Why hoarding during the COVID-19 pandemic is unnecessary and selfish

You don’t need to hoard during quarantine

During the second week of March when schools and businesses began to close down due to the health risk of exposure to COVID-19, and government officials started discussing the possibility of enforcing social distancing, many people rushed to stores like Costco, Safeway, and Raleys to stock up on items. As a grocery store clerk, I have witnessed customers over-buying items in bulk.

Many people entered these stores buying large amounts of water, toilet paper, rice and canned goods, among other grocery items. There is nothing wrong with stocking up on items but the amount that people were buying was absolutely unnecessary. 

Unnecessary buying caused many stores to run out of items quickly, which caused physical or verbal arguments with store employees or other customers and the shortage of many items such as water and toilet paper because of hoarding.

Due to hoarding and unnecessary buying from selfish customers, many stores like Raleys and Safeway had to implement new policies, such as only two of the same item per household to prevent hoarding and ensure product availability for more customers. Many stores also changed their return and raincheck policy, allowing customers to only return spoiled items because customers not only were a health risk, but many customers were trying to return all the extra grocery items that they had bought when they were hoarding products.

With many people not able to return the products they overbought because they did not need them in the first place, the hoarders decided to do the worst thing possible during a pandemic, and began price gouging on sites like Amazon and Ebay, therefore making people—who are in the middle of pandemic and maybe financially struggling—pay more for essential items. This may make the price gougers more money, but it also makes them a horrible and heartless person.

Stores restock every night or every other day, and the social distancing order allows for citizens to go to the store and many stores are still open, yet people still acted like they were being forced in their house for months and selfishly overbought, not thinking about how this might affect other people who are in need and don’t have the items that other people have more than enough of.

If you are a citizen who wakes up to get in line to buy items you already have at home, preventing others who don’t have basic essential items, try to be a good person for once and stay at home. If you are hoarding unnecessary amounts of items, try to donate to a food bank or set up a table outside your home for people to get items. Instead of being a selfish human and hoarding items, try to have some compassion for others and take only what you will need or use.