(ETH) – As COVID-19 cases continue to spike across the nation, and states begin ramping back up lockdown measures after months of loosening restrictions, we are beginning to see a surge of panicked shoppers hoarding consumer goods leaving shelves bare in supermarkets along the West Coast, as well as in major cities in the Northeast, Southwest, Great Lakes region, Texas, and beyond.
The Daily Beast stated: “On a global scale, for most goods, demand never actually outstripped supply. But stores often had no way of predicting how much they’d need of any given thing until they already had a shortage problem, sometimes struggling to find new suppliers if old ones were jammed up. Months of enduringly or unpredictably bare shelves just fed into people’s fears, and panic buying surged.
“It took two, three months, depending on the products and actors involved, for the supply chain to correct itself,” said Pedro Reyes, an expert on grocery supply chains at Baylor University. Some products, like disinfectant wipes, never fully recovered; Clorox, for instance, has told customers to expect shortages well into 2021.
Others only came back when stores started supplementing or replacing known brands, periodically stretched thin, with less familiar ones sourced from far afield.” “But customers adjusted to those realities, and their anxiety faded. For the most part, Dierdre stressed, her store has “been back to our normal stocks, with only a few outs, for at least two months.”
“Until the last few days, that is. And one bathroom necessity has been at the center of the reversal of that months-long sense of supermarket stability. “Toilet paper is the target of panic buying” in particular when lockdown measures are announced, argued Steven Taylor, an expert on pandemic psychology at the University of British Columbia, because by now “many consumers expect other people to panic buy it.”
“As COVID-19 cases start to rise, you’re going to see some panic buying,” said Wendy White, a food safety manager with Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership. “Right now, the food supply chain is secure and we’ve only seen sporadic shortages this fall. As people start to get nervous as cases start to go up, people will change their buying patterns and you’re going to see inevitable shortages because of that.” Earlier this month, grocery stores, including Publix and Kroger, reinstated buying limits on toilet paper and paper towels.
According to WSB-TV, reported that over the weekend, Walmart resumed counting the number of customers entering its stores to ensure it doesn’t exceed 20% capacity limits. “Walmart and other retailers, they’re putting in place safety measures just to keep their customers safe, keep their workforce safe which is a really good idea, but unfortunately it might cause some nervousness with the public as they start seeing lines form out the door,” said White.