Hysteria leads to empty shelves and no toilet paper

Yikes! Empty shelves!

All I wanted was toilet paper…

It’s been a few years since I did on-the-spot reporting for a newspaper.  So while this is for my blog and not the local paper, I did have some fun.

Today I was so happy to put my freshly-earned journalism degree to work. LOL. It wasn’t my plan at all. But the excitement took me “back to the day,” and I relished it – for the most part.

I had a front-row seat to the hysteria of the Coronavirus hype. In my own neck of the woods – or concrete city – whatever.

Anyhow, I usually shop midweek mornings for a few reasons. One, I can; and two, it’s less crowded. So, when I pulled into the Target parking lot this morning, and saw more than double the number of cars I normally see, I instantly said, “Uh-oh.” Out loud – to myself.

Houston, we have a problem.

I threw my off my consumer hat, and donned my reporter cap.

“Something big is happening,” my instinctive journalist’s brain said as I walked through the doors.

Grabbing a cart, off I went. Straight to the toilet paper aisle.

Where has all the toilet paper gone?

Would I really catch this hysteria in real-time? Um, yes. Yes I would.

The TP shelves were almost gutted. I was shocked. I thought the run on toilet paper was last weekend. I asked the clerk in the aisle what was up. I mean, by now, everyone has bought enough toilet paper for 2020, right? Apparently not.

“These shelves were full at 8 a.m.,” she explained. “I mean, this morning at 8 a.m.” I looked at my watch – it was 10 a.m. Another customer and I locked eyes.

I spoke first.

“You know, I thought this was just something people were talking about on Facebook, but – whoa, it’s true.”

She nodded and said, “I’m just here for my usual shopping.”

“Me, too,” I said.

Thanking the clerk, I grabbed my “two packages per customer” allotment of paper gold, took a photo, and continued shopping. Apparently, some people grab two packages per visit hourly. Because there’s no way in hell anyone can use that much TP in a lifetime.

Okay, so since I’m there for my monthly supplies of toilet paper, paper towel, soap, contact solution, time to maneuver my cart through the pre-holiday like crowd. Yes, it was that crowded. And luckily, people were in a good mood.

Yay! People are washing their hands!

There was plenty of paper towel. Yay! But, hand soap? Not so much. Disinfectants? Nowhere to be found. The shelves were completely empty. Vitamin C packets – gone. Vitamin C capsules – gone. Vitamin C anything – f*cking GONE!

Vitamin C packets – gone. Vitamin C capsules – gone. Vitamin C anything – f*cking GONE! Click To Tweet

WTF! Seriously people? I grumbled with a couple of other customers about the lack of anything in the store. To include dairy products, lunch meat, etc.

I thought I’d grab orange juice – that will work until I can find vitamin C packets somewhere. Hell, I grabbed one of the few bottles of OJ that they had left.

And the orange juice???

The bottled water shelves were greatly lacking.

I grabbed what I could find, and got in line. There were many lanes open, and each one had a decent number of people checking out.

As I waited, I chatted with a manager, asking him how about the crowds.

“This is pretty unusual for a Thursday morning, but we have a full staff,” he explained. “It’s been really busy since things started closing due to the virus.”

I told him I was surprised at how everything was gutted.

“Our shelves were full at 8 a.m. People were lined up to get inside,” he said.

My only response was, “wow.”

I thanked him, and told him that every employee I encountered was helpful and in good spirits. I wished him and his staff good health – mentally and physically.

** Shout out to all the retail workers dealing with this hysteria! You all are doing great! **

I got in line and chatted with the woman in front of me. She had toilet paper and wine. I knew we could be BFFs.

“If I’m going to be stuck inside, I want to have my wine,” she said.

Cheers, mate, I couldn’t agree with you more.

As I walked to my car, I was prepared to get mugged and have my toilet paper stolen. No need to take my purse – no cash on a good day, and now no cash due to the virus. But with the value of toilet paper – yikes!

Heading home, I stopped at my favorite pharmacy. And, yay – they had the vitamin C packets. Their shelves weren’t as gutted, but they were super busy as well.

Vino and Vitamin C. I’m all set now.

And not only did they have my Vitamin C packets, my favorite wine was on sale! Yay! Score for me.

On my drive home, I thought about a few things.  Like, I’ll stop having receipts emailed to me because, well, you never know when they could come in handy. And I remembered, when I was a young mom. I wished I had bought stock in coffee, disposable diapers and apple juice. And, during Y2K, I wish I had bought stock in batteries, coffee and firewood. And now, with Coronavirus hysteria, I wish I had bought stock in coffee, toilet paper, soap and… wine.

If I do run out of TP, receipts could come in handy.

While I realize precautions need to be taken, I had to share the humor of my “quick trip to the store.” This too shall pass. And, as my favorite columnist would say:

“If you can’t make it better, you can laugh at it. – Erma Bombeck”

Wishing all of you good health and the ability to stay sane during this hype. Much love xo

© Lynne Cobb – 2020

Have you encounter any of this hype? Feel free to comment below.




10 Replies to “Hysteria leads to empty shelves and no toilet paper”

  1. Great blog post, Lynne. I went to Costco yesterday, got there right at 10 a.m. and it was like a madhouse! People were grabbing water and those large jugs of hand sanitizer. I’m like, people — just wash your hands and cover your mouth when you cough! It was unbelievable!

  2. My husband went to Meijer after work, this is midnight btw. Lines half way too the back of the store, no tp, no cleaning wipes, soup supplies very low, no rice a roni, not sure about soap. But someone at the store has a sense of humor, they put signs on the shelves that read “ The demand for this product is exceptionally high”. Understatement of the year…lol

  3. Great article, Lynne. We’ve been going through some health issues (kidney stones, surgeries, etc) and haven’t been to the store in a while. Guess we are in for a surprise. Thanks for giving us a warning of what to expect.

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