Panic Purchasing

Coronavirus causes toilet paper disappearance


Photo credit Kayla Gonzalez

Kayla Gonzalez, Staff Writer

During the month of March, Wise County experienced a mass panic due to the Coronavirus pandemic. During that panic, the majority of people visited their local grocery stores and began stockpiling toilet paper and other necessities, and those, among others, ran out on store shelves.

The whole pandemic sent the people of Wise County and surrounding areas into a huge frenzy. When people heard about the rapidly spreading outbreak, they went to Walmart, Brookshire’s and other grocery stores and began taking what they thought they needed, preparing for the following weeks in fear of quarantine, and this situation only worsened across the country as days went passed.

The whole situation caused a bunch of panic; but, to survive this pandemic as a community, people need to go along with their lives as normally as they can, at least until things calm. For them to worry and participate in panic driven shopping, only causes more people to panic and this leaves the grocery store management team worrying about how much of anything the stores keep in stock and what product availability lies ahead from manufacturers. The product production simply struggles to keep up with the demand at this point, leaving empty shelves, and too many empty carts for those in actual need of products. 

When people began hoarding everything for themselves, people began freaking out about the amount of groceries still available. In turn, the employees who work in grocery stores panic about how the demanding customers continue to search for needed items, but wish those that hoarded supplies had left just a little for other customers in need now. 

The panic began with all the media hyping up the coronavirus. It continues to worry parents with young children, as well as the elderly. People now come in with gloves and masks to try to protect themselves from the outside world and any possible community spread of the virus. The county, and most recently, the state, passed a stay at home order; but, even then, people still travel from the grocery store and other essential stores frantically looking for scarcely available essential everyday items. The amount of time it takes to stock back up outweighs the time it takes for people to shop the goods they still hoard. Even when grocery stores receive a shipment of toilet paper, it goes missing within the first few minutes of stores opening. 

This marked the beginning of the pandemic, but if the community remains strong and starts adapting to this new way of life and allows the grocery stores to build up stock again, then people might start seeing a change and actually experience an easier time of buying what they actually need, and not so much of what they want to stockpile and hoard at home. 

Just recently, Walmart and other grocery stores began limiting how many people come into the store at one time. In doing so, they support the social distancing order and still keep other people’s health in mind. 

The limiting also goes for the number of products one buys at the grocery store. They limit the items so it stops the level of chaos and dysfunction within the store and with other people. If the allowable number of a single product had been limited when this all started, this extra problem on top of the virus would have never existed. For example, stores now limit the amount of paper goods, sanitizer, eggs, bread, produce and essential daily items purchased by a single customer in a single transaction. Stores also began sanitizing carts and baskets multiple times each and every day as well to provide a minimum risk while patrons hunt for goods. Some shoppers often take it upon themselves to bring their own cleaning supplies, gloves, baggies, etc.  from home to make sure they disinfect everything for themselves and touch as little as possible during their trips to the store.

If the community just sticks to buying what they need instead of what they might need in the future, the grocery stores gain the opportunity to make sure the consumers have the necessities available to them without the hassle of worrying if everyone if others hoarded more than what they need to overcome this pandemic.