to help each other. But the hoarding and price gouging are running rampant. Not only did citizens buy up needed supplies for hospital workers, but companies are happily gouging states, such as ours, trying to buy necessary equipment for health care. And no, except for the Surgeon General asking people not to buy their own masks, there has been no legal barrier to doing so. And no, there seems to be no penalty for bidding wars between states for supplies.
I never understood why rationing and price controls were put into place when my mother was a newlywed. I do now.