As Australians buy and hoard essential items like toilet paper amid the coronavirus outbreak, some are rolling with the punches and seeing the lighter side to the panic and frenzy.
“Holy shit. I’ve bulk bought loo paper since I was a kid! DM me if you need some. Check my story’s (sic),” wrote the 40-year-old.
The TV star’s accompanying Instagram stories showed videos she had captured of empty toilet paper shelves at supermarket aisles, a commonality across many grocery stores at the moment.
Earlier this week social media images and viral footage showed empty shelves in Sydney and Canberra supermarkets after coronavirus fears prompted shoppers to stock up on foods like pasta and supplies such as toilet paper.
CEO of Richies IGA told Channel Nine’s Today Show on Wednesday the rush hadn’t impacted fresh produce or deli but he did admit the past 24 hours had been unprecedented.
“I have been in the industry 45 years, been through the SARS and have never seen anything like this before,” Harrison said.
“Toilet paper but also tissues, hand towels. Long life milk. It’s basically the products that have extended code that don’t have a used by date that are starting to move, rice, flour. They are selling. We are starting to see red meat shoot off the shelves as well.
“It’s almost a wipeout now. We do need the public to be a little bit more responsible.”
The government has urged people not to stockpile it and Prime Minister Scott Morrison has even tried to calm consumers worries about the tissue, as Australia’s tally of coronavirus infections has climbed to 53, with two deaths.
Australia’s chief medical officer, Brendan Murphy, also tried to ease panic on Thursday.
“There is no reason to denude the shelves of lavatory paper in the supermarkets,” Murphy told a news conference in Canberra.
Jana Bowden, an associate professor of marketing at Macquarie University, said government calls for people not to panic-buy toilet paper might actually spur more hoarding.
“When you place restriction notices in front of consumers, and they read for the first time in their entire lives that something like toilet paper, which they’ve always assumed to be a basic necessity, (is restricted), you think ‘that’s something I can’t live without, I must not live without, therefore I just stockpile’,” said Bowden.
With additional reporting by Reuters.