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Blog: Toilet paper panic-buying harms us all

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Perhaps rightfully so, people are in a bit of a panic over the coronavirus pandemic.

That panic has spread to store shelves and digital marketplaces, as items such as toilet paper, hand sanitizer and supplements have been cleaned out.

What’s worse, people have taken advantage of the situation to enrich themselves. Reports abound about price-gouging on Amazon, where third parties have jacked up the price of sanitizers. I even saw a Facebook Marketplace post attempting to sell a 12-pack of Charmin toilet paper for $100.

It’s all a bit hard to believe, that people would stoop so low in the face of a virus we all need to be working together to tackle.

And this all comes as the first “presumptive positive” case of coronavirus of Springfield was announced last night by the governor.

Panic buying in the face of potential catastrophe isn’t new, and it is understandable on paper. If I’m quarantined, I’ll certainly want a supply of everything I need.

But straight up cleaning out shelves is an entirely different thing. I’ve witnessed people purchasing abundantly more than they actually need, which crosses the line into selfishness.

While a pandemic can force people to look inward, there’s an entire community full of individuals with similar needs. It’s ludicrous that it’s come to this.

Buy what you need, and don’t let panic govern your decisions.

Doughnuts with a side of TP
On the lighter side, the toilet paper panic has led to some arguably humorous posts on social media.

Hurts Donut Co. today is offering a free roll of toilet paper with a dozen doughnuts. At Rescue One, a post offered a roll of toilet paper in trade for adopting a dog.

I see these posts as injecting a bit of humor into all of this craziness, but it’s also a bit dystopian to think of a world where essentials such as toilet paper would be obtained as a value-add.

It’s an odd time for all of us, I guess.

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