I had an elderly, lame neighbor who always asked me to go to the grocery store for bread and bologna for him just before a storm hit. The lines were always exactly like you describe, and I of course had thought ahead and didn't need to go myself. Just before Hurricane Gloria hit Connecticut in '85, you could not find a battery in a store for love or money. Hawkers had bought them all and were selling them for 3x the price on the side of the road. No lie. Sometimes I hate humans.