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MISSION, KS (KCTV) -
It's no secret that grocery stores get especially busy in the days leading up to a big snowstorm, but dig a little deeper and you might learn something new.
With all the talk about people preparing for a storm, you might not realize that the top selling items on the day before a storm are the same items that top the charts every other day.
"Everybody's coming in all at once and buying the same thing they do every week," said Jeff Nolke, the operations manager for the Hy-Vee store in Mission, KS.
The list of what they buy seems obvious, but many customers in the store Friday night struggled to guess the top five.
"I'm buying bread and milk and cereal," said shopper Mike DeVault.
He assumed his top three pre-storm edibles would match the norm, but he was wrong.
"We don't sell as much cereal as we did five years ago," Nolke said. "People just don't eat cereal anymore."
Sandra McTaggart knew right away her tastes were off the mark.
"I'll probably get it wrong," she said.
Her picks were coffee and ice cream.
"I have the Bailey's at home," she added.
Many might consider that a tasty trio, but few picked it for the list of top storm sellers.
The most common guesses for No. 1 were milk and bread. Neither are No. 1, and only one made the top five.
"I've got to go with some sort of meat," guessed Megan Reynolds. "I'm thinking chili."
Her guess for No. 1 actually came in third: ground beef.
No. 1 on storm days, and any other day, is carbonated beverages.
"Wow." is how Marguerite Durham reacted.
"I would have said bottled water," said Durham.
DeVault was shaking his head at the answer even after the conversation topic changed.
"I can't imagine that a storm is coming and I want Dr. Pepper," he said with a chuckle.
Items two, three and four was no big surprise: milk, ground beef and eggs.
Bread, however, did not make the cut. The No. 5 seller is bananas.
"That's surprising," DeVault said, "because usually before a storm, when I come in, all the bread is gone."
Nolke said that will probably be the case anyway, because bread is still high on the list and he expects plenty of demand.
"A big storm that they're predicting like right now," Nolke said, "it's going to be probably busier than the day before Thanksgiving or Christmas."
The top-five list represents the one-day sales, ranked by units sold, on Feb. 3, the day before the metro's last big storm.
It's unclear how alcohol sales fit into the equation generally because Kansas groceries are heavily restricted on what kind of alcohol they can sell. KCTV5 attempted to get comparable numbers from a Missouri grocery store, but did not find one able to examine the sales figures at short notice.
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