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Mon Feb 22, 2021, 01:17 PM

The New York Times finally "gets" something Texan ...

Texans Needed Food and Comfort After a Brutal Storm. As Usual, They Found It at H-E-B.

As state government flounders, has a beloved grocery store chain become “the moral center of Texas”?


By David Montgomery, Rick Rojas and Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio

Feb. 22, 2021, 5:00 a.m. ET

AUSTIN, Texas —

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H-E-B branded foods are seen at a distribution center set up by the San Antonio Food Bank.Credit...Christopher Lee for The New York Times

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“It’s like H-E-B is the moral center of Texas,” said Stephen Harrigan, a novelist and journalist who lives in Austin. “There seems to be in our state a lack of real leadership, a lack of real efficiency, on the political level. But on the business level, when it comes to a grocery store, all of those things are in place.”

As frustration swelled among residents trapped in their homes without power or water, some started to remark, half-jokingly, that H-E-B should just take over. The chain has become known for its logistical prowess — in responding to the coronavirus pandemic and to hurricanes, with stockpiles of water and emergency supplies ready to be deployed. “So many Texans look to H-E-B almost as a de facto arm of government,” Greg Jefferson, the business editor of The San Antonio Express-News, wrote in his column.
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Allegiances to brands are often about more than just the product; they can be a proxy for consumers to telegraph their stances on political or social issues. Yet H-E-B reflects another kind of virtue signaling, one that often supersedes race, class, religion, gender or sexual orientation: a display of Texan identity.

H-E-B falls into a class of companies that Texans instantly identify with their state in a way that transcends commerce, particularly for expatriates outside state lines. There is Whataburger, the fast food chain; Blue Bell ice cream; and Buc-ee’s supersized convenience stores. Many a Texan in New York City has spotted an orange-striped bag from Junior’s Cheesecake and thought someone stepped on the E train with a Whataburger.

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David Montgomery reported from Austin, Rick Rojas from Nashville, and Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio from San Antonio. James Dobbins contributed reporting from San Antonio.



“That’s what we’ve come to expect of H-E-B,” Professor McAlister added.

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Response to marble falls (Original post)

Mon Feb 22, 2021, 01:26 PM

1. My cable modem died during the storm down here and the tech that fixed it told me...

he heard that they just let people take food when the power went out. Not sure if I buy that, but I went to the HEB on Saturday and it had been stripped worse than when the CV began.

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Response to Thomas Hurt (Reply #1)

Mon Feb 22, 2021, 01:33 PM

2. That happened in Leander, a small town butting north Austin. The electric went down ...

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Response to marble falls (Reply #2)

Mon Feb 22, 2021, 01:49 PM

3. If you want to make your brand golden, that's how you do it. And compared to their state gov't...

...it looks like they are heaven sent. Abbott is a finger pointing lackey fool and I pity the people of Tx except they kind of brought this on themselves. You can't have low taxes, low utility rates and a capable and robust response when things break bad. Will be interesting to see if anything really changes or if the results of the next storm looks a lot like the last. I am betting on the latter.

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Response to dutch777 (Reply #3)

Mon Feb 22, 2021, 01:52 PM

4. If this happens next year, we'll be refucked. We are led by vulture capitalists.

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Response to marble falls (Reply #4)

Mon Feb 22, 2021, 02:07 PM

5. My wife questions why I like to keep a chest freezer of food, cases of bottled water, an old

Coleman camp stove and sleeping bags in the garage. I should sell these "kits" in TX I guess. TX obviously worse than most, but government reaction that is meaningful is always at least 3 days away in these instances and I would not be surprised here in WA state if the event were a major earthquake if it wouldn't be two weeks. Hard to move supplies and equipment when your bridges are all down and the roads have 20 feet of subsidence in places. And your insurance company won't be on site the day after with a contractor to clean up the mess and fix things either. Plan accordingly and unless its family or good friends and neighbors you can count on, assume no one has your back. Maybe we'll learn from things like this and Covid, but that does not seem to be our pattern.

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Response to dutch777 (Reply #5)

Mon Feb 22, 2021, 02:15 PM

6. My nickname is 'Mr Plan B'. I keep the Freestyle ready to make a break.

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Response to marble falls (Original post)

Mon Feb 22, 2021, 02:18 PM

7. There were always flour tortillas at my parents' house.

A favorite afternoon snack was to heat up a flour tortilla in a big skillet that was always on the stovetop, with a couple of pats of butter on top of it it. Once it was warm, I'd spread the butter around, then smear a couple of tablespoons of apricot or blackberry jam all over it. Then, I'd roll it up tightly and eat it. Nothing better when you're a kid.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #7)

Mon Feb 22, 2021, 02:22 PM

9. Still good stuff. 'Specially if there's a grandkid hanging around.

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Response to marble falls (Original post)

Mon Feb 22, 2021, 02:20 PM

8. My daughter has lived in Texas for 8 yrs

Now and loves HEB. They stayed open even on the worst days middle of day, she drove by but line went for blocks so they didn't stop. They had supplies just wanted hot drinks.

This is the DU member formerly known as marlakay.

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