Empty Shelves in 1974: Sugar, Oil & Washing Powder

By , 16 Mar 2020, 18:25 PM Lifestyle
Empty Shelves in 1974: Sugar, Oil & Washing Powder Photo: JL Flanner

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Although empty shelves due to panic buying are well known in Slovenian history, the items deemed important then and now point to a certain change in lifestyle.

While the main items currently in great demand include pasta, canned tomatoes and meat, and those that are widely (or quickly) sold out yeast, onions and toilet paper, old newspapers suggest that at the end of 1974 people mostly stocked up with sugar, oil and washing powder.

On December 19, 1974, Dolenjski list wrote:


Translation: Hunting for detergents. A few days after oil and sugar went up in price, the stores ran out of washing powder. People purchased all the stock. Fearing a price hike, they tried to supply it for at least a while, and stores quickly ordered new quantities to fill the shelves again.


Translation: Consumer fever’s been shaking again: stores can barely keep up with delivering items from storage to shelves.

The cause of concern in 46 years ago was not a global epidemic but rather inflation, with 1974 appearing as the beginning of what became more or less a reality for the next decade and a half.


Translation: Buy, it will be more expensive! Interestingly the relevant authorities for the recent rise in prices of oil and sugar kept their knowledge to themselves and in highest secrecy while people were buying these things in bulk a week before that. Although warehouses were full of these foods, an unusual rise in demand an occasional lack of sugar and oil appeared in some places. The speed of delivery couldn’t meet the demand. 

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