Stockpiling Supplies is Harmful

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Photo by John Cameron on Unsplash

Allison Petek, Online Editor

Over the last few months, the novel coronavirus has spread throughout the world, forcing school and business closures, social distancing, and shelter-in-place orders. As the number of confirmed cases rise, peoples’ panic and uncertainty grows. Pictures of empty supermarket shelves have spread on social media, as people try to prepare for this crisis.   Although it is important for people to take precautions and ready their households for this pandemic, people must stop stockpiling food and supplies because it is selfish and harmful. 

People in the Bay Area have been buying more supplies than usual as they prepare to shelter in place through May 3 which has led to shortages in stores. “Please stop stockpiling essentials like toilet paper, paper towels etc. Safeway was completely out of these yesterday, as well as baby formula, pasta, and almost out of meat and some canned goods,” Amanda Sherwood, an Orinda resident, posted on Nextdoor on March 15. 

When everyone is buying more supplies than usual, it upsets the supermarkets’ regular supply chain, causing shortages. Although people are striving to protect themselves and their families during these uncertain times, they might not realise how harmful panic-buying can be for others in their communities. By hoarding supplies, people are preventing others’ access to basic necessities. 

“I think it is unfair for people who are actually in need of staple food items and sanitary products but aren’t able to access them because of others who are stockpiling,” junior Isabelle Zezima-Deutsch said. 

“There’s no need for anybody in the country to hoard essential food supplies,” President Donald Trump told reporters on March 15. “You don’t have to buy the quantities because it’s hard to refill the stores.” 

If people remain calm, and don’t over-buy items, supermarkets will be able to keep up with the normal demand. This will ease anxiety, as no one will have to fear running out of everyday essentials like toilet paper and paper towels. 

“Stockpiling can have really bad ramifications. I think it’s important to stay calm and think about the needs of others in this situation,” junior Fiona Young said. 

It is important for people to limit their outings during this pandemic, and although making less frequent trips to supermarkets is a smart way to achieve this, buying more supplies than a family can realistically use within a couple of weeks is not the right answer. This panic buying promotes fear and has negative consequences for the community as a whole, which is why people must make smart and considerate shopping choices.