The shelves are overstocked, but the problem is that they are the ones in your pantry, freezer or bathroom instead of the grocery store.
It is only called stockpiling when it is sensible. But with supply chains considered to be in order in several industries, this is hoarding and Americans are in panic mode again out of fear of increasing coronavirus lockdowns.
Just like March, people are wiping out inventory of toilet paper, but the industry has your backside. Many companies learned from the spring hoarding waves and are producing paper and food goods at higher rates in anticipation of increased business.
“It feels to me that we’ll work through this period of time better than we did in the first wave,” Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said on an earnings call.
Inmar Intelligence’s research showed that 64% of shoppers stockpiled products in March and that 57% intend to do so for this wave, a response to record reports of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S.
Centricity Inc. said that sales of baking goods spiked 3,400% over a recent three-week span (Sept. 23-Oct. 13).
Stores are responding with purchase limits again as reports of bare shelves come in from across the country. Just as hoarders’ March supplies are running out, General Mills added 45 external production lines and Campbell Soup invested $40 million in production expansion to be ready for this.
“Ironically, the more media attention on stockpiling, the more it triggers additional stockpiling,” University of Florida psychiatrist Carol Matthews wrote for The Conversation. “People reading about a potential storage of hand sanitizer will be drive (driven?) to buy as much as possible until it’s not longer available for weeks or months.”
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