Coronavirus Hoarding?

Some local evidence:

Mr. wd called me from Cortez, CO at the beginning of his grocery-shopping misadventure early on Saturday morning.  To put it mildly, he was agog, agape, and aghast during his first stop at Walmart.  What he found were empty shelves where OTC pain relievers, etc., toilet paper, kleenex, paper towels, and likely paper napkins (he hadn’t checked), should have been.  Most canned foods were also absent, and the wage slaves he’s friendly with reported that the meat aisle was likewise…empty.  They were all horrified at the mammoth cartloads of shelf-stable foods being tugged about.  Meat?  Unless the shoppers had large freezers…well, not so stable.
He bought a few of the available staples that were on his list, and spoke to his friend Jenny, the senior citizen Walmart Greeter on his way out the door.  She told him a horrifying tale about the Friday hoarders, jostling one another for the last bag of potatoes, and so on, so reminiscent of Black Friday trampliings and skirmishes.

But on Saturday?  Many shoppers had come from Farmington, NM (120 mi. roundtrip minimum) and Durango, CO, a 60 mi. roundtrip minimum and had decimated the shelves.  I checked online with both the Cortez Urinal and the Durango Herald: not  whisper bout the empty shelves.

Mr. wd pressed on to the other two stores always on his shopping itineraries, as we mainly tend to pick the sales, and he’s learned which stores most often have the best fresh produce on his list.   Holy hell!  Full parking lots at both Slaveway and City Market, and he found roughly the same shelves…empty.  I just phoned the Family Dollar store in Mancos…sold out of toilet paper and kleenex.  I’d forgotten until now that none of the wage slaves had mentioned bottled water, but that would be top on my list were I/we hoarding.

Now Mr. wd looked up corona virus cases in Colorado, and while most are on the Eastern Slope mega-cities, the closest to the 4-Corners was in Gunnison on the Western Slope, maybe 250 miles away.  So what’s with the panic all of a sudden?  The evening news reports, social media panic, the conflicting reports as to the spread of positive tests?  My favorite tankie in Queens on Twitter is reporting that grocery stores in his neighborhood are calm and quiet with shelves full, or ready to be restocked.  And sigh, he’s Tweeted the story of the National Guard being called in to ‘help’ in New Rochelle.  Do stories like that help cause Hoarding Panic?

Bingling Coronavirus Hoarding did kick up this Reuters piece from 16 days ago, my favorite excerpt being:

“Pandemic shopping lists have been going around online, with virologist Ian Mackay suggesting people not forget treats like soft drinks and chocolate alongside the grains and pasta.

“But don’t panic buy and don’t hoard!” Mackay, an associate professor at the University of Queensland in Australia, said in his blog post, “So you think you’re about to be in a pandemic?”

Again: not word one about Water, the Staff of Life.  But apparently Walmart stores will close in the late evenings so that wage slaves can re-stock the shelves, re-open in the morning, and Costco will limit purchase of some items, never mind how easy that rule is to subvert.

Aha!  While Bingling moments ago for photos of corona virus and empty shelves I found one at,  March 3, 2010: ‘Herd effect’: Social media images of empty shelves fuelling panic buying over coronavirus, says prof; ‘You need to have a sensible plan — how much toilet paper do you really need for a week,’ asks prof’

“Someone will post images on Instagram or on social media of overstuffed shopping carts and empty shelves in department stores,” said Steven Taylor, a professor at UBC and author of The Psychology of Pandemics: Preparing for the Next Global Outbreak.

“And that’s going to go viral and that’s going to create the illusion of urgency and scarcity, and that’s going to ramp up the panic buying.”

Are you hoarding?  If so,  I hope you’ve included water, as well as anti-viral/anti-bacterial home health aids.

(cross-posted at

5 responses to “Coronavirus Hoarding?

  1. Not, wendye. But I had intended to trundle to my fave stores via bus/train so I could do my weekly groc. shop. Came up against a ‘wall of resistance’ in my eldest daughter, who is a healthcare worker at one of the big hospitals in the nearby metropolis (well, not so nearby but close enough.) She was not going to let me do that – and after arguments of a loving kind, we found out the train wasn’t running – it’s being cleansed of possible virus and (perhaps) will be spic and span by early April.

    I do say perhaps.

    We are both keeping an eyebrow on all the sometimes conflicting reports of happenings elsewhere, and the important statistic for us is the overstretching of current hospital abilities to cope merely with the ordinary to’s and fro’s of regular type diseases and accidents of a life-threatening nature. My daughter knows they are already at the limit of what they are able to absorb. Already at. Corona virus or no corona virus.

    This, coupled with the need to stay herself as healthy as possible ‘while all about her…’ in the words of the Kipling poem about being a man, had us back and forth about how to resupply on a weekly basis. I mean, just eat. Some things could come via the dreadful Amazon – okay, I folded. Got that. And like Mr. Wendy, I had a list all ready for my usual from the usual stores I could not now reach.

    So, long story not short but shorter – my dear daughter took her one day off this week to shop in the metropolis armed with my list and then drove it all out to me. Can I add she’s buddhist? I think that’s as childlike in a good way as an adult can be. And now, we need all to be childlike, boost our failing melatonin as best we may. Be calm; meditate even. Seek sunlight. Get plenty of rest. Eat less.

    Because the way to survive for us elders just might be to enter the kingdom of heaven as a little child. It’s not a bad way to go.

    I hope my trundling days are not over. It’s hard to do but I did enjoy doing it.

    • of course you can say your daughter’s a buddhist, and her loving-kindness and caring for you shines brightly. more and more cities and states in the US are in lockdown, not voluntary, either CA is threatening martial law, WTH?

      EU nations are panicking as well, and locking down all businesses that might spread the virus through some kind of contact. to me, it’s getting out of hand, esp. as the death rates are actually very low so far.

      the panic is epic, but i put together some of the skepticism and counter-factuals in my newer post. lovely poem bonnie’d sent; wise words, as are your suggestions, juliania.

      but small wonder that Mr. Market is dropping like a rock as bidnesses are ordered to shut down…in the US, except for NYC, because: de blasio and wall street.

  2. PS We didn’t touch.

  3. Similar disruptions in New Zealand, and my nephew being a trolley guy at a ‘big’ food store, the same type hoarding issues are faced by him – locally the stores I mentioned above do insist on ‘two per customer’ of any item. I don’t think NZ has that in place yet. Makes you realize how confusing this must feel to many who have these jobs all over this country as well. My sister sent this:

    Heart Goes Walkabout – Noel Davis
    “A graceful seduction.
    Come into the Quiet
    And be gracious with time,
    And with yourself.
    Take off your thoughts,
    Anxieties, expectations
    And lay them aside.
    Ease into the silence,
    Lose yourself in being.
    Let its joy and ease accompany you
    Through the stresses and anxieties
    Of your every day.”

    Best wishes to All. Hold fast to the good. Be kind.

    • oh, juliania; i need to apologize. until i’d posted my most recent tome of a diary, i hadn’t checked in here, nor w/ my email. and sure enough, your comments came thru email.

      later, as it’s 3-loaves of bread day, only time to rest my legs for a bit, then shape the loaves into their pans. how nice to see you!

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