On hoarding, stocking up and preparation

Column by Andrea W. Doray
Posted 11/3/20

I had a different column planned for this week … then it occurred to me that, by the time you read this, none of us may yet know the results of the Nov. 3 elections.. So that column will have to …

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On hoarding, stocking up and preparation

Posted

I had a different column planned for this week … then it occurred to me that, by the time you read this, none of us may yet know the results of the Nov. 3 elections.. So that column will have to wait (don’t stress, though, it’s not about election results, per se).

Here is something I do know right now: people are hoarding again. In fact, it’s been going on for at least a few weeks. Early last month, a friend of mine told to look out for the same items that vanished from shelves last spring. He messaged me from the store to say paper towels were wiped out and soup was “majorly down” — on October 9.

I must admit I was a bit surprised, even though predictions for the upcoming flu season and the additional expected pandemic hospitalizations are disturbing (if not just plain dire). Of people I talked with, unease and uncertainty about said election are also driving this behavior.

But I really wasn’t paying attention … so imagine my surprise last Saturday when a sign greeted us at the big warehouse store: no bathroom tissue, no paper towels, no hand soap, no hand sanitizer, no Clorox wipes. Once inside, we also found that – get this – they were completely out of Halloween candy! Fortunately, there was a great selection of wine to complement our only other purchase, a big chunk of salmon.

Later that day, I took advantage of my favorite supermarket’s order-now-pick-up-later service. These items were out of stock: everything already mentioned above (except for the Halloween candy), as well as store-brand frozen veggies, hot chili beans, my mixed-berry yogurt, Honeycrisp apples, and coconut milk.

Oh, and also Anaheim peppers. Anaheim peppers? Was everyone in the state planning to make green chili last weekend? Anaheim peppers! I’ve never been in that produce department when there weren’t hundreds of them in the bin. I may just have to put on my mask and carry the last of my hand sanitizer to go look for myself.

Yes, it is happening again, although, truthfully, I don’t consider it hoarding – unless you’re simply buying everything in sight to sell online later … but something like that would never happen, right? Right?

Sorry for my cynicism – it’s been a long 2020 – but to my mind, stocking up is not hoarding … it’s preparation. For example, I put a snow shovel, blanket, extra gloves and boots, heavy socks and a warm hat in my car for the winter season. I also have a flashlight, some rope and a big jug of water.

And I learned recently that metal-cup tea light candles can keep you warm, so I’m going to create a mini-heater kit: a bunch of candles, a metal coffee can and a box of safety matches in a resealable plastic bag. I’m prepared for getting caught in a blizzard.

That’s why I’m joining the crowd(s) to stock up in preparation for getting caught in whatever might happen in the coming months. People on my neighborhood app are already posting when some store or another gets new inventory of paper products, frozen vegetables and cleaning supplies.

Guess I now have to add Anaheim peppers to my “in-search-of” list.

Andrea Doray is a writer who has been caught in blizzards. Contact her at a.doray@andreadoray.com if you would like the instructions to make your own mini-heater.

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