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Snow Causes Street Mayhem, Grocery Stores Emptied, Battles Over Carts

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The bread rack was mostly bare, Saturday, at Heartland Marketplace in Westland. (credit: Lisa Thorn)

The bread rack was mostly bare, Saturday, at Heartland Marketplace in Westland. (credit: Lisa Thorn)

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By Christy Strawser, digital director

DETROIT (CBS Detroit) There’s snow in metro Detroit — lots of it, up to 16 inches in the far northern reaches of the region, with a solid foot in most others. Schools are closed, neighborhood roads are a nightmare, and streets are buzzing with the sound of snowblowers.

Also, some grocery stores were emptied ahead of the “polar vortex.”

Many people reported that stores were virtually ransacked ahead of Sunday’s big storm, with lines stretching to the back of stores in some grocery emporiums. Holiday Market in Royal Oak had not one space left in the overflow lot at 10 a.m. Saturday, and Trader Joe’s in Royal Oak had no available carts.

A couple of women got into a verbal dispute at the Kroger store on Harper in St. Clair Shores when one took the other’s purse out of a cart and claimed it as her own. It stopped short of being an “altercation,” a staffer said.

Kroger in Birmingham had a few lonely bags of grapes left on a display that looked like it had been pillaged during an episode of “The Walking Dead.”

The checkout line at a Meijer in Livonia stretched on and on, and then on some more.

The line at Meijer in Livonia Saturday. (Photo: Rob Davidek/WWJ)

The line at Meijer in Livonia Saturday. (Photo: Rob Davidek/WWJ)

“It was pretty rough … We had a problem with bananas, grapes, cucumbers and celery,” said the produce manager at Kroger in Roseville.

There were reports of people snatching meat and bread from carts left alone for a moment. So, why the desperate claw for milk, meat, bread  — cucumbers and bananas — preceding a Midwest snowstorm?

“No idea,” the Roseville produce manager said, laughing.

The grapes are Kroger in Birmingham were scattered by people desperate seeking groceries before the storm. (Photo: Laura Ruschman)

The grapes are Kroger in Birmingham were scattered by people desperately seeking groceries before the storm. (Photo: Laura Ruschman)

Tom Violante, owner of Holiday Market, said they expected the big rush and had enough on hand that running out wasn’t an issue. Most people, he said, wanted to stock up so they didn’t have to go out again after the snow and deep freeze hit.

Others were worried snow would halt deliveries.

“It was like a holiday feeling, but I didn’t see panic, everybody was kind of like embarrassed that they were part of it,” Violante said.

With the snow a reality instead of an impending catastrophe, stores were mostly quiet Monday, employees said. Although there were other problems: Some shelves were still empty, and it was tough for employees to get to work.

At least one enterprising manager took matters into his own hands to be sure they could open after snowpocalypse 2014 cleaned out the shelves.

“My boss had to come pick me up because we couldn’t make it to the store,” said Evelyn Sylvester, an employee at the Kroger on Davison in Flint, on Monday. “It was crazy.”

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