Business

People stockpiling essential items due to the COVID-19 outbreak

Written by Rick Avory March 11, 2020 0 comment

Morrisons Watford where public stockpiling was investigated

My thoughts on stockpiling following the COVID-19 outbreak.

I went to the local Morrisons today and was expecting people stockpiling essential items due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Instead I found only a marginal increase in shoppers and despite press reports there were toilet rolls still available. That’s an interesting one, toilet rolls! I wonder if people would have thought of that without the news stories about Australians panic buying them.  Surely Castlemaine XXXX and Vegemite would have been their preference, not toilet rolls!

To Stockpile Or Not To Stockpile. That is the Question

I have been stockpiling since last year, filling up what was the Brexit cupboard, but is now the Coronavirus cupboard. Lots of tinned food, tea and marmalade feature in the main, it’s hard to know what is best to keep. I’m sure someone has a study on what’s best, but most of us just have to guess.

Government Advice

There’s nothing more likely to get people stockpiling essential items due to the COVID-19 outbreak than advice from the government not to do it. As the virus spreads it gets harder for them to find the balance between taking action but not over-reacting. If the spread is inevitable, then it could be argued that the sooner everyone gets it and (hopefully) recovers, the better. Vulnerable people excluded from infection of course.

The Reality

Stockpiling always causes problems. Remember when there was a perceived petrol shortage and everyone went out to fill up and then there WAS a shortage. A kind of self-fulfilling prophecy. Most things now can be bought online.If you can’t get what you want from online shops there’s always plenty of sellers on Ebay to help out (for a price).

My Conclusion

The lack of coherent and consistant advice is always problematic from the public’s point of view.  Self isolation is fine but what about your nearest and dearest with whom, unless you live in a mansion, have no choice but to share your isolation with. The conflicting information on whether there will be shortages or whether there  will be help available to get food to those isolated leads to people fearing the worst and stockpiling.There is also an issue for business leaders who need access to competent advice on how they should respond to staff who have health conditions.

I will continue to keep an eye on developments and will update this post in the near future.

 

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