Re:Shelf Life of Tapioca
The shelf life of unopened tapioca pearls is 6 mos. to a year. They may have been beyond their shelf life when you got them.
Typically, a bulk food store buys flour, meal, and other dry staples in 50-pound bags and repackages them into 1-2 pound bags as needed.
If you were to walk back into their warehouse, you might see a pallet of 50-pound bags of Gold Meadow flour. This pallet might last them for a year or more.
I don't recommend buying these types of items from a bulk food store. You don't know how old it really is, the initial quality isn't any better than what you can buy in a supermarket, and the price per pound is usually higher than what you'd pay in a supermarket.
Bulk food stores have some good well-priced products, but flour, meal, and other dry staple items aren't included in that category.