News & Opinion | February 1, 2021 11:33 am

The Hamptons Are Apparently Facing a Shortage of Caviar, Truffles and … Ammo?

This is what happens when a seasonal resort community gets overleveraged with full-time residents

empty caviar tins
There's no more caviar and everyone is armed. Now what?
OLIVIER MORIN/AFP via Getty Images

It’s been nearly a year since wealthy Manhattanites packed their bags and headed off to the Hamptons months earlier than usual to wait out the pandemic in their summer retreats. As that pandemic has dragged on, many have simply stayed there, which at first seemed like a good idea. Fleeing the pandemic-ravaged city for an indefinite stay in the Hamptons became so popular, in fact, that the demand for fall rentals reached heights unheard of in the pre-pandemic era, and the ritzy area saw a billion-dollar real estate boom as more and more people fled the city in search of greener pandemic pastures. There was rapid COVID-19 testing available at parties! The Chainsmokers made an appearance!

For at least some of those pandemic Hamptons dwellers, however, it appears the notion of an idyllic forever-summer on Long Island is starting to turn against them. After months of hosting a much higher volume of residents for a much longer period of time than usual, Vanity Fair reports that some of the resources that make the Hamptons, well, the Hamptons, are starting to run into a supply-chain issue. Caviar, uni and truffles are among the items currently experiencing a shortage, with demand for such dietary staples having reportedly “doubled to tripled” due to “a different type of winter than ever before.”

Meanwhile, strained Hamptons communities are also struggling to meet the sewage requirements brought on by a new load of semi-permanent residents. According to Vanity Fair, Quackenbush Cesspool Services is “swamped, literally and figuratively,” with calls from septic system owners who, “seemingly unaware that the system has to be emptied regularly,” are now weathering a literal shitstorm.

“It could be lawn seepage, or it could back up into the house — the basement, the tub or washer or toilet — wherever it can exit,” Danielle Quackenbush, co-owner of the company, told Vanity Fair.

The most extreme footnote in the article, though, might be the admission that Hamptonites are also desperately trying to stock up on ammunition. Why? Because they panic-bought guns back in March in anticipation of the breakdown of the social order, and are now out of ammo, presumably because there wasn’t much of a need for it prior to 2020. “Prices for ammo were already going up and it was getting hard to get,” one “gun enthusiast” told Vanity Fair. “Then it fell off the market. It was gone.”

While these shortages make the region a fair target for some light internet derision, they also reveal the very real problem of what happens when urban communities descend on resort towns to escape a pandemic. Last year, the Hamptons briefly considered a travel ban to protect locals from shortages on more vital resources, like groceries and hospital beds, and seasonal destinations around the country reported similar disruptions.

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