Opinion: Panic shopping worsens already bad situation

By Melody Ortiz and Raymond Nava

With COVID-19 or Coronavirus, causing many people to self-quarantine, many people have decided to take more drastic measures and have begun to panic shop, which is when people start to immediately buy supplies in mass bulk in the midst of a crisis.

While it may be smart to stock up supplies in the wake of the virus and the need to self-quarantine, the lengths some people are taking it to is ridiculous.

The concern about COVID-19 has ramped up within the past week. So much so that many states have started to ban gatherings of certain sizes as well as closing schools and universities. States and officials have also called for people to practice social distancing and self quarantining.

This involves avoiding groups of people and limiting one’s self to their home to avoid contracting the virus or spreading it. Since this could last a few days or even weeks, stocking up on supplies like food and hygiene products is ideal instead of frequent trips to crowded markets to restock. However, some of the things people are buying are counterproductive. 

Among the things people have been buying in bulk are hand sanitizer, water bottles and toilet paper.

One of the best ways to avoid contracting COVID-19 is by washing your hands.

Hand sanitizer can be used in places where handwashing can’t be done. Mass buying hand sanitizer is redundant because if someone is selfly quarantining, they are likely going to be at home where a sink and soap are easily in reach.

This makes hand sanitizer useless since hand washing is going to be easily available and it is a much better tactic at avoiding the virus. 

Another product people have been buying in bulk is toilet paper. Though there are cases in which those infected contract diarrhea, it is not common enough to warrant empty shelves of an essential household item.

East Los Angeles College student Stephanie Moran said she was told by a Superior employee that they had a male customer punch a lady over toilet paper.

“(I) Literally just needed food for the week and people are being selfish,” Moran said. “Lines are long and people are not leaving enough for us to buy.”

When it comes to water, it doesn’t look like the world will be running out anytime soon. Companies such as The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power have already announced that they will not shut off people’s water, gas and power.

There are still people working that need those water bottles more because they may not have the means for refilling a glass or Hydroflasks.

Construction workers on the road or certain job sites may not be able to refill their waters, so they rely on the convenience of the water bottle. This also applies to mail carriers and sanitation workers.

Others had a more positive view of the shopping frenzy. ELAC student Cindy Esperanza Sanchez said it was a great opportunity for community members to help out small businesses and markets. She said she felt pressure to shop because her father, a Superior store manager, mentioned his store may be closing soon.

Most importantly, people are hoarding these essentials from those who have more at risk from being sick. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti recently toured a food distribution center to remind people that there would be no shortage of these items anytime soon, therefore, hoarding is unnecessary. Garcetti also asked for everyone to be considerate of those who need the item more.

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