by Dave Noble, City News Editor
ELMHURST – Comparing it to the mayhem during the much-publicized Hostess Twinkie production stoppage in 2012, south Elmhurst Jewel-Osco manager Tony Garza told reporters smoking cigarettes near the Redbox kiosk outside of the building’s front entrance on Thursday that Cook County residents continue to diminish the sweetened beverage supply in his store since a new tax hike took effect last month, resulting in a scarcity of sugary drinks that experts say are a dietary staple for most Elmhurst residents.
The penny-per-ounce tax – which went into effect in Cook County on August 1st – has brought hundreds of migrants from across the county border on a daily basis to save money on things like soda, ready-to-drink coffees, and energy drinks. The increase to the city’s tax revenue has left many local residents angry.
“I’ve been hearing a lot of grief from the customers about our low stock on sodas and other drinks,” said Garza, who stated that the typical complaints he receives from shoppers include expired food items on the shelves and the tendency of his grocery baggers to smile too little or too much at the customers. “It seems that every Elmhurst resident, butler, nanny and personal shopper in the store stops me to complain.”
While most residents reported an increase in anxiety due to the short supply of things like Sunny D, Gatorade, and alcohol mixers, other locals who deprive their families of sugar have been mostly unaffected by the increased number of foreigners seen throughout Elmhurst since the tax hike took effect.
“I do all my grocery shopping at Whole Foods because I love my children more than most people do,” said Garrett, waiting in line at the downtown Elmhurst Starbucks to order a Venti White Chocolate Mocha. “So as long as they just come to Jewels and leave again, I really don’t care.”
The Elmhurst City Council will discuss issuing temporary visas to soda shoppers from Cook County during their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday.